Behind the scenes on MoRA’s First Big Zoning Case

No doubt about it. Tackling a rezoning case is hard work.  First of all, the process is long and tedious, requiring constant attention.  It is also full of arcane language, a few unforeseen twists and baffling procedures.  Add to that, the petition proposed by the Selwyn Property Group (case 2017-016) was impacted by two external projects that are not designed and will not be completed until 2021 and beyond.

MoRA’s Land Use Committee took on the challenge and deserves your appreciation.

Committee Chair James Scanlon, a Virginia Tech graduate in Environmental Policy and Planning, has impressive skills so he slipped easily to chairing this review process. His PowerPoint presentation at the Jan 31 community meeting brought the project and its intricacies to life.  His co-presenter was local bankruptcy attorney Jack Miller whose passionate support for improving the area’s bike and pedestrian accessibility has enhanced stakeholder appreciation for how attention to that increases both the livability and value of neighborhoods like ours.  Jack also has spoken on MoRA’s behalf before the Metrolina Transit Commission.

Three more members deepened the committee’s expertise.  If you read our Facebook posts and Tweets you already know Matt Chambers.  With his mad social media skills and willingness to pitch in where needed, he served on this committee as well as leading efforts on the Hendrick rezoning.  Marc Seelinger is another invaluable MoRA volunteer.  He helps with surveys, newsletter postings and is our go-to person on Planning’s efforts on a Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). Marc and his wife Cherry organized the October Government Open House with its land use and transportation sessions.  Last but by no means least, talented local architect Mike Doyne provided his knowledge of site plans, building materials and design elements.

Together this team contributed hundreds of volunteer hours. They asked good questions and paid careful attention to community comments they heard both at the petitioner’s meeting in December and MoRA’s own meeting in late January as well as opinions expressed both online and in the paper survey collected at the January 31 meeting. And they have been careful to update the board as their work progressed. With the feedback from area residents and stakeholders, they had the confidence to arrive at their own conclusions.

The ultimate outcome is that MoRA showed that, between a dedicated group of volunteers that will master new skills and is willing to keep checking in with area stakeholders to ensure that their efforts reflect the community’s vision, MoRA is growing into a formidable organization.

Next steps: Because there have been three site plan updates, and negotiations with staff as well as with MoRA continue, the date of the public hearing is now scheduled for March 20. A formal MoRA position has not been reached pending additional information. MoRA will use the website and Facebook page to keep you informed and gather any additional thoughts you might care to share.

Site updates on the plans so far include pushing the new grocery store directly to Monroe Road, improving accessibility throughout the site, and improved shielding of the parking lot.

This article was written by Mary Hopper, an invaluable MoRA Advisor who has been guiding and encouraging the Land Use and Transportation Committee as they learned the system.

Sculpture donations top $5,000 thanks to Wanda Smith & Associates Realtors

The Monroe Road Advocates was started to improve the Monroe Road corridor. One of our main goals was to give residents a better sense of neighborhood, and give them a reason to be proud of their community.

We began working over a year ago on an ambitious public art project that could redefine the corridor and place the neighborhood. Through public donations, private funding, and city grants, we have put together over $135,000 of the $150,000 needed for the project. We have asked the community for help with the last $20,800 and have received 47 donations!

Wanda Smith & Associates Realtors’ generous contribution pushed us over the $5,000 mark! We are a quarter of the way to our $20,800 goal. But we need YOU to help get us all the way there. Donations of any amount are appreciated. Thanks to the community for believing in this southeast Charlotte neighborhood and the future of our area.

Please donate here, or sign up to make the decorative tiles that will adorn this future landmark. Every donation and volunteer hour gets us one step closer a better, closer neighborhood.

First look inside Monroe Road’s City Barbeque, and it is awesome

We have been closely watching the construction of Monroe Road’s newest restaurant. City Barbeque, an award-winning barbeque joint, opened their first Charlotte location in Ballantyne last year. Construction on their second just finished in south MoRA. We finally got a sneak peak inside at the restaurant and their “low and slow” cooked meats.

City Barbeque smokes all their meats on-site, including pulled pork, brisket, pulled chicken, smoked turkey, St Louis cut ribs, sausage, and smoked chickens. The menu looks delicious, offering deserts like homemade warm peach cobbler, sweet corn pudding, hand-dipped hush puppies, baked beans with brisket, fresh cut fries, among many others.

