Everyone who lives or spends time in Matthews can easily see why our town is such a desirable place to live, work and play. We have a great commercial center along US 74 and a vibrant downtown with thriving businesses and restaurants. Our small town quality of life features an active nightlife with plenty for all to enjoy. Matthews also offers numerous parks, greenways and athletic fields. In short, we would all agree that the Town of Matthews is alive and well in the area of business, culture, recreation and family activities. I am so proud to have played a role in the Town's development through my years of service and I look forward to serving again as a Town Commissioner.
A relatively short time ago, the rapid commercial growth along the US-74 corridor in Matthews almost turned our downtown into a ghost town. The area of Matthews Station and the Town Hall/Library was a vacant parking lot with a run down closed Grocery Store. Many business struggled and many didn't survive. There was nothing to preserve nor protect as even historic structures were steadily lost. There were no more than a couple of restaurants at any given time. Today, the downtown is alive and vibrant with a large selection of shops, restaurants and services. This change came about through careful planning and an investment of resources. I am proud to have contributed to this revitalization through my work on the Town Board, Tree and Appearance Advisory Board and my volunteerism with the Historic Foundation & Red Brick Partnership, a strategic non-profit supported in part by the town.
A community can only thrive when there is an opportunity for balanced, measured growth and development consistent with the community’s long term vision for quality of life, walk-ability, traffic management, aesthetics and impact on infrastructure. In America, private property owners have rights under our Constitution to enjoy and utilize their property to its highest and best use. This is a technical term which means: The reasonable, probable and legal use of vacant land or an improved property, which is physically possible, appropriately supported, financially feasible, and that results in the highest value. Local municipalities enjoy the right to reasonably regulate the use and development of private land through zoning and other means to ensure all development fits within the aesthetic and functional goals of the community.
These two rights, those of private property owners and those of local government can sometimes seem in conflict but often can work in tandem to provide a superior experience to the satisfaction of nearly everyone in the community. As a Commissioner for the Town of Matthews, I recognize that our citizens do not always agree about what is desirable. Some prefer virtually no development while others appreciate the balanced, measured and aesthetically pleasing growth that has come to our community.
Fortunately, our Town leaders have worked together over many years to create a long-term vision for the growth and development of the community. One benefit of a long term master plan is that it helps to prevent wild swings in zoning and other development considerations from one board to the next. As a professional architect, my training and experience gives me a unique ability to work together with Town staff to ensure development is being carried out according to zoning approvals and commitments so we can enjoy the benefits of our long term plans.