board of commissioners

Navigating the Town Website: Rezoning Requests

When researching rezoning and development in Matthews, the first place to go is the Planning Department section on the town website. If you’re unfamiliar with the website, it can feel buried. This is a quick tutorial to find Rezoning and Development Cases currently under consideration.

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Go to the Town of Matthews website:

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Click on “Departments” in the top, horizontal menu bar. A drop down menu will give you further options. Click “Pending Zoning & Development Cases.”

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On the Pending & Zoning Developent page, notice the first two columns: “Application” and “Location.” The most recently submitted application is on the top row of the table. In the application column you’ll find the number the Town has given the case as well as the project name. Under the location column you’ll find the physical address to be rezoned/developed.

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The next two columns show “Current Zoning” code and “Proposed Zoning” code. The codes specify the type of use (residential, commercial, etc.) and the allowable density. There are a lot of codes to remember, so we have an infographic here, created from the county’s Polaris chart.

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Next there’s the “Status” column. This answers where the application is in the three-part process:

  • Public Hearing

  • Planning Board Recommendation

  • Town Board Approval

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Links in the far right column are important documents to better understand the pending case. You may find a few other documents, but most commonly you’ll find:

  • The application originally submitted.

  • Site plans that give further details about how the land will be developed. This will sometimes have “superceded” beside them, which means there’s a more current version. Find the version labeled “current.”

  • Elevations are a close approximate of how the finished building will look.

  • The developer must notify adjacent land owners and host a meeting open to the public in order to explain the project. The Public Input document is documentation from that meeting.

  • Town Staff examines the proposal and analyzes the information to create a Staff Report. This report compiles the site plan, elevations, comments the staff has given the developer, as well as the impact on traffic, and comments from other town departments (usually Public Works, Police, and Fire). Sometimes school impact is provided as well. The Staff Report is presented to Town Council during regularly scheduled council meetings.

If you’re interested in keeping up with Board of Commissioner meetings, we’ve created a tutorial for finding those as well.

Morning Minute: Friday, February 22, 2019

News About Town: At Monday’s Council Meeting, the Board will discuss and consider actions (if any) for businesses operating primarily out of town parks without paying rental fees. According to the presentation, these groups are unfairly benefiting from public spaces to avoid overhead, while competing with similar services offered by the Town. In the summary, Town Staff makes several suggestions for solutions, such as prohibiting commercial activity or offering a commercial permit for purchase by the hour.

News Around Town:  Thursday afternoon Mark Harris (R) testified before the State Board of Elections and agreed the November 2018 election was tainted by election fraud. State Board of Elections voted 5-0 in favor of a new election for the contested District 9 Congressional Seat. Now the elections board’s attorney must research laws regarding a new primary and election, then submit tentative dates to the election board, who will then decide the dates. The process may take several months.

One Good Thing: The Matthews Habitat for Humanity has expanded its reach to include critical home repairs. Moving beyond the scope of building new homes, this program is for Matthews homeowners who are current on taxes and payments and meet income criteria. The Critical Home Repair Program is for low-income residents who have repair needs around their home that create an unsafe or unhealthy living situation, such as a failing roof or necessary accessibility modifications.

Morning Minute: Thursday, February 21, 2019

News About Town: The Board of Commissioners Agenda for the Monday, February 25 meeting was posted yesterday. The Board will revisit the Streetscape Conceptual Design contract.  The Board will also hear what State Senate Bill 469 means for stormwater control on property to be redeveloped.

News Around Town:  Have a high school junior but feel unsure about the college application process? The Matthews Library will host a one-hour workshop on February 27 to demystify the process. They’ll cover the everything from searching for a school and filling out the application, to finding scholarships and funding. Matthews Library, 230 Matthews Station St., Wednesday, February 27, 2019, 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

One Fun Thing: There are lots of interesting holidays to celebrate today, so pick one (or all): National Mother Language Day, National Sticky Bun Day, Read a Card Day, Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, Grain-Free Day, and Singletasking Day. If you participate in Singletasking Day you cannot participate in other national day celebrations. 

Morning Minute: Wednesday, February 20, 2019

News About Town: The Planning Conference for the Board of Commissioners starts Friday. Pursuant to NC open meeting laws, the meeting is open to the public but there will be no portion for public comment. Items of note include: Properties of Significance with Existing “By Right” Zoning; Residential Construction and Overcrowded Schools; 4-Year Terms for Mayor and Board of Commissioners; and Hiring a Lobbyist. The full information packet can be found here.


