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MINUTES OF THE BURLINGTON PLANNING

AND ZONING COMMISSION MEETING

 

July 25, 2005

 

Council Chamber, Burlington Municipal Building

 

 

CITY MEMBERS:                                                  EXTRATERRITORIAL MEMBERS:

 

George Byrd, Present                                             Bud Apple, Present

Jim Burwell, Absent                                              John Enoch, Absent

Paul Cobb, Present                                                 Richard Franks, Present

Lynn Cowan, Present                                             Jim Johnson, Present

Elder Greg Hargrave, Present                                Ellis Piper, Present

Gordon Millspaugh, Present                                   Bob Ware, Present

 

STAFF PRESENT:

 

Robert R. Harkrader, Director of Planning and Economic Development

Daniel Shoffner, Planner I

Haywood Cloud, Zoning/Subdivision Administrator

Dianne Fogleman, Office Assistant

 

 

       ITEM NO. 1Acting Chairman George Byrd called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.  Mr. Byrd asked Commission members to keep Commission Member Enoch, who has had health problems, and Commission Member Burwell, whose sister passed away recently, in their thoughts and prayers.

 

       ITEM NO. 2: Mr. Byrd called for the nomination and election of Chairman and Secretary for 2005-2006.  Commission Member Cobb made a motion to re-elect Mr. Byrd as Chairman. Bud Apple seconded the motion.  The Commission voted unanimously to re-elect Mr. Byrd as Chairman. Commission Member Cobb made a motion to re-elect Jim Burwell as Secretary.  Jim Johnson seconded the motion.  The Commission voted unanimously to re-elect Mr. Burwell as Secretary of the Commission for 2005-2006.  This was a City and extraterritorial item.

 

       ITEM NO. 3: Minutes of the meeting held June 27, 2005, were unanimously approved.  This was a City and extraterritorial item.

 

       ITEM NO. 4: Consent agenda:  (City)

 

 (A)  Mr. Robert Lewis presented an application for final plat approval of Hanover West Industrial Park Condominiums, Phase 1, Map 1.  The property is located on the north side of Hanover Road approximately 1,250 feet east of South Graham-Hopedale Road as shown on plans by Borum, Wade and Associates, P.A., dated May 3, 2005, and containing three lots.


 

(B)   Mr. Mark Reich, representing Windsor Investments, LLC, presented an application for final plat approval of Phase 1, Section 1, of Park Place Townhomes.  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 July 8, 2005, and containing eight lots.

 

(C)   Mr. Mark Reich, representing Windsor Investments, LLC, presented an application for final plat approval of Phase 2, Park Village Subdivision.  The property is located on the southwest corner of Whitsett Park Road and Springwood Church Road as shown on plans by Alley, Williams, Carmen and King, Inc., dated March 31, 2005, and containing 33 lots.

 

       Staff recommended approval of (A) and (B) and recommended approval of (C) contingent upon completion of street construction or the applicant posting proper surety with the City Engineering Department prior to recording the plat.

 

       Commission Member Cobb made a motion to recommend approval of (A) and (B) and to recommend approval of (C) with the contingency outlined by staff.  Greg Hargrave seconded the motion.  The Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of (A) and (B) and to recommend approval of (C) contingent upon completion of street construction or the applicant posting proper surety with the City Engineering Department prior to recording the plat.

 

       Consent agenda:  (Extraterritorial)

 

(D)   Mr. Roger Hunt, representing Pierce Homes of Carolina, Inc., presented an application for preliminary plan approval of the Northside Subdivision.  The property is located on the north side of Sharpe Road approximately 400 feet east of Burch Bridge Road as shown on plans by Borum, Wade and Associates, P.A., dated December 3, 2004, and containing 124 lots.  This item was tabled at the June 27, 2005, Commission meeting because there was not a quorum of extraterritorial members present.

 

(E)   Ms. Lorie Chimera, representing Concept Builders, Inc., presented an application for final plat approval of Phase 1 of the Burchwood Commons Subdivision.  The property is located on the southwest side of Burch Bridge Road approximately 70 feet east of the northern right-of-way line of Old Glencoe Road as shown on plans by Fleming Engineering, Inc., dated July 8, 2005, and containing 22 lots.

