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MINUTES OF THE BURLINGTON PLANNING

AND ZONING COMMISSION MEETING

 

February 28, 2005

 

Council Chamber, Burlington Municipal Building

 

 

CITY MEMBERS:

EXTRATERRITORIAL MEMBERS:

George Byrd, Chairman, Present

Bud Apple, Present

Jim Burwell, Secretary, Absent

John Enoch, Present

Paul Cobb, Present

Richard Franks, Present

Lynn Cowan, Present

Jim Johnson, Present

Elder Greg Hargrave, Present

Ellis Piper, Present

Gordon Millspaugh, Absent

Bob Ware, Present

 

 

STAFF PRESENT:

 

Robert R. Harkrader, Planning Director

Kurt Pearson, Assistant Director of Planning Services

Haywood Cloud, Zoning/Subdivision Administrator

Daniel Shoffner, Planner I

Dianne Fogleman, Office Assistant

 

 

ITEM NO. 1Chairman Byrd called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.

 

ITEM NO. 2: Minutes of the meetings held November 22, 2004, and January 24, 2005, were unanimously approved.  This was a City and extraterritorial item.

 

ITEM NO. 3: Consent agenda:  (City)

 

(A)        Mr. Bill Barnard presented an application for final plat approval of the Woods of Grove Park, Inc., Subdivision.  The property is located on the north side of South Mebane Street approximately 400 feet west of Alamance Road as shown on plans by Morgan Surveying dated February 15, 2005, and containing two lots.

 

(B)        Mr. Mark Reich with Alley, Williams, Carmen and King, Inc., representing Wakefield Development Company, presented an application for final plat approval of the Mackintosh on the Lake Braemar Subdivision.  The property is located on the east side Bonnar Bridge Parkway west of St. Mark’s Church Road and southwest of Danbrook Road as shown on plans by Alley, Williams, Carmen and King, Inc., dated February 8, 2005, and containing 55 lots.

 

(C)        Mr. Mark Reich with Alley, Williams, Carmen and King, Inc., representing Windsor Investments, LLC, presented an application for final plat approval of Phase 1, Section 1, of the Park Place Townhomes Development.  The property is located east of Springwood Village Road, south of Whitsett Park Road and west of Springwood Church Road as shown on plans by Alley, Williams, Carmen and King, Inc., dated February 11, 2005, and containing eight lots.

 

(D)        Mr. Aden Stoltzfus with Fleming Engineering, Inc., representing Concept Builders, Inc., presented an application for final plat approval of Phase 1 (Lots 38 through 42 and Lots 52 and 53) of the Abbington Place Townhomes Development.  The property is located on the northeast corner of University Drive and Abbington Way as shown on plans by Fleming Engineering, Inc., dated February 14, 2005, and containing eight lots.

 

            Planning Director Harkrader stated that the petitioner had requested that (C) be withdrawn.  The property will be phased and permitted differently.

 

            Commission Member Cobb made a motion to allow (C) to be withdrawn from the agenda.  Greg Hargrave seconded the motion.  The Commission voted unanimously to allow (C) to be withdrawn from the agenda.

 

            Mr. Harkrader presented Commission members amended copies of the plat for (A).  He stated that the amended plat shows the dedication of a Mebane Street right-of-way that the developers agreed to during the Conditional rezoning process in January.

 

            Mr. Bill Barnard, agent for the property owners in (A), stated that he had questions regarding the right-of-way dedication.  He told Commission members that as a property owner he had not been compensated for the right-of-way.

 

            Mr. Harkrader explained that prospective buyers of the property, Holiday Retirement Corporation, who had the lots rezoned to Conditional zoning in January to allow for a residential retirement facility, had agreed to dedicate the necessary right-of-way in order for the North Carolina Department of Transportation to widen South Mebane Street.  He further stated that the City had received a letter from the developer of the retirement facility, Colson and Colson Construction Company, agreeing to the right-of-way.  Mr. Harkrader also stated that City staff had the understanding from the property owners’ legal counsel that it was the desire of the owners to subdivide the property and dedicate the right-of-way.