News Around Town: The third annual Sandy Marano Memorial Build is underway with Habitat for Humanity. Sandy, an employee of Habitat and active volunteer in the Matthews community, lost a battle with breast cancer in 2016. Each year, in honor of Sandy, the Greater Matthews Habitat hosts a Women Build event, a program for women to become more involved in building affordable housing. More details to volunteer are here. Purchase a tee shirt to support the build here.

One Fun Thing: Last week we asked if you, dear readers, if you’d watched a Board of Commissioners meeting online. We received a very small sample of responses (high five to those of you who participated!) and the responses were across the board: two (40%) people said yes, one person (20%) said no, one (20%) person said they didn’t know about it, and another (20%) said not yet, but they’d like to. The video is now posted on the Town website beside the meeting agenda and minutes or on the Town’s YouTube Channel.

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Morning Minute: Tuesday, February 19, 2019

News About Town: Tomorrow (Wednesday, February 20) at least four members of the Board of Commissioners will be present at the North Carolina League of Municipalities Town and State events in Raleigh. The League’s events include programming about affordable housing, broadband, an update on their Legislative Agenda, and a dinner with members of the legislature.  

News Around Town: Today the North Carolina State Board of Elections is holding the second day of an evidentiary hearing for Congressional District 9. The purpose of the hearing is to provide evidence gathered since the November election to the Board to determine whether unlawful activity occurred, and whether it justifies calling for a new election. On Monday, investigators provided clear evidence of unlawful ballot activity in Bladen and Robeson counties, but no proof Republican Mark Harris was aware of the activity.  After further facts are presented, the Board may either certify a winner, order a new election, or the US House of Representatives may step in as the final judge of the election.  

One Important Thing: If there’s more action on Wile E. Coyote’s Tinder account than usual, know that it’s because it’s coyote mating season. Coyotes are fairly common to the area, so watch out for your indoor-outdoor pets; mating season means the wild canines will need more calories than other times in the year. During mating season, with hormones running amok, they may be somewhat more aggressive than usual. Use precautions when outdoors, particularly at dawn and dusk.

Navigating the Town Website: Looking for Council Agendas

In a fair amount of research for the Beacon we often cross-reference our own notes with Board of Commissioner meeting agendas and minutes. If you’re unfamiliar with the website, here’s a quick tutorial to find the agendas for Board of Commissioners (also called Town Council) meetings.

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Go to the Town of Matthews website:

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You can either:

  • Click on “Government” in the top, horizontal menu bar. A drop down menu will give you further options. Click “Agendas and Minutes.”

  • Or click on the dark green circle at the bottom for “Agendas and Minutes.”

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Select “Board of Commissioners.”

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The most recent agenda will be on the landing page. If you’re looking for archives of past meetings, click “Show More” at the bottom of the right hand column.

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Here you will find Agendas (the to-do list for the Board during the meeting), Minutes (annotated notes from the meeting), Packet (information given to the Commissioners prior to the meeting with back up material for line items on the agenda), Audio (mp3 files of the meeting), and Video (a visual and audio recording of the meeting). Video is also available on the Town’s YouTube page.

Morning Minute: Friday, December 21, 2018

News About Town: The Board of Commissioners typically holds council meetings on the second and fourth Mondays of every month. Since the second meeting for this month would fall on Christmas Eve, the Board voted on October 22 to cancel the meeting.

News Around Town: College football’s Early Signing Period runs from December 19 kicked off the Early Signing Period for college football (it runs through December 21). Here in Matthews, Keyon Lesane signed with NC State (go Pack!!). The commitment was no surprise, Lesane verbally committed several months ago, but during his junior year, the Butler student had ten different colleges making offers. Also during Early Signing, Andrew Tuazama of Jireh Prep signed to Syracuse.


One Fun Thing: The Poperazzi is coming to town! Though many of us are still waiting for Santa, we should also prepare for post-2018 fun. Poperazzi, a Las Vegas trio, bring the song and showmanship of the Vegas Strip to Matthews. They’re performing two shows (Saturday, December 29 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday, December 30 at 3:00 p.m.) in the Fullwood Theater at the Matthews Community Center. General Admission tickets are $15 and are available here for Saturday and here for Sunday.

