Oct 252015

A Developer Gift01

Municipal elections are typically the closest thing to the kind of government envisioned by the founders, where citizens offer service to their communities. Unfortunately as we all know, such idealism is often betrayed by greed and cronyism of the kind we’ve seen so often in Union County and everywhere else. This is why we voters must be vigilante.


As you can tell by the cartoon above, this article concerns the David Hoffman and his campaign for the Mayor of Marvin. I have not met Mr. Hoffman, nor has he held any public office or service position to use as a measure of the kind of service he will offer. I have no doubt, given what I do know, he is a bright, ambitious, energetic real estate professional. Thus my primary concern. First a little historical context.



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The unique circumstances of Union County’s bordering Charlotte, the boom of newcomers moving to Union from all points, low taxes and for about 13 years; excellent schools, attracted thousands of new residents. It also brought hundreds of Real Estate agents and brokers,  as well has dozens of builders, both local and national. Coupled with the various contractors serving the builders, it formed a food chain. So many people drew their livelihoods for building and selling homes, including the strangle-hold the real estate and home-builders lobbies have on the North Carolina’s General Assembly, it created a gold-rush of sorts that lead to 10 of thousands of homes being built and sold in western Union County. Add 23 new schools and almost $700 million in debt — you get the picture, right?

Since 2000, there has been a battle to prevent “if you build it they will come” mentality from overwhelming the infrastructure of the county and basically turning Marvin, Weddington and Waxhaw into Charlotte like suburbs of extreme density and high taxes.

Beginning in the  late 1990s, the developers and builders were electing themselves to positions on the County Commission, John Feezor for example, was the Chairman of the County Commissions, while being a Vice President of John Weiland Homes, the builder of the Weddington Chase subdivision. There is a lot of history involved, other Commissioners before and during who were brokers, and sub contractors. The Union County planning board, whose members are appointed by the Commissioners at one point had seven of nine members who were active developer/builders and on at least one occasion, a Marvin developer as I remember, voted to approve his own subdivision.

How did this happen? In order to keep the Commissioners from being overwhelmed with having to approve hundreds of subdivisions, and to prevent having their political fingerprints on them when things turned ugly, they turned the complete responsibility subdivision approval over to the county Planning Board and the “Food Chain” members they had appointed.

Not only did they approve subdivisions, they also recommended (later to be approved) changes to the county subdivision zoning, like giving 30% bonus density for “amenities” like two trees planted in the front yard, or a walking trail ( usually in flood plain). So a developer with a hundred acre clustered subdivision, that typically would yield 100 homes would be allowed 130 homes,  I once called this the “The Law of Crony and Effect“.

THE WALMART BATTLE: Tom Short and Rea Road

Developing the former Wal-Mart property in the Somerset subdivision at Tom Creek and Rea Road was the site of the biggest political battle yet to besiege Union County. Like the Fukushima meltdown, the political fallout has lingered for years. Eight years ago I wrote about in this post: Taxpayers & Home Owners pay the freight for the Wal-Mart fight

On October 10th, candidate David Hoffman made the following post on his candidate Facebook page, the content was like waving a red flag.


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Click to enlarge

I want strict ordinances, like most residents in Marvin. I want to preserve as much as possible of our remaining green space, like most residents in Marvin. AND, I want, and Marvin deserves, to have a say on what is inevitably built-in Marvin, and in the Marvin area on the few remaining parcels of bare land. Without a clear long-term vision, we continually steer landowners towards much less desirable building options, by not providing viable, lower-density options for their land; land that won’t stay bare forever; such as on the major intersections of Rea and Tom Short; and Providence and Newtown. Our current plan and long-term vision, or lack thereof, doesn’t give landowners any other solution than to work with Unincorporated Union County, which has much looser standards for building, and doesn’t help us create our own identity that we can be proud of. Sounds like cutting off your nose to spite your face to me. Also, as a part of this long-term vision that the residents should have a say in creating, we not only need to have control over what is built on major roads entering Marvin, we alternatively need to stop allowing high-density development in the heart of the Village, where road safety, public safety, traffic, and infrastructure should be of top priority and concern.


When reading Mr. Hoffman’s post you will note that of the issues facing Marvin, he chooses to highlight a property that is NOT IN Marvin. Additionally, in a typical “Real Estate broker” viewpoint, he states in effect that Marvin’s current zoning standards are short-sighted and are forcing the “developer” into “less desirable” and “lower density” options for their land. Hello! It is not the Village of Marvin’s responsibility to maximize the  investment of any developer by tailoring ordinances to their industries specifications.

If you read closely, Mr. Hoffman speaks from both sides of his mouth, condemning both low density and high density development in the same paragraph.


