Union County seeing new development due to rapid growth

Cuthbertson Road is just one area of Waxhaw that is seeing significant change, which is concerning some longtime residents.

WAXHAW, N.C. — Data shows more than 150,000 people have moved to Union County in North Carolina over the past three decades, and county leaders said there are no signs that the trend will slow down anytime soon.

And rapid growth often means new development.

“We’re one of the fastest-growing regions in the states,” Union County planning director Lee Jenson said. “Developers reach out to us all the time.” 

County leaders point to three main reasons developers continue to pick this area. 

“Good work-life balance; we have great schools, and we have low taxes,” Jenson said. 

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Those are the same reasons Tony Palmer moved from Cleveland with his family seven years ago. 

“It looked like home; it felt like home, and we loved where we were — kind of rural but enough to do,” Palmer shared.

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But that rural feeling is starting to change in some parts of the county.

One such development is on Cuthbertson Road where trees once stood tall until it was rezoned in late 2020. Soon, 360 age-restricted units and 93 townhomes will be built on a 235-acre plot. 

“When you start taking down the trees, there goes the rural part,” Palmer said.

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He hopes the growth slows down a bit.

“The growth is going faster than the infrastructure,” Palmer explained. 

And when new developments come, infrastructure is known to suffer. With narrow roads and traffic bound to increase, some residents are worried about this new development causing more problems for an already struggling area.

“In the evenings, there’s not many cars, and it’s not an issue but if you’re doing 45 to 50 mph, and the roads are super narrow,” Palmer said. “Every single home I guarantee you has at least two children, so, between new drivers and things like that, it’s tough.”

County leaders said there will be a new left-turn lane on Cuthbertson Road to help alleviate traffic. 

“And then eventually, the state DOT will widen Highway 16,” Jenson shared.


Union County recently rolled out a 2050 Comprehensive Plan to discuss how they plan to handle the new development. County leaders said, while they encourage growth, they know there’s a limit. 

“Growth should not occur out in some of the unincorporated parts of the county, so our new plan reflects that,” Jenson said. 

Residents said they don’t hate the growth, but they are hopeful county leaders can build roads and storm sewers fast enough to keep up with the growing demand.

Contact Lexi Wilson at lwilson@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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WCNC Charlotte is part of seven major media companies and other local institutions producing I Can’t Afford to Live Here, a collaborative reporting project focused on solutions to the affordable housing crisis in Charlotte. It is a project of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, which is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. See all of our reporting at charlottejournalism.org.  



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