Morning Minute: November 14, 2018

News About Town: It’s time once again for Coffee with a Commissioner. Head out in the rain and meet three of our Council Members at 10 AM at Brakeman’s Coffee for a chance to chat. Conversation is led by the attendees at these events, so come ready with all the Matthews questions you’ve been wondering about.

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News Around Town: If you see a particularly hairy looking male police officer around town don’t worry, nobody’s joining ZZ Top. Thirty two Matthews Police officers are participating in No Shave November. Each officer donated $25 to participate and those funds will be donated to Zero Cancer Foundation, a prostate cancer patient advocacy and public awareness group. Check out the Zero Cancer site to learn more and donate.

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One Good Thing: Aside from our obvious obsession with bacon, we at the Beacon also love handmade goods and small businesses. Are you a crafter, baker, candlestick maker? Manicurist or masseuse? Got something that would make a great gift? We have a gift guide for the smallest of businesses at the best of prices: $15! Message us or email Norah about advertising in our Hyperlocal Holiday Gift Guide.

Red Brick Partnership Under Scrutiny by Matthews Residents

Updated 10/9/2018 with corrections

Red Brick Partnership (RBP), a coalition of downtown Matthews businesses, was formed in 2015 by the Town of Matthews and its Economic Development Advisory Committee, and is currently co-chaired by John Urban* (Matthews Commissioner, owner of Urban Architectural Group) and Rob Jacik (owner, Carolina Beer Temple, Temple Mojo, and Seaboard). RBP’s stated mission has been to “promote the awareness of Downtown Matthews, the businesses and citizens that comprise the downtown area as a destination for residents and tourists.” There is presently no public list of Red Brick Partnership members.

Photo by Norah Burke

Photo by Norah Burke

The initial funding for Red Brick Partnership included donations from private businesses and a grant of $20,000 from the Town of Matthews, which was approved by the Town Commission, headed by then mayor Jim Taylor, and including current commissioners Chris Melton, John Higdon, Kress Query, and Jeff Miller. Town Staff provided information regarding actual town expenditures during this period.

In its first year of existence (2014/15), RBP received $10,600 in external donations and/or revenue, submitted directly to the Town of Matthews. With $12,515 in expenditures, the Town used $1,915 of the $20,000 approved by council to cover the difference. In its second year RBP received $7,925 in donations/revenue, and with $17,732 in expenditures the Town covered $9,807 of that amount. The RBP was administered as a town entity from its creation in fiscal year 2014/2015 until it incorporated during fiscal year 2016/2017. During this period Town staff managed and approved all funds going into and out of RBP.

Red Brick Partnership filed as a separate entity in 2016, prior to the separation they received $250 in donations. That year there were $20,040 in expenditures, including $18,393.10 provided directly to Red Brick post incorporation. The Town covered $19,790 in expenditures for fiscal year 2016/17. In RBP’s first full year as an independent organization (2017/18) the town provided $20,000. Total investment of town tax dollars has been $50,115 thus far, with RBP managing $38,393.10 without oversight from Town staff.In July 2018, the Board of Commissioners approved an additional contribution to RBP of $20,000 to be disbursed later this year.

The Town does not have a process to determine whether donations to RBP have resulted in a positive return on investment – through higher spending at local establishments or an increase in visitors to downtown businesses. The town has relied instead on the Town Council representative on the RBP board – currently Mr. Urban – and the representative from town staff – currently Assistant Town Manager Becky Hawke – to ensure town funds are being used appropriately.

Matthews’ continued investment of money and personnel has been provided with the assumption that RBP is a nonprofit organization. RBP’s domain extension (.org), further contributed to the presumption of nonprofit status. However, research performed by Matthews resident Gordon Clemmons uncovered that Red Brick Partnership filed for incorporation with the NC Secretary of State but never applied for nonprofit status with the IRS. As such, RBP has yet to file a 990, if annual donations and in-kind contributions exceeded $50,000 or a 990-N for nonprofits with less income. It is unclear if RBP has filed annual taxes as a business with income.

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At the Board of Commissioners meeting Monday night, Mr. Urban addressed concerns. He maintains that the missed IRS filing was a simple error and was brought to his attention a few months ago. The organization is working to complete their nonprofit filing now. Mayor Paul Bailey expressed support of Mr. Urban and stated the funds approved in 2018 would be disbursed to the organization as soon as they have their paperwork in order.