Take a look for yourself.

The dedication to their craft is impressive, and the homemade sides are just what we needed in our part of town. City Barbeque opens at 1514 Galleria Blvd, Charlotte NC 28270, within walking distance of MoRA favorite Deep Sea Seafood Market and the soon-to-open Jolly Rolls gourmet rolled ice cream shop. South MoRA may be the perfect destination to pair with an evening at Charlotte’s best movie theater, Cinemark Movie Bistro.

The BBQ joint opens Monday, February 27th, but they have a grand opening celebration on Saturday, March 4th, that includes kid’s entertainment, giveaways and appearances by Sir Purr, the Top Cats and Carolina Panthers’ PurrCussionists. There will be food samples, and 10% of all sales will go to local non-profit Bright Blessings.

MoRA is very excited to welcome City Barbeque to the neighborhood. Be sure to RSVP to the grand opening celebration here.

Art@thePoint Community Workshops

Art@thePoint is well on its way to becoming a reality for our southeast Charlotte community! 

So far, MoRA has raised more than 80% of the total $150,000 required through private contributions. You can help MoRA raise the final $20,800 for Art@thePoint by booking a private, sponsored workshop for your book club, faith group, scout troup, garden club, etc.  You could even host a night out for your friends and family, bring wine and food and make it a party. 

We also have free, public workshops available!  A public workshop is your opportunity to work with your neighbors, alongside public artist Leslie Scott, to create ceramic pieces and build mosaics for the community sculpture. You can invite up to 10 of your friends along too! Head to our website to sign up and choose the time and date that work best for you.

This is a unique opportunity to create a legacy and be a part of Art@thePoint.

Here are some of the advantages of booking a private workshop:

-3-hour private session dedicated to your group/organization of 20-60 people.
-Work directly with public artist Leslie Scott.
-Identify a specific area of the mosaic where the tiles that your group creates will be located.
-Personalize the area of your tilework on the Art@thePoint sculpture.

Be a pART and make your mark!  Here’s where you can get more info and sign up for a workshop.


New Common Market location coming to Monroe Road

You aren’t the only person who thinks southeast Charlotte is underserved. Common Market’s Graham Worth thought the same thing when looking for another location for the Charlotte staple. They found the space, location, and neighborhood they were looking for on Monroe Road.

The new market, dubbed CM OakWold, will host everything you expect out of Common Market: indoor and outdoor seating, coffee, an expansive beer and wine selection, and “off-the-wall retail.” The market will be open from morning to night, serving breakfast, lunch, and of course, beer. Yes, just a few simple things that are few and far between in this part of town.

When meeting with Graham in January, we explained there were not many meeting places without driving almost to Matthews. His response: “Well, we are solving that!” He’s right. this will be southeast Charlotte’s first cool hangout spot you can drop by at anytime.

The location is next to Suds and Duds just past Sharon Amity, across from the Oakhurst Square development starting soon on Monroe and Chippendale. The building is undergoing major reconstruction, and they plan to move back the front facade to create ample outdoor seating. They hope to wrap up construction in two to three months. There is plenty of additional space at the business park, and we hope to see some new tenants thanks to Common Market foot traffic sooner rather than later.

Please cross your fingers for a brewery.

What else will CM OakWold have? That’s up to you! There will be a meeting at Clayworks on February 6 at 5 p.m. to get ideas on events, characteristics, and offerings the neighborhood wants. If you want beer tasting events, bicycle ride meet ups, or live music, you can tell them. Find more info on our Facebook event page.

For more info, read the press release here: Common Market Press Release OakWold

MoRA needs YOUR help! VOLUNTEER with us on important community projects. Can’t volunteer? DONATE to help make our public art dream a reality. Even a $20 tax-deductible donation will help give the neighborhood a beautiful, defining sculpture that will make residents proud.

Monroe-Idlewild rezoning and new development update

After years with virtually no rezonings in the area, MoRA has had two in quick succession.  While a MoRA Land Use committee is hard at work, it always welcomes your input.

