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MINUTES OF THE BURLINGTON PLANNING

AND ZONING COMMISSION MEETING

 

April 24, 2006

 

Council Chamber, Burlington Municipal Building

 

 

CITY MEMBERS:                                                               EXTRATERRITORIAL MEMBERS:

 

George Byrd, Chairman, Present                   Bud Apple, Present

Paul Cobb, Secretary, Present                   John Enoch, Present

John Black, Present                   Richard Franks, Present

Lynn Cowan, Present                   Jim Johnson, Present

Elder Greg Hargrave, Present                   Ellis Piper, Absent

Gordon Millspaugh, Present                   Bob Ware, Present

 

STAFF PRESENT:

 

Robert R. Harkrader, Planning Director

Haywood Cloud, Zoning/Subdivision Administrator

Daniel Shoffner, Planner

Ray Rice, Inspections Director

Joey Lea, Code Enforcement Officer

Dianne Fogleman, Office Assistant

 

 

       ITEM NO. 1Chairman Byrd called the meeting to order at 7:01 p.m.

 

       ITEM NO. 2: Minutes of the meeting held March 27, 2006, were unanimously approved.  This was a City and extraterritorial item.

 

       ITEM NO. 3: Consent agenda:  (City)

 

(A)   Mr. Mark Reich, representing Windsor Investments, LLC, presented an application for final plat approval of the pool area and common elements for the Park Place Townhomes.  The property is located on the south side of Whitsett Park Road between Springwood Village Drive and Springwood Church Road as shown on plans by Alley, Williams, Carmen and King, Inc., dated April 7, 2006.

 

(B)   Mr. Greg Arrington, representing Keystone Group, Inc., presented an application for final plat approval of Phase One, Woods at Grove Park Townhomes.  The property is located north of South Mebane Street and east of Elderwood Drive as shown on plans by Simmons Engineering and Surveying, Inc., dated April 5, 2006, and containing 13 lots.

 

       Staff recommended approval of (A) and recommended approval of (B) 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) with the contingency outlined by staff.  Gordon Millspaugh seconded the motion.  The Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of (A) and recommended approval of (B) 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)

 

(C)   Mr. Jay Lowe with Carolina Cornerstone presented an application for final plat approval of the Jeffrey L. Wyrick Subdivision.  The property is located on the southwest corner of Pride Avenue and Melrose Drive as shown on plans by Carolina Cornerstone Surveying and Land Design dated March 29, 2006, and containing five lots.

 

(D)   Mr. Brent Seivers, representing Evergreen Construction Company, presented an application for final plat approval of the Auburn Springs and Auburn Trace Subdivisions.  The property is located on the south side of Crouse Lane approximately 360 feet east of Kirkpatrick Road as shown on plans by Fleming Engineering, Inc., dated January 5, 2006, and containing three lots.

 

(E)   Mr. Mark Reich, representing Sandler at Wakefield, LLC, presented an application for final plat approval for the street right-of-way dedication and redivision of the Naomi W. Schmidt property (Mackintosh East).  The property is located on the southwest corner of Danbrook Road and proposed extension of Bonnar Bridge Parkway as shown on plans by Alley, Williams, Carmen and King, Inc., dated March 22, 2006, and containing one lot.

 

(F)   Mr. Mark Reich, representing Wakefield Development Company, presented an application for final plat approval for the street right-of-way dedication and subdivision of the proposed Bonnar Bridge Parkway.  The property is located south of Interstate 85/40 and west of University Drive as shown on plans by Alley, Williams, Carmen and King, Inc., dated March 22, 2006, and containing three lots (Parcels O, R and S).

 

(G)   Mr. Mark Reich presented an application for final plat approval for the street right-of-way dedication of the proposed Bonnar Bridge Parkway and the subdivision of the John A. Moody property.  The property is located south of Interstate 85/40 and west of University Drive as shown on plans by Alley, Williams, Carmen and King, Inc., dated March 22, 2006, and containing three lots.

