Charlotte city officials are backing off a plan for spending $1.1 million to purchase seven stores as a crime-fighting measure. After approving the plan to purchase the stores last week, City Council sent it to a committee for study yesterday, the Charlotte Observer reports. The city’s Economic Development Office had pitched the idea of buying out stores in the Belmont area, arguing that crime tends to occur around certain stores that sell wine and beer.
The council approved the idea last week, but Mayor Pat McCrory vetoed it. “My concern is that we’re trying to buy people out of this neighborhood just so we can flip the properties,” said councilman Michael Barnes. “That’s wrong.” Under the plan now being reviewed, the city, through a nonprofit, would have negotiated with store owners for the land. It would have then sold it for housing and used the money to develop other retail outlets. The mayor and some council members believe most crime is out of the store owners’ hands. They said the owners shouldn’t be penalized for what some patrons do once they leave the properties.