Mr. Clemmons spoke during the public comment period. He brought up concerns about mismanagement of taxpayer money, potential conflicts of interest, and whether the organization is necessary given the existence of the Matthews Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Advisory Committee. He called for the return of funds given to RBP by the town, for an independent investigation of RBP’s finances, and for Mr. Urban’s resignation.

Mr. Urban did not respond to Mr. Clemmons public comment directly.

*Urban’s own documents and Facebook page denote himself as co-founder of RBP.

Morning Minute: October 8, 2018

News About Town: The Board of Commissioners will meet at 5:30 with Glenn Harbeck, Community Planning Director for Wilmington, NC, for a special meeting to discuss the draft vision statement for the Town. The draft vision statement is a summary of the Desired Future and Unwanted Future residents listed at the Vision for Matthews community discussion this past April. This document will be an update to the 2005 Our Vision, Our Town document. After the 5:30 meeting is the regular Town Council meeting at 7:00 PM. As usual, if you’d like to speak about general issues at the Council meeting you must sign up on the sheet outside the Hood Room doors prior to the meeting starting.

If it’s going to be stormy like the current prediction, just stare at these perennial sunflowers in that brilliant sky.

If it’s going to be stormy like the current prediction, just stare at these perennial sunflowers in that brilliant sky.

News Above Town: The Weather Channel says storms, but not until the kids are getting out of school. Temperatures will get up to 82 and things look likely to be overcast.

News Around Town: I know it feels too early to think about the holidays, but November 3 the Charlotte City Ballet will perform Prelude to the Holidays at the Matthews Community Center, 100 East McDowell Street, Matthews. They’ll have two performances, 1 and 4 PM, on November 3. After each performance, they’ll have cupcakes and a meet and greet with the dancers. Take our word for it, get your tickets now. They’re also posting updates as they practice and prepare, so follow them on Instagram @charlottecityballet #charlottecityballet.


One Good Thing: Have a-hankerin’ for some smoked hog? If you have kids, Monday evening is the perfect time to dine at Moe’s, 111 Matthews Station Street. When you dine in on Monday after 4 PM, kids eat free. If you’re not in the mood for pork, Moe’s Monday special is a blackened salmon sandwich. Consider dinner taken care of.

Morning Minute: October 5, 2018

News Around Town: The agenda is online for Monday’s Board of Commissioner’s meeting. The applicant for the rezoning of 269 South Trade Street, a project which has made recent news, has asked for deferral until November 12. If the Board denies the deferral they will vote whether to rezone the property. The board will vote on whether to approve the overlay of the 3 small area plans.


News Above Town: The Weather Channel has been pretty accurate this week, at least temperature-wise. They do keep saying cloudy skies and I keep seeing gorgeous Carolina blues dotted with happy clouds. Hopefully pretty skies again tomorrow, but temps will still be in the low 90s.

News About Town: The Hundred Dresses opens at Matthews Playhouse next week. Based on the Newbery Honor-winning book of the same name, The Hundred Dresses tells a tale of Wanda Petronski, a girl who has one faded blue dress but claims to have a hundred dresses at home. Wanda is mocked by her classmates until her father pulls her from school. This story of bullying is timely for Bullying Prevention Month, and the Playhouse is sure to do an outstanding job. Tickets sell quickly for Playhouse productions and this play will be no different.


One Fun Thing: We’ve said it before, we’ll say it again: you don’t want to miss COS Kids’ Blues & BBQ tonight. Tickets are $35 per person and include food and beverages as well as live music. The best part is that the event funds a child care program for limited- income single parents. (Bonus points if you recognize Norah and introduce yourself!)

Matthews Morning Minute: September 28, 2018

News About Town: If you’ve driven down Fullwood Lane recently you might have seen the message board about the town lowering the speed limit. On October 1, 2018 the speed limit will be reduced from 45 to 35. This change came about based on the Public Works Department’s recommendation to the Town Council, who then voted to lower the speed limit.

Don’t say they didn’t warn you.

Don’t say they didn’t warn you.

News Above Town: Afternoon showers and temps in the mid-80s. Speaking of mid-eighties, the high humidity puts Motley Crue #hairgoals well within reach.

News Around Town: Early voting begins October 17, 2018. Polls will be open at the Matthews Library for early voting, but the Matthews location is currently short-staffed. The Mecklenburg Board of Elections pays $12 per hour and the application can be found here. Please contact Marti Duncan ( for more information.