 

(H)   Ms. Christa Fowler with Collins/Goodman Development Company was scheduled to present an application for final plat approval of the street right-of-way and easement dedication for the Burlington Station Development.  The property is located at the southwest intersection of Rural Retreat Road and University Drive as shown on plans by Freeland and Associates, Inc., dated April 4, 2006, and containing two lots.

 

       No one attended the meeting to represent (H).  Commission Member Franks made a motion to table (H) until the end of the meeting to see if someone arrived to present the item.  Paul Cobb seconded the motion.  The Commission voted unanimously to table the item until the end of the meeting.

 

       At the end of the meeting, no one arrived to represent (H).  Planning Director Harkrader stated that the plat was in order and the Commission could consider the item or table it until the next meeting.  Commission Member Ware made a motion to recommend approval of (H).  Richard Franks seconded the motion.  The Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of (H).

 

       Staff recommended approval of (C) and recommended approval of (D) contingent upon completion of street construction or the applicant posting proper surety with the City Engineering Department prior to recording the plat.  Staff also recommended approval of (E), (F) and (G) contingent upon the developers posting proper surety with the City of Burlington for completion of construction prior to recording the plat.  The amount of surety will be determined by the Engineering Department.

 

       Commission Member Millspaugh made a motion to recommend approval of (C) and recommended approval of (D) with the contingency outlined by staff.  He also recommended approval of (E), (F) and (G) with the contingency presented by staff. John Enoch seconded the motion. 

 

       The Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of (C) and recommended approval of (D) contingent upon completion of street construction or the applicant posting proper surety with the City Engineering Department prior to recording the plat.  The Commission also unanimously recommended approval of (E), (F) and (G) contingent upon the developers posting proper surety with the City of Burlington for completion of construction prior to recording the plat.  The amount of surety will be determined by the Engineering Department.

 

       ITEM NO. 4: Mr. Kenneth Dickey presented an application to rezone from MF-A, Multifamily District, to B-2, General Business District, the property located on the west side of South Cobb Avenue (249 South Cobb Avenue) approximately 560 feet south of North Church Street as shown on Alamance County Tax Map 141-569-58.

 

       This was a City item.

 

       Planning Director Harkrader stated that Mr. Dickey also owns adjoining property and that the applicant had talked to neighbors who had no problems with the request for rezoning.  Mr. Harkrader stated that staff recommended approval of the request for rezoning on the basis that it would be an appropriate extension of existing commercial zoning in the area.

 

       Commission Member Cobb made a motion to recommend approval of the request for rezoning.  Lynn Cowan 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.  The Commission recommended that the official zoning map and the Comprehensive Land Use Plan be amended to reflect the change.

 

       ITEM NO. 5: Mr. Mark Reich, representing Fuji Foods, Inc., presented an application to rezone from I-1, Planned Industrial District, to CMX-R, Conditional Mixed Use Residential District, to allow for the construction of a single-family home development and clubhouse, fitness center and swimming pool.  The property is located on the north side of Old Glencoe Road approximately 2,000 feet west of NC Highway 62 North as shown on Alamance County Tax Map 12-50-26. 

 

       This was an extraterritorial item.

 

       Mr. Reich introduced Mr. David Johnston with Landex Corporation, developers of the proposed subdivision.  Mr. Johnston stated that Landex had been in business for 23 years with projects from Florida to New Jersey.  He outlined various Landex single-family and condominium developments in Durham, High Point and Winston-Salem.

 

       Mr. Johnston stated that the proposed 130-acre project would be located along the Haw River across from Indian Valley Golf Course and the Glencoe Mill Village.  He stated that he had contacted Preservation North Carolina (PNC) and homeowners in Glencoe Mill Village as well as property owners adjoining the proposed subdivision regarding the project.

 

       Mr. Johnston told Commission members that plans are to preserve many of the natural amenities, and after discussions with staff and Preservation North Carolina representatives, setbacks along the river would be 500 feet versus the 200-foot requirement.   He stated that the company hopes that the Mountains to Sea Trail would be located parallel to the river. Five-foot wide concrete sidewalks as well as nature tails would be located throughout the development.

 

       Mr. Johnston stated that the site would have 362 lots averaging three lots per acre.  The development would have approximately 43 acres in green area.  The 110-foot deep lots would back up to wooded areas and/or green space.