We are meeting at Independence Library on Tuesday the 31st at 6:30 p.m. for your input on current rezoning and new development. We want to know what’s you think is most important for the area that we can focus on in future rezonings, developments, and city planning.

The Hendrick rezoning (2016-141) was approved by City Council at their January 17 meeting, allowing them to expand parking for their multiple dealerships.   What you may have missed is the behind-the- scenes work including the outreach done both by the petitioner and MoRA to nearby neighbors and other area stakeholders.  We especially appreciate the efforts of Rick Hendrick, Gene Cocchi and their team to make this a win-win for Garr Church, the path of the Silver Line and for nearby properties.

The second rezoning (2017-016) has received more media attention, taken substantially more time and is moving more slowly through the process.  Selwyn Property Group is asking to rezone the corner of Monroe and Idlewild for a small,  mixed-use project that includes a grocery store.  Because parcels on the Independence Blvd. side had to be removed from the petition to allow for the Silver Line and that intersection is in the early stages of a redesign that will not be built until 2021, the City is working with the petitioner on significant transportation issues.  That caused the public hearing to be pushed back to February 21.

The delay has allowed MoRA to schedule its own community meeting to continue to gather your input.  At 6:30 pm, January 31 at the Independence Library, we want you to get the latest information on this petition and, more importantly, share your thoughts.  The Land Use Committee has taken what attendees said at the petitioner’s December 14 community meeting, gathered input from a number of sources including past MoRA surveys, and has stayed in touch with Selwyn and City staff.

Visit our Facebook page for more information on the meeting.


Groundbreaking news

Groundbreaking on Monroe Road’s iconic public art project Art@thePoint

MoRA officials and partners break ground on Art@thePoint

We’re excited to announce a successful groundbreaking on the $150,000 community art project Art@thePoint, a collaborative sculpture that will define southeast Charlotte. “The sculpture will be an icon for our area, a source of community pride and a symbol of change and creativity,” said community artist and creator of the project Leslie Scott. The 16’ tall sculpture will be a landmark between East Mecklenburg High School, the Independence Library, and Meridian Place.


The excitement was overflowing at the corner of Conference Drive and Monroe Road during the groundbreaking last week, with members and reps from city council, legislators, Arts & Science Council, Hendrick Automotive Group, Charlotte Neighborhood & Business Service, Goode Properties, East Meck High School, McClintock Middle School, and Independence Library in attendance.

Emcee John Lincoln



The sculpture is over 80% funded, and MoRA is asking for your tax-deductible donations to help the neighborhood realize this dream. Collaborative class sessions are planned for children and members of the community to design decorative tile that will adorn the structure. Even a small donation of time or money can help you support the change in your neighborhood.

Please visit MoRA Art for more information on how you can be a part of Art@thePoint.

MoRA board member Dean Brodhag


Private School Coming to MoRA’s Iconic, Big White House

This part of town, and this specific location, was absolutely perfect for us for so many reasons. – Tomis Parker, director for ALC Mosaic

We have all seen the big white house on the corner of Monroe and Rama. The big estate was built way back in 1933, and was even moved during the Rama road expansion. It has been for sale off and on for years, but rezoning issues stopped previous buyers from turning it into a commercial development. Finally, someone has bought the historic property.

ALC Mosaic, an independent private school, purchased the property, and the group plans to merge two existing schools into this MoRA residence. No apartments, townhouses, gas stations, or strip malls are going here. New life will be given to the prominent southeast Charlotte staple, and provide a learning experience for all ages.

Billed as an agile learning community, ALC Mosaic won’t have a big room full of desks or textbooks. The independent school offers a more open and collaborative learning environment for half-day pre-kindergarten and standard kindergarten to 12th grade students. Students learn from interaction, experiences, projects, and engaging with others. It’s very different than what you went through while growing up.

They have some fun class activities on their YouTube page, but you can find more information about their teaching style on their website.

We spoke with Tomis Parker, a director for the school about their plans for the home. “We love this house and want to preserve it as much as possible. Beyond the structure itself, we intend to create a beautiful and magical outdoor space for our school with the rest of the property. Playing outdoors is extremely important to us, so we plan to utilize all of our 1.7 acres.”