Since Mr. Hoffman’s post in essence, only concerns Raley Miller’s Tom Short road property, lets talk about its recent history. Readers should realize the a major reason Raley Miller wants to ANNEX into Marvin is to get a higher density multi-use commercial development, that permits Mixed drink, Beer and Wine sales. Without alcohol sales, which is not available in unincorporated Union County, the up-scale restaurants won’t be interested in leasing in the development. Note, every developer strings this carrot; have you seen an upscale restaurant in Wesley Chapel or Weddington yet?

The Raley-Miller Development has experience developing the Kohls shopping center under county zoning and dealing with the “Pitch Fork” activists in the Hunter Oaks subdivision, but to my knowledge they got everything they wanted.

With Marvin Council member Christina Frazzini’s assistance (explaining her involvement will take a multi-page post), they were able to submit a development application that for all intents, ignored Marvin zoning requirements. Folks, think about the audacity and impudence here. The following is the Zoning Compliance review of Raley Miller’s  submitted plan. Note that in a number of areas, their plan was completely out of compliance – designated by 0%.

Click image to enlarge view

Click image to enlarge view

In another comment,  Mr. Hoffman claims that Marvin doesn’t have an identity it can be proud of, perhaps if he had lived in Marvin more than 10 months, he’d have a better feel for the community and rich history.

I don’t want to belabor the point, but I am astounded at this one sentence Mr. Hoffman wrote “Without a clear long-term vision, we continually steer landowners towards much less desirable building options, by not providing viable, lower-density options for their land; land that won’t stay bare forever; such as on the major intersections of Rea and Tom Short; and Providence and Newtown.” Seriously? The commercial property at Newtown and Providence has had two different plans approved by Marvin already. Hundreds of work hours and untold thousands in tax-dollars as already been poured in the prior plan approvals. The only way to be more accommodating as Mr. Hoffman advocates is to give developers Cart-Blanche.

It seems to me that when you elect a mayor or council member, you expect them to be playing on the town’s team, not the developer. I think it is fair to ask, given what Mr. Hoffman has written on his own Facebook that there will always be doubt about where Mr. Hoffman’s loyalties are placed.

Do take a moment and review his Campaign Finance Report and do note that he is running for the Mayor of Marvin, not Charlotte.

David Hoffman

 Posted by at 7:42 pm
Oct 242015

Weddington corruption

Last week the man behind curtain of Weddington’s Bill Deter re-election campaign bought a full-page advertisement in the local weekly paper. The title of his “editorial” was  “The darkest day in Weddington History!” How ironic, considering backroom workings of the author.

If you’ve been observing politics in Union County as long as I have, you would know the darkest day in Weddington, was the day the current Town Council broke faith with the citizens of Weddington and terminated without cause, the 10 year fire service contract with the Providence Volunteer Fire Department, who had served Weddington for more 60 years. (There is more intrigue to this story.)

The campaign advertisement’s reference to the “Darkest Day” concerned the baseless accusation that Council member Pam Hadley had shared billing invoices for legal services with the Providence VFD. A great kerfuffle was raised at the October meeting, which was just an orchestrated attack weeks before the election.  They even tried to interpret a nod of Hadley’s head as an admission of quilt. (Seriously folks, Weddington’s  kangaroo court is in session)


The simple fact is that “Billing” invoices are Public Record and withholding them is breaking the North Carolina’s SunShine laws. The following article in the EJ covers parts of the issue.


Click Image to Read Article


Amanda Martin, an attorney who specializes in media law in North Carolina, said legal bills sent from a law firm to a town or the republic agency ordinarily are public.

However, some of the information that contains legal advice can be redacted but the remainder of the bill should be provided, she said.

The following publications concerning “Public Records” from the Attorney General’s office and the UNC School of Government is a great reference.




In reading the “Campaign Advertisement” it is VERY clear that a cover-up  was in fact, what was behind the effort of Town Council-members who attacked Pam Hadley over the billing invoices and worked with “other parties” to break PVFD Fire Service Contract. It is apparent that Bill Deter in his quest for re-election was determined to keep the No. 1 issue of the breaking the PVFD service contract ($750.000) and the Weddington taxpayers gift to Wesley Chapel VFD by selling the Hemby Road fire station on the cheap ($750,000, a $173,000 discount), and hundreds of thousands in legal fees from influencing voters. The diversionary attacks on the opposition candidates (Hadley, Propst and Weaver), accusing them of supporting commercial development just about every is just a flim-flam, knowing that most voters are not educated in the permitting process, so they are ripe for panic voting.

We will have to wait for the lawsuit to reveal the truth in court, but know that as long has the current board remains the majority rule in Weddington, the backroom government will remain in power.

Voters, educate yourselves, call the candidates and ask them questions.

Don’t nod off, someone might accuse you of being honest.

 Posted by at 6:14 pm
Oct 212015

The voters have spoken, not a lot of them, but enough to make an impression. The “Developer” party lost in Indian Trail and got trounced in Marvin. Good results in Wesley Chapel and Waxhaw too. Look for my Election review later this week. Congratulations to the Winners and well done to all the candidates.