 

       Commission Member Cobb asked who would own the green areas.  Mr. Johnston stated that there would eventually be a homeowners’ association.

 

       Commission Member Black asked if there would be two entrances into the subdivision, and Mr. Johnston stated that there would be two entrances off Old Glencoe Road.  Mr. Johnston stated a traffic study recommended that there be turn lanes on Old Glencoe Road as well as at the intersection of Old Glencoe Road and NC Highway 62 North, which the company had agreed to.

 

       Commission Member Cobb asked the prices of the homes, and Mr. Johnston stated that they would probably range from $150,000 to $200,000.

 

       Commission Chairman Byrd inquired about the square footage of the lots, and Mr. Johnston stated that they would range from 6,600 to 7,600 square feet and 60 to 70 feet wide.

 

       Commission Member Johnson stated that lot sizes would be similar to those in R-6 or R-9 zoning.

 

       Planning Director Harkrader stated that with approximately three units per acre, this would be more like lots in R-12 zoning. 

 

       Commission Member Cowan, project manager at Glencoe Mill Village, explained that some of the green space could be used as building lots; however, the developers, upon recommendation by staff and PNC, scaled back the number of lots from 400 to 362.

 

       Commission Chairman Byrd asked what size would the homes be, and Mr. Johnston stated from 1,600 to 2,000 square feet.

 

       Commission Member Franks asked what school district is the development located and was told Altamahaw-Ossipee Elementary, Western Middle and Western High School.

 

       Mr. Tim Kennedy stated that his brother owns property near the proposed development and asked if surrounding neighbors would have access to the green space.

 

       Mr. Johnston stated that the nature trails would be open to the public.

 

       Commission Member Millspaugh asked if the project were approved, when would construction begin.  Mr. Johnston stated that home construction would probably begin in a year.

 

       Commission Member Franks noted that around 25 lots back up to Industrial zoned property and asked if there would be some type of buffer separating the two.

 

       Mr. Johnston stated that the building on the Industrial lot is barely visible from the residential development.  Planning Director Harkrader stated that there is a 50-foot buffer requirement in I-1 zoning, which should be sufficient.

 

       Commission Chairman Byrd asked if staff had received any calls from property owners concerned about the subdivision.  Planning Director stated that staff had not and pointed out that Mr. Johnston met with a lot of the property owners in Glencoe Village to discuss the proposed development.

 

       Staff recommended approval of the request for rezoning with the use and development conditions submitted by the petitioner.  Planning Director Harkrader stated that staff originally had concerns since the City would be losing some of its industrial zoning; however, it would be difficult for the back portion of this property to be developed industrial, and therefore, residential would be the best use.  Mr. Harkrader also pointed out that approximately 40 acres would remain zoned Industrial.

 

       Commission Member Franks made a motion to recommend approval of the request for rezoning with the use and development conditions submitted by the petitioner.  John Enoch seconded the motion.  The Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the request for rezoning and recommended that the official zoning map and the Comprehensive Land Use Plan be amended to reflect the change.  The following use and development conditions have been submitted by the petitioner:

 

Use Conditions

 

1.  Approximately 130 acres to be rezoned to Conditional Mixed Use Residential District for single-family residential development.

 

2.  Clubhouse will include a fitness center and pool.

 

Development Conditions

 

1.    At a minimum, the dimensional lot requirements and setbacks will adhere to R-6 zoning regulations.

 

2.    Typical lot size and number of lots, trail and sidewalk locations, signage and open space are shown on a submitted Zoning Sketch Plan.

 

3.    Density shall be less than three units per acre.

 

4.    Utility plan shall be approved by the City.

 

5.    Off-site traffic and roadway improvements shall be approved by the City of Burlington.

 

       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. 6: Mrs. Greg Collier presented an application to rezone from R-15, Residential District, to CR, Conditional Residential District, to allow for a single-family home and/or a duplex.  The property is located on the south side of West Front Street (508 West Front Street) approximately 185 feet east of Tarpley Street as shown on Alamance County Tax Map 22-76-116.

 

       This was a City item.