The school caters to a wide variety of students, with a sliding scale of tuition based on what a family can pay, and they felt the MoRA area was a great fit for a diverse class of students. It helps that a lot of the staff lives within walking distance. Each room in the house will have a different use, ranging from reading rooms to arts and crafts.

The soon to be school, which will max at around 50 students and under 10 staff, is currently undergoing construction and should open by this summer. You can make a tax deductible donation here to help keep education affordable for all families.

MoRA needs YOUR help! VOLUNTEER with us on important community projects. Can’t volunteer? DONATE to help make our public art dream a reality. Even $20 will help give the neighborhood a beautiful, defining sculpture that residents can be proud of.

Gourmet ice cream parlor coming to MoRA

A few months ago, Charlotte Agenda covered different trendy desserts available in the Charlotte area. The first was rolled ice cream from Jolly Rolls, a family-owned gourmet ice cream shop in Waxhaw.

First off, what is rolled ice cream? It’s a little tough to explain, but it includes a frozen slab and a scraper. Fresh ingredients are mixed together and topped with some delicious ingredients. This video from Jolly Rolls should help explain it a bit better.

Fresh, gourmet ice cream? I’m in. Luckily there won’t be a need to drive down to Waxhaw for the signature ice cream. Jolly Rolls is opening a second location on Monroe Road in MoRA, right between Deep Sea Seafood Market and the coming soon City Barbeque. Here are a few of the tastiest looking creations we found on their website.

We reached out to the owners, and they said they were expecting to open by February in The Commons. Jolly Rolls has a number of premium ice cream flavors, like:

• The Best Tasting S’More (graham crackers, chocolate fudge, marshmallow cream, and a toasted marshmallow)
• Berry Fusion (fresh strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries)
• Pink Snow (raspberry, white chocolate fudge, and white chocolate shavings)
• Chocolate Thunder (chocolate fudge, chocolate shavings, chocolate chip powder, brownie, and chocolate chips)

We can’t wait until they open! The area doesn’t have an ice cream shop, and to get something as creative and fun as Jolly Rolls is exciting! With all the restaurants popping up at The Commons, it may turn into a great foodie destination.

MoRA needs YOUR help! VOLUNTEER with us on important community projects. Can’t volunteer? DONATE to help make our public art dream a reality. Even a $20 tax-deductible donation will help give the neighborhood a beautiful, defining sculpture that residents can be proud of.

Mora among fastest growing home sales price zip codes

MoRA has two of Charlotte’s fastest growing home price zip codes

We have been calling the Monroe Road corridor the place for unbelievably affordable real estate for years. We still have bargains, but they are getting harder to find and they are getting a bit more expensive. In the last year, home buyers could not get enough of our older, character-rich homes on big lots in safe, established neighborhoods just minutes from Uptown.   

Charlotte Business Journal looked at the top 10 fastest growing home prices in the Charlotte area. Two reach into the MoRA area.

28212: home sale prices up 22.7% in the last year

28205: home sale prices up 29.4% in the last year

The list includes a number of areas near Belmont, Gastonia, and South Carolina, with only four of the fastest growing home sale prices inside of I-485.  Zip 28205 makes up the northwest corner of our area, along with nearby Cotsworld and Oakhurst, but MoRA is predominately the 28212 zip code. We saw jumps in prices the year before, and despite the 22.7% increase in sale prices in the last year, housing is still the best mix of cost, location, amenities, and unique older homes that we think rank among the best in the region.

Average sale prices in 28212 jumped from $110,000 to the still affordable $135,000.

MoRA has loads of recent improvements that suggest prices will continue to rise. The widening and bridges added to Independence have and will continue to improve commute times to Uptown to as little as 10 minutes. The planned Silver Line made another monumental step towards construction. Public art is going up on the new Meridian Place development. East Mecklenburg High School is adding some major square footage. New shops and restaurants are opening up and down the corridor. Even nearby areas are adding Publix grocery stores and fun activities like an obstacle course.

MoRA home prices are slowly creeping up to their true value. We love having some of Charlotte’s most affordable housing, but we won’t have that for long with housing price increases.

MoRA needs YOUR help! VOLUNTEER with us on important community projects. Can’t volunteer? DONATE to help make our public art dream a reality. Even a $20 tax-deductible donation will help give the neighborhood a beautiful, defining sculpture that residents can be proud of.