 

            Mr. Harkrader asked staff to obtain from the Planning Department files the letter submitted by the prospective developer agreeing to the right-of-way dedication to show Mr. Barnard.  Mr. Harkrader suggested that while staff was retrieving the letter, the Commission could continue the meeting and consider (A) at the end of the meeting.

 

            Staff recommended approval of (D) and recommended approval of (B) contingent upon the developers posting proper surety with the City of Burlington for completion of street construction prior to recording the plat and contingent upon street plans and profiles, water and sewer plans and storm drainage plans being submitted to the City Engineering Department and approval of same by the City Engineering Department.

 

            Commission Member Cobb made a motion to recommend approval of (D) and to recommend approval of (B) with the contingency outlined by staff.  Greg Hargrave seconded the motion.  The Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of (D) and to recommend approval of (B) contingent upon the developers posting proper surety with the City of Burlington for completion of street construction prior to recording the plat and contingent upon street plans and profiles, water and sewer plans and storm drainage plans being submitted to the City Engineering Department and approval of same by the City Engineering Department.

 

Consent agenda:  (Extraterritorial)

 

(E)        Mr. Rodney Herring with Simmons Engineering and Surveying, Inc., representing Martin Marietta Aggregates Burlington Quarry, presented an application for final plat approval of the Martin Marietta Aggregates Redivision of Lots 6 and 7.  The property is located on the west side of Huffman Mill Road approximately 3,000 feet south of Grand Oaks Boulevard as shown on plans by Simmons Engineering and Surveying, Inc., dated February 10, 2005, and containing two lots.

 

(F)        Mr. Mark Reich with Alley, Williams, Carmen and King, Inc., representing Empire Homes, Inc., presented an application for final plat approval of Phase 2, Sections 1 through 3, of the Castle Ridge Subdivision.  The property is located at the northeast corner of Burch Bridge Road and Old Glencoe Road as shown on plans by Alley, Williams, Carmen and King, Inc., dated December 6, 2004, and containing 41 lots.

 

            Staff recommended approval of (E) and recommended approval of (F) contingent upon the developers posting proper surety with the City of Burlington for completion of street construction prior to recording the plat and contingent upon street plans and profiles, water and sewer plans and storm drainage plans being submitted to the City Engineering Department and approval of same by the City Engineering Department.

 

            Commission Member Franks made a motion to recommend approval of (E) and recommended approval of (F) with the contingency outlined by staff. Bud Apple seconded the motion.  The Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of (E) and to recommend approval of (F) contingent upon the developers posting proper surety with the City of Burlington for completion of street construction prior to recording the plat and contingent upon street plans and profiles, water and sewer plans and storm drainage plans being submitted to the City Engineering Department and approval of same by the City Engineering Department.

 

ITEM NO. 4: Mr. Stephen K. Whitfield presented an application to rezone from R-9, Residential District, to O-I, Office-Institutional District, the property located at 511 Alamance Road approximately 160 feet north of Trail Six as shown on Alamance County Tax Map 186, Block 749, Lot 21. 

 

This was a City item.

 

Mr. Whitfield stated that this request for rezoning was the same as it was last month when he had the lot next door rezoned. He explained that he realized he needs more space and intends to establish a new location for his realty company.  He also stated that some of his friends wanted to join in the venture by moving their offices to the location.  He distributed copies of a picture of the proposed facility and a map showing surrounding zoning. Mr. Whitfield pointed out that his facility will have a low-country look and will offer an attractive appearance for the entrance into Burlington.

 

Planning Director Harkrader stated that O-I zoning will be an appropriate land use of the property and that staff recommended approval of the request for rezoning.  He explained that after Mr. Whitfield’s rezoning request last month, City Council asked staff to review and study the Alamance Road corridor from Trail Six to South Church Street to determine future growth patterns and present its findings to Council.  He pointed out that Alamance Road would be widened in the future.