Continuing with a VSO tradition, I will handicap candidates with character icons depicting my opinion of their candidacy based on their previous terms in office or their responses in candidate forums and newspaper questionnaires, public service record and length of residency. While elections are very serious, I have tried to inject a little humor into rating candidates for your information and entertainment.

Running for office is not an easy undertaking under the best of times, candidates (not all) are to be commended and thanked for making the effort.

Note: Revisions and updates may occur as the election draws closer.

Please refer to the icon legend at the bottom of the page or pause your mouse over the icon to view definition.


Seats: Mayor, 2 Council

  • Pamela Hadley – Mayor
  • Bill Deter (i) – Mayor Winner
  • Mikki Weaver – Council District #2
  • Scott Buzzard -Council District #2 Winner
  • Janice Propst – Council District #4 Winner
  • Walker Davidson – Council District #4
  • Barbara Harrison (i) – Council District

Seats: Mayor; 2 Commissioners

  • Daune Gardner (i) – Mayor (withdrawn)
  • Steve Maher – Mayor – Winner
  • Dustin Williams – Mayor
  • Fred Burrell – Commissioner Winner
  • Amina Lee – Commissioner
  • Mike Osborn – Commissioner
  • Brenda Stewart – Commissioner – Winner
Wesley Chapel:

Seats: Mayor, 2 Council

  • David Kapfhammer – Mayor Winner
  • Howard Brotton – Mayor
  • Elaine B. Rosoff – Mayor
  • Paul Kaperonis – Council – Winner
  • William Rodriguez- Council – Winner



Seats: Mayor, 2 Council

  • Joe Pollino – Mayor Winner
  • David Hoffman – Mayor
  • Ron Salimao – CouncilWinner
  • Nick Dispenziere – CouncilWinner
  • Laura Minsk – Council
  • Andrew Wortman – Council

Seats: 2 Council (districts)

  • Shawna Steele (i) – Council (#4)
  • Kathy Heyse – Council (#5)


Indian Trail:

I’ve updated Candidate characters for the “Developer” slate running in Indian Trail.

Seats: Mayor, 3 Council

  • Michael Alvarez – Mayor Winner
  • Roger Fish – Mayor
  • Pamela DeMaria – Council
  • David Cohn (i) – Council Winner
  • Dave Drehs (i) – Council
  • Christopher King (i) – Council (Withdrawn) Announced withdrawing from the race, but never filed with BOE
  • Gary Evans – Council (Withdrawn)
  • Micheal Faulkenberry – Council
  • Amy Stanton – Council – Winner
  • Tiffany McGee – Council
  • Tripp Melton – Council
  • Suzanne Schooler – Council
  • Mark Wireman – Council – Winner
Mineral Springs:

Seats: Mayor, 3 Council

  • Rick Becker (i) – Mayor – Winner
  • Charles Bowden – Mayor
  • Peggy Neill (i) – Council Winner
  • Lundeen N. Cureton (i) – Council Winner
  • Valerie Coffey (i) – Council Winner



Endorsed by the Village Scribe
Candidate is a good prospect or has good record.
Candidate has an excellent resume or experience for office.
Candidate has little or no previous experience for office.
Candidate of dubious distinction.
Candidate recycles same failed concepts – raising taxes.
Candidate may have hidden connections to special interests or (former) elected officials.
Candidate has history of supporting special interests to detriment of community.
Candidate has acted contrary to public position.
Voting for Candidate is a roll of the dice.
Candidate seems OK, so far.
Candidate is a developer, developer friendly or beholding to developers.
Caution, candidate is/may be dangerous to your town’s health, Elect at your own peril!
Candidate has shown not to be grounded in reality.
Candidate is the lessor of bad choices for the office.
Candidate should be closely scrutinized before supporting.
Candidate is a proven good listener, makes efforts to meet with constituents.
Candidate is NOT a good listener, tends to vote personal opinion.
Candidate is a Good Ole Boy or supported by GOB cronies.
Candidate is a media hound.
Check Candidate’s financial supporters.
If elected, candidate should be watched closely.
Candidate has no history of doing anything!
Wingman: Is running to aid incumbent or put up to run by an incumbent
Candidate has Flip-Flopped on important issues!
Candidate is an unknown need more info!
Candidate is a joke or election would be a bad joke on electorate

Note: The assignment of icons for candidates record or potential are the opinion and view of the candidates qualifications and/or history as viewed by the VSO. Voters are encouraged to do their own due diligence.

Candidates without icons are either under review or completely unknown at this time.

% As with any author to the VSO, the editor reserves the right to edit or reject any submission for content, length, language and spelling.

Please Note: If you have been rated with both a and a , please don’t waste my time.

 Posted by at 9:27 pm