 

       Commission Member Johnson requested that he be allowed to abstain from voting on (D).  Commission Member Franks made a motion to allow Mr. Johnson to abstain from voting on (D).  Greg Hargrave seconded the motion. The Commission voted unanimously to allow Mr. Johnson to abstain from voting on (D).

 

       Staff recommended approval of (D) and recommended approval of (E) contingent upon completion of street construction or the applicant posting proper surety with the City Engineering Department prior to recording the plat.

 

       Commission Member Franks made a motion to approve (D) and to recommend approval of (E) with the contingency outlined by staff. Bud Apple seconded the motion.  The Commission voted unanimously to approve (D) and to recommend approval of (E) contingent upon completion of street construction or the applicant posting proper surety with the City Engineering Department prior to recording the plat.  Commission Member Johnson abstained from voting on (D).

 

      

 

 

       ITEM NO. 5: Mr. Charles Bateman, representing Collins/Goodman Development Company, presented an application to rezone from R-15, Residential District, to CB, Conditional Business District, to allow the development of Burlington Station permitting the following uses: amusements, automobile accessories/sales, bakeries, banks, child care facilities, cleaners, drive-in restaurants, flower/plant sales (not enclosed), medical offices, offices, photographic, physicians, restaurants, retail businesses, service, stores and Unified Business Developments. The property is located on the west side of University Drive (Western Loop) and on the east side of Rural Retreat Road as shown on Alamance County Tax Map 3-26, Lot 7.

 

       This was an extraterritorial item.

 

       Mr. Bateman stated that the six acre tract is located north of the new Target Store and that three buildings are planned for the development – a major drug store chain; a Fire Mountain Grill Restaurant; and a group of small retail shops, professional offices and other neighborhood business uses.  He maintained that the tract would be an appropriate area to extend commercial uses and would not be suitable for residential uses.  He stated that the proposed facilities would not be suitable for the nearby CBL development because Fire Mountain Grill would only build on property that the company owns and that the drug store requires an appropriate site to offer drive-through accommodations. 

 

       Mr. Bateman stated that while O-I (Office-Institutional) might be attractive as a buffer between commercial and the residential area, there is already an abundance of this zoning.  He told Commission members that land use is driven by economics, and with all the residential growth taking place in the area, there is a need for commercial development.  He also stated that rezoning the property would be an appropriate extension of existing commercial uses and that the tract would be amply buffered from the residential area.  In addition, traffic would not have to go through a residential area to get to the development.

 

       Mr. Bateman introduced Mr. Walter Barineau with Collins/Goodman Development Company.  Mr. Barineau showed a site plan of the proposed development as well as photographs of existing facilities.  He stated that the company has developments in seven states, including two in Concord.  The buildings are constructed of stacked stone with a four-sided design.  He envisions other tenants to offer spas, hair salons and other neighborhood-type uses.

 

       Ms. Linda Thompson, 4032 Williams Mill Road, asked if there would be 24-hour-a-day construction going on.  She stated that this was a problem during the construction of Target and that neighbors found out that evidently trucks and bulldozers back up more that they go forward thus emitting the beeping noise.  In the case with Target, construction took place 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and neighbors prayed for rain just to get some relief from the noise.  In addition, she stated that neighbors had questions and concerns about commercial development encroaching into the residential area.

 

       Mr. Barineau stated that the construction company for the proposed development is a sister-company and that it doesn’t like to pay overtime nor bring in lights in order to work at night.  Normal hours, he pointed out, would be from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. depending on the time of year, and the company would abide by any curfews proposed by the neighbors.


 

       Mr. Richard Jacoby, 4059 Williams Mill Road, stated that he lives across the road from the proposed development and that his father-in-law, Glenn Shepherd, owns almost 28 acres and has had the property since the 1920’s.  Mr. Jacoby questioned if vehicles would be required to turn right only at the two proposed exits.  Mr. Barineau stated that a traffic study contracted by the company determined turn movements at the intersection and the number of vehicles that would access the property.