 

Commission Chairman Byrd asked if staff had received any telephone calls regarding the request for rezoning and was told that it had not.

 

Commission Member Cowan inquired about the date for widening Alamance Road and was told that a timetable will not be established until funds become available through the North Carolina Department of Transportation.

 

Commission Member Cobb asked if the Commission should postpone the request for rezoning until staff completed its study of Alamance Road.

 

Commission Member Franks questioned if Mr. Whitfield would have to return for his request for rezoning if City Council tabled the item until staff completed its study.

 

Planning Director Harkrader stated that staff had completed much of the field work and basic land use parts of the study.

 

Commission Member Hargrave asked if the study would be completed by the time Council considers Mr. Whitfield’s request for rezoning and was told that the study should be completed by then.

 

Commission Member Ware asked Mr. Whitfield if rezoning this lot would be for his use, and Mr. Whitfield answered that last month, the rezoning was for his use but this lot will be for rental spaces.  Mr. Whitfield explained that a chiropractor and an insurance professional had approached him regarding rental space.

 

Mr. Ware asked if the prospective tenants were aware that Alamance Road would be widened in the future and was told that they did. 

 

Commission Member Johnson asked if there would be another building constructed on this lot.  Mr. Whitfield explained that there would be a building on each lot and they will be designed to create a courtyard-effect.

 

Commission Member Cowan commented that the use would be suited for the property, but she was concerned about traffic flow.

 

Mr. Whitfield explained that there will be little traffic on the weekends, and at the most, there would be 10 to 15 cars in the parking lot.

 

Commission Chairman Byrd inquired about the hours, and Mr. Whitfield stated that more than likely the hours would be from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m., seven days a week, and that the staff would number six or seven with 13 to 14 people in the office at any given time including staff and clients.

 

Commission Member Cobb made a motion to recommend approval of the request for rezoning.  Greg Hargrave seconded the motion.  The Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the request for rezoning.

 

The Commission found that the zoning change as requested would not adversely affect the adjoining property and would be in keeping with land use planning in the area.    

 

ITEM NO. 5: Mr. Mark Dyer, representing Mr. David B. Lawson, presented an application to rezone from R-9, Residential District, to C-OI, Conditional Office-Institutional District, to allow development of a residence, chapel and mortuary.  The property is located at 208 West Harden Street approximately 715 feet east of Atwood Drive as shown on Alamance County Tax Map 6, Block 41, Lot 279. 

 

This was a City item.

 

Mr. Dyer stated that the planned development would enhance the neighborhood.  He explained that the exterior of the home currently located on the property would be remodeled and that the chapel would be constructed on the back of the property.  Funeral home vehicles will be parked under an awning behind the chapel and will not be visible from Harden Street.

 

Commission Member Byrd stated that it was his understanding that the proposed chapel would seat 200, and this was confirmed by Mr. Dyer.  Mr. Dyer also stated that the developer had increased the number of parking spaces from the required amount.

 

Commission Chairman Byrd asked if staff had received any calls from surrounding property owners.

 

Zoning/Subdivision Administrator Cloud stated that Ms. Myra Mills called with concerns and another lady called to inquire about the rezoning sign on the property.

 

Mr. Barrington Hill, 206 Bradley Street, stated that the area had been residential for a hundred years and that he wanted to see it stay that way.

 

Ms. Linda Gentry, 220 Harden Street, stated that her father built the home she lives in 70 years ago and that she wants the area to remain zoned residential.

 

Mr. David Lawson, owner of the property and petitioner, stated that the area is zoned commercial on both sides – especially all the way into Graham – and included a beauty parlor, beer establishment and other commercial development.  He maintained that a funeral home is almost like having a church in the neighborhood.  He informed the Commission that before he purchased the 5 ½-acre property, the owners had turned down the development of a half-way house and a project house.  Mr. Lawson stated that his proposed development would be quiet with very little interruption to the neighborhood.