Native plants attract all types of pollinators.

Native plants attract all types of pollinators.

One Good Thing: Backyard Birds in Matthews Festival has a busy Saturday planned. First they’re hosting Lisa Tompkins, owner of Carolina Heritage Nursery, with a native plant sale. Lisa will be on- hand to answer your questions about plants appropriate for your particular yard. Then Debbie Foster, Habitat Steward, Central Carolinas Master Naturalist, Audubon Ambassador, and contributing Beacon writer will be explaining the simple steps toward creating a wildlife habitats. Saturday, September 29, 2018, 11 AM til 1 PM; full details here.

Matthews Morning Minute: September 27, 2018

News About Town: If you’re already making plans for the weekend, make time to meet the Matthews Board of Commissioners for coffee and conversation this Saturday (September 29) at 9:00 a.m. at Bruegger's Bagels (1905 Matthews Township Parkway). These gatherings are a great way to bend an ear of our local leaders and get the firsthand scoop on things going on with the Town of Matthews.

Native asters to brighten a humid day.

Native asters to brighten a humid day.

News Above Town: The Weather Channel says there’s a 90% chance of rain so grab the closest umbrella.

News Around Town: While we’re on the subject of the weekend, this Friday is the last Food Truck Friday of the season. You can’t go wrong with any of the trucks, but our friend Lynn sings high praise for Yummi Banh Mi. The Entertainers will get you dancing after you’ve filled up your belly. If you’re a drinker and plan on visiting the beer tent, bring your ID, they card. Trucks start serving at 5 and event goers will already be in line.

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One Good Thing: Matthews is a town with a giving heart, as evidenced by the incredible nonprofits based in our town. Thompson Child and Family Focus is one such nonprofit. Founded in 1886 as an orphanage, Thompson now serves at-risk children and families from four campuses. Using therapy, education and prevention-based care, in 2017 Thompson served 12,811 clients and provided 225 full-time jobs.

Matthews Morning Minute: September 26, 2018

News About Town: During their November 27, 2017 meeting the Board of Commissioners approved a preliminary design for a pedestrian crossing at North Trade Street between Matthews Station and Brakeman’s/105 Cigar. Town staff estimated hiring a consultant for the preliminary design work would come in around $10,000.

When proposals came back Alta Design, the best qualified firm estimated $81,221 for the preliminary design work. No decision was made and the Board has asked town staff for more information.


News Above Town: If humid and sticky is your thing then you’re in luck this week. The last couple times the Weather Channel has called for storms the forecast changed, but right now they say we can expect afternoon storms and a high around 87.

News Around Town: For more than three decades ArtFest, now Artwalk and MusicFest, has been bringing art to the forefront in downtown Matthews. Beyond the usual Juried Fine Art Show and High School Art Exhibit, and live music, the Matthews Chamber of Commerce has expanded the kids art area as well as  craft beer & wine. Get some extra culture this Saturday, September 29, on the green in front of Town Hall from 10 AM until 6 PM.


One Good Thing: We have a giveaway on our Facebook page! We’re so proud of our Matthews-centric postcards (plus who doesn’t love receiving mail?) that we have 2 sets to giveaway. There are three easy peasy ways to win and you can do any or all for three chances to win!
**Find your favorite post here, then tell us which is your favorite over in the comments on the giveaway post on Facebook.
**While your there, tag a friend in the comments on the giveaway post
**follow us on Instagram

September 24 Board of Commissioners Meeting

On the agenda for the September 24, 2018 Board of Commissioners Meeting promises to be shorter than most, with a few items of note on the agenda:

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  • Proceeds from a Budget Ordinance Amendment will be dedicated to the police force for bulletproof vests.

  • The Board of Commissioners will receive an update on the 2018 Planning Conference To-Do List. The Planning Conference is a three-day public meeting where the board discusses a broad array of items relevant to Matthews (see Meeting Packet pages 22-24). This conference will be in Matthews and the public is welcome to attend and listen.

  • The Board of Commissioners will consider methods for streamlining their meetings, especially during lengthier ones that include Planning and Rezoning. Notes for these considerations are in the Meeting Packet (pages 26-30) and vary from suggestions limiting the time for staff and applicant presentations to requesting speakers from the public limit their time to five minutes.

  • The Board will review the emergency services’ responses to Hurricane Florence for successes and opportunities for improvement.