 

       Mr. Jacoby stated that he was not totally opposed to the development; however, he stated that when the City approved the Target development, it broke its stride as far as the Land Use Plan is concerned.  He noted that the Land Use Plan originally called for residential zoning on the Target property but Target folks held the City hostage until the City gave in and rezoned the property to commercial.  Mr. Jacoby asked if the demand is so high for commercial development, why doesn’t the City change the Land Use Plan and let the property owners in that area decide whether or not to move on or profit from the sale of their property to commercial developers.

 

       Commission Chairman Byrd stated that the City is experiencing a lot of growing pains – this area in particular because of Interstate 85/40.

 

       Planning Director Harkrader stated that the petitioner had submitted a traffic impact report; however, the report is fairly complicated.   The report also shows conflicting data with regard to proposed land uses.  A fast-food restaurant is shown instead of the proposed drug store.

 

       Mr. Barineau explained that at the onset of the traffic impact analysis, the site plan showed a fast-food restaurant, which presented the worse case scenario with a higher traffic impact.

 

       Commission Chairman Byrd asked if staff plans to update the Land Use Plan for that area in the near future.

 

       Mr. Harkrader stated that the development that is occurring right now is in great measure what the Land Use Plan planned for including the Mackintosh on the Lake residential development, Alamance Crossing development and mixed-use commercial growth.  So far the City is for the most part adhering to the Land Use Plan.  He also reminded Commission members that during the joint meeting with the Commission and City Council, staff predicted that this area would be a “hot spot” for future development and that the City will be faced with difficult and complicated decisions in many of these areas.

 

       Mr. Harkrader stated that there is no reason that this property couldn’t be developed as a mixed-use residential area and there is no reason why the commercial development and residential area could not coexist with each other.  He compared this possibility to the area at Streets of Southpoint in Durham where residential development is adjacent and connects to adjacent commercial properties.

 

       Mr. Earl Jaggers, 4012 Williams Mill Road, questioned if the proposed restaurant would serve alcohol and if the drug store will be open 24 hours a day.  Mr. Barineau stated that the 120-seat restaurant will not serve alcohol and that he does not know the hours of the drug store.  Mr. Jaggers stated that he agrees with Mr. Jacoby when he suggested that the City open up the entire area and let everyone benefit from commercial development.

 

       Mr. Barineau told Commission members that in his opinion the current Land Use Plan doesn’t lend itself well to residential development for this tract of land and that it stymies property owners in what they can do with their land.

 

       Planning Director Harkrader stated that staff recommends denial of the request for rezoning.  He explained that during the Land Use Planning process, a higher density residential use was proposed for the tract; however, there has been pressure for commercial development, and it is questionable whether Rural Retreat Road could handle the traffic created by commercial development.  He further indicated that rezoning this tract commercial would create development pressures on the remaining quadrants for commercial zoning.  This could have an impact on Joe Davidson Park and other established residential properties in the area.

 

       Mr. Harkrader stated that staff also has questions about the proposed uses, such as auto sales, amusements and a drive-in restaurant which would not be conducive to that tract because of its shape, acreage and setback requirements.  He explained that there has been considerable pressure for commercial development – almost a frenzy in that area – and to rezone the property to allow commercial uses would not be fair to the people that live out there. 

 

       Mr. Harkrader stated that this request for rezoning could be a test to see if the City adheres to its Land Use Plan.  He reminded Commission members that they knew that there would be six or seven areas around the Western Loop that would present tough challenges, and this was one of the tracts.  The Land Use Plan calls for higher density development such as single-family condominiums or townhouses.

 

       Commission Member Ware questioned if it would have been viable for the property owners to have included their property when the adjacent property was rezoned to commercial.  He stated that he had the fear that Williams Mill Road could become a mini South Mebane Street and used as a cut-through to get to both shopping centers.  Mr. Ware commended the company on its design but voiced his concerns about noise.  He stated that he envisioned customers waiting to pick up drugs at the all-night pharmacy and customers in the restaurant parking lot with their speakers wide open listening to rap music.  He pointed out that all the neighbors knew the commercial development was coming; however, the neighborhood was devastated when the City buckled with regard to the Target Corporation, and thus commercialism has metastasized.