 

Commission Chairman Byrd asked if the buffer of trees would remain when the property is developed and was told that it would.  Mr. Lawson informed the Commission that he would have the property professionally landscaped after development had been completed.

 

Mr. Dyer pointed out that there would be a 15-foot buffer on the right side of the property, and the existing trees and shrubbery will remain.  He also stated that the former property owners still own the property next door.

 

Commission Member Hargrave asked if there was a house located on the first tract, and Mr. Lawson answered affirmatively.

 

Mr. Lawson also stated that there would be a new driveway approved by the Department of Transportation and a buffer will separate the driveway and the adjoining property.

 

Commission Member Cobb asked if the house would be torn down to make room for the funeral home, and Mr. Lawson stated that it would not be torn down because he lives in it.

 

Ms. Myra Hill stated that she lives across the street and most of the property between her and Chapel Hill Road is zoned residential except the beer parlor whereas the property towards Graham is zoned commercial.

 

Ms. Gentry stated that several of the neighbors are upset about the rezoning but could not attend the meeting.  She pointed out that the traffic is already terrible and that neighbors have a difficult time pulling out of their driveways.

 

Mr. Lawson stated that a funeral home is not like a nightclub staying open until all hours of the night nor is it an all-day traffic-producer.  He stated that the chapel would be open until around 8 p.m.

 

Commission Member Cobb asked the location of Mr. Lawson’s current funeral home.

 

Mr. Lawson answered that he is currently located at 115 East Harden Street but has outgrown the site.  He stated that he had problems with the EPA and had no parking or a driveway.  He informed Commission members that he had lived at the proposed site for a year and questioned why a five-lane street couldn’t accommodate a small amount of funeral home traffic.

 

Commission Member Cobb asked if Mr. Lawson was licensed, and Mr. Lawson stated that he was.  He inquired about Mr. Dyer’s profession, and Mr. Dyer stated that he was a building contractor employed by Donald Perry Construction Company, which will construct the chapel and mortuary.

 

Ms. Gentry stated that Mr. Lawson should have done some footwork beforehand and found out how neighbors felt about the funeral home.  She maintained that it was already difficult to get onto Harden Street and a policeman stopping heavy traffic for a funeral possession would contribute to the problem.

 

Mr. Dyer pointed out the funeral home would be much like a sanctuary and a funeral possession will create a safer environment for the neighborhood by slowing traffic down.

 

Mr. Lee Isley stated that he grew up in the area and he can see that homes in the area are becoming more dilapidated.  He maintained that he could see no improvements taking place nor development activity and that the funeral home would be a good thing for the area.

 

Planning Director Harkrader stated that staff recommended approval of the request for rezoning with the following use and development conditions outlined on the rezoning application: 

 

Use Conditions:

 

1.         Development of a residence with approved landscaping.

 

2.         Construction of a chapel and mortuary.

 

Development Conditions:

 

1.      Building housing a chapel and mortuary will be 4,800 square feet.

 

2.      Parking lot will be paved.

 

3.      A new driveway will be located as shown on the site plan -- such driveway to be approved by NCDOT.

 

4.      A 15-foot wide landscaping buffer will be located on the west side of the property as indicated on the site plan.

 

5.      A monument sign with a maximum height of ten feet will be erected on the property.

 

Planning Director Harkrader pointed out that Mr. Lawson had increased the number of parking spaces, and staff had studied the proposed circulation patterns in order to best serve vehicles for a funeral possession in order to be contained on site.  He also stated that Mr. Lawson had agreed to widen the driveway at the City’s request.

 

Mr. Harkrader informed Commission members that as a courtesy, staff had contacted the City of Graham since Mr. Lawson’s property abuts that municipality’s jurisdiction, and he stated that Graham had no problems with the proposed development.

 

Commission Member Cobb asked how the adjoining property was zoned, and Mr. Harkrader stated that he did not inquire about the zoning. He pointed out that the creek is the dividing line between Burlington and Graham’s jurisdictions.

 

Commission Member Cowan asked if the other lots would remain zoned R-9, and was told that they would be.  She stated that in that case, she could not see that the development would impact the neighborhood. She asked Mr. Lawson if he planned to purchase the adjoining property, and he answered that he does not plan to purchase the Phillips’ property.

 

Commission Member Hargrave stated that he does have some concerns about traffic and asked Mr. Lawson how often does he have services.

 

Mr. Lawson stated that in 2004, he had 63 services and all viewing and services were held exclusively at churches because he does not have a chapel at his current location.  He stated that out of the 63 services, nine could have been chapel services.

 

Mr. Lawson also stated that during a viewing, there would be approximately 15 cars in the parking lot and is has become more popular to have the viewing and services all on the same day.

 

Commission Member Hargrave pointed out that more families are opting to have both the viewing and services at the church, and it seems that a service once a month at the proposed chapel would make a difference in the amount of traffic anticipated.

 

Commission Member Enoch pointed out that the cost of a funeral service was reduced when the family had everything at the church.  Mr. Lawson stated that 80 percent of the families held the viewing and services all in one day.

 

Commission Member Ware asked if the mortuary would be at a different location and was told that the chapel and mortuary would be at the same location.

 

Commission Member Hargrave stated that he understood the neighbors’ concerns and that they would like to see a new home built on the property; however, a funeral home is much like a church and would not impact the surrounding area.

 

Commission Chairman Byrd stated that he also shared the neighbors’ concerns but also appreciates Mr. Lawson’s endeavors.

 

Commission Member Cobb made a motion to recommend approval of the request for rezoning.  Greg Hargrave seconded the motion.  The Commission voted three to one to recommend approval of the request for rezoning. Voting to recommend approval were Cobb, Hargrave and Byrd.  Voting against the motion to recommend approval was Cowan.

 

The Commission found that the zoning change as requested would not adversely affect the adjoining property and would be in keeping with land use planning in the area. 

 

RETURN TO ITEM 3 (A):

 

Via the overhead projector in the Council Chamber, Planning Director Harkrader showed a letter from Colson and Colson Construction Company, the developer of a proposed retirement facility, agreeing to dedicate the necessary right-of-way in order for NCDOT to widen South Mebane Street.

 

Mr. Harkrader stated that evidently there had been a misunderstanding between the seller and buyer of the property regarding the right-of-way. However, approval of the Conditional rezoning last month included the right-of-way dedication.  He stated that staff recommended approval of the final plat showing the division of two lots and dedication of right-of-way.

 

Commission Member Cobb made a motion to table the item until the situation could be resolved between the seller and prospective buyer.  Lynn Cowan seconded the motion.  The Commission voted two to two to table the item.  Voting to table the item were Cobb and Cowan.  Voting against the motion to table the item were Byrd and Hargrave.  The motion failed.

 

Mr. Barnard requested that the Commission consider approving the final plat showing the dedication of right-of-way.

 

Commission Member Enoch suggested that all politics be put aside and that the item be considered.

 

Commission Member Hargrave made a motion to recommend approval of the final plat.  George Byrd seconded the motion.  The Commission voted two to one to recommend approval of the final plat.  Voting to recommend approval were Hargrave and Byrd.  Voting against the motion to recommend approval was Cowan.  Paul Cobb did not vote.

 

 

Planning Director Harkrader introduced a new Planning Department staff member, Mr. Daniel Shoffner.  Mr. Harkrader stated that Mr. Shoffner was formerly employed by Alamance County and is a licensed EMT and pilot and a member of the Mount Hope Volunteer Fire Department and Guilford County EMS.

 

Commission Chairman Byrd recognized two journalism students from Asheboro.

 

There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

                  ____________________________

                          George A. Byrd, Jr., Chairman

 

 

 

 

                  ____________________________

                  James M. Burwell, Secretary