 

       Mr. Barineau pointed out that there would be a retaining wall between Target and the proposed Fire Mountain Restaurant.

 

       Commission Member Franks stated that probably 50 percent of the traffic from Interstate 85/40 would be headed for the shopping centers thus creating a traffic nightmare with the additional traffic from Joe Davidson Park.  He also pointed out that there would be numerous delivery trucks coming from the Interstate to the commercial development.

 

       Mr. Barineau admitted that traffic from Joe Davidson Park had not been taken into consideration; however, he pointed out that the drug store would not generate a lot of traffic and delivery trucks would make deliveries at the backs of the shops, pharmacy and restaurant.  He told the Commission that the company would abide by the traffic study analysis as well as any suggestions from NCDOT.

 

       Commission Member Johnson suggested that the developer be more specific about the proposed uses and possibly break down the terms “services” and “stores.”

 

      

 

 

       Mr. Barineau stated that it was ignorance on his part because he listed many of the uses allowed in the Zoning Ordinance for B-2 Districts and offered to amend the uses listed on the rezoning application.

 

       Commission Member Franks explained that the Commission must consider all the uses that were listed and take into consideration the fact that the shopping center could be sold in a few years and those uses would be allowed.

 

       Commission Member Cobb asked if some of the uses listed could be eliminated; he stated, however, that the Commission would be restricting the landowners from getting the most for their property.

 

       Planning Director Harkrader stated that while the Commission could not modify the uses, the petitioner could.

 

       Mr. Jacoby told the Commission that neighbors had numerous meetings the last few years concerning the commercial development and stated that the neighborhood should be extended every courtesy in order to make a profit if they so desired.  Co-existence between the residential area and commercial development could work, he stated.  The area to the rear offers the ideal, pristine location for the existing residential community while those tracts in front offer profitable and valuable sites for commercial development.

 

       Planning Director Harkrader told the Commission that 1.2 million square feet of commercial development has been approved by the City during the last 18 months within the immediate area of the Western Loop.  He urged Commission members to keep an eye on the bigger picture.

 

       Commission Member Millspaugh commended staff for its efforts.  He stated that the bottom line is that the Commission and City Council adopted the Land Use Plan after two years of meetings with neighbors, and the City should adhere to the Plan.  Someone is always going to end up across the street from commercial development, but that line has to be drawn somewhere to protect residential areas from commercial growth.  In conclusion, Mr. Millspaugh stated that the City should stick to the Plan.

 

       Commission Ware stated that he agrees with Mr. Millspaugh and that he said it all – someone is always going to end up next to commercial development.  However, there is enough land available so it doesn’t impact the residential community.

 

       Commission Chairman Byrd pointed out that the City is experiencing commercial growth, especially in the Western Loop area, and commended the neighbors for unifying and presenting the pros and cons of what they are experiencing including the increase of traffic and decrease of property values.  He stated that residents are telling the Commission that they support commercial growth but want to protect the residential community.

 

       Commission Member Hargrave stated that it was commendable that the neighbors were present and it is always important for the City to keep residents informed of what is going on in their neighborhoods.

 

       Commission Member Johnson pointed out that whatever in going on across the street does impact the adjacent area.


 

 

 

       Mr. Jacoby stated that in his opinion the development should go on; however, the Land Use Plan should be amended so that the 34 acres that he and his father-in-law own along Rural Retreat Road could be available for commercial development and the back property remain residential.  He stated that he thought it would work with the commercial on the front and residential on the back.

 

       Commission Member Millspaugh made a motion to recommend denial of the request for rezoning.  Richard Franks seconded the motion.  The Commission voted nine to one to recommend denial.  Voting to recommend denial of the request for rezoning were Millspaugh, Franks, Byrd, Cowan, Hargrave, Apple, Johnson, Piper and Ware.  Voting against the motion to recommend denial was Cobb.

 

 

       There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 8:25 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                                             ________________________________________

                                                                                            George A. Byrd, Jr.

 

 

 

 

                                                                             ________________________________________

                                                                                             James M. Burwell