 

       Planning Director Harkrader distributed to Commission members copies of a memorandum from Ms. Belinda Ann Thomas, 512 West Front Street, addressed to Commission members regarding Mr. and Mrs. Collier’s rezoning request.  Ms. Thomas stated that the Colliers “have worked tirelessly on their home and have run into nothing but one problem after another, the biggest being a major fire to their home.”    She stated in the memo that the Colliers plan to live in the lower level of the home and rent the upper and that she had no problem with this.  Ms. Thomas pointed out that the couple has improved the exterior of the home and the seven-foot addition to the back of the house will “bring the dwelling up to a better level.”

 

       Mrs. Collier explained to the Commission that her husband could not attend the meeting because of job training out of town.  She stated that the home had been a duplex since the 1970’s, and when they acquired a building permit in November 2004, no one asked if the structure was single-family or a duplex and this information was not requested on the building permit form.  In 2005, she and her husband decided to square off the back portion and expand the kitchen.  Before they undertook this project, the couple read the Design Review Manual since the home is located within the Burlington Historic District and consulted with the Historic Commission, which did not advise them to check City regulations regarding the addition.

 

       Mrs. Collier stated that in October or November 2005, the foundation for the addition was completed and they received electrical and plumbing permits.  In March 2006, following an on-site inspection by a City Building Inspector, the couple was informed that they had violated a zoning restriction by adding onto a non-conforming structure.

 

       Mrs. Collier stated that it was not their intention of violating any regulations and that it would be a financial burden to tear down the foundation.  She told Commission members that they were told that if they did tear down the foundation, the home would still remain a duplex, but in order for them to expand the footprint of the home, they would be required to rezone it for a duplex.  Mrs. Collier told the Commission that if they would recommend approval of the rezoning, when they sold the home, they would sell it as a single-family residence.  She offered this as an addition to the conditions on the rezoning application.

 

       Mrs. Helen Walton, Chairman of the Burlington Historic Preservation Commission, stated that the Colliers did come before the Commission but there was never a discussion about the structure being single-family or a duplex.  She stated that the Commission had worked with Planning staff for 15 years to get that area rezoned from R-9, which permitted boarding houses, to a more restrictive R-15 zoning.  She stated that at one time, there were eight homes in that area operating as duplexes; since the rezoning, three have reverted to single-family residences.  She maintained that at one time the structure was considered a house of prostitution; then the Harpers purchased the home in order to control who lived in it.

 

       Mrs. Walton stated that the Historic Commission was not concerned with interior renovations; it is more concerned about absentee landlords.

 

       Mr. Tim Kennedy stated that he was acquainted with Tara and Greg Collier and that they had put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into renovating the home.  He also pointed out that restoring a historical home is expensive.  He also stated that Mr. Collier is an ex-Marine.

 

       Ms. Sharon Roderick, 504 West Front Street, stated that she lives next door to the Colliers and thinks that they would be an asset to the neighborhood.  She stated that the couple was doing a good job in the restoration.  In order to protect the district as well as homeowners, Ms. Roderick suggested that homes in the district become owner/occupant only – in other words, if you own a home in the district you must live in it and not rent it out.

 

       Commission Chairman Byrd stated that would be a legal issue, and the Commission was not in a position to deal with it.

 

       Planning Director Harkrader introduced City staff, Mr. Ray Rice, Inspections Director, and Mr. Joey Lea, Code Enforcement Officer.  Mr. Harkrader stated that the Collier’s rezoning request has been prompted by extenuating circumstances – the first and main being the fire that destroyed a portion of the back of their home before the couple moved in.  He stated that staff had determined that another meter was placed on the property in the 1970’s allowing it to become a duplex – a legal non-conforming use.  After the fire destroyed the rear portion, the couple decided to rebuild and enlarge the kitchen, thus expanding on the original footprint.  However, the only way they could expand is to rezone the property.  He pointed out that the Colliers could have rebuilt on the same footprint and continue to have a duplex with the zoning remaining the same.  Or, the couple could have the new foundation torn out and return the home to its previous footprint.  Mr. Harkrader stated that the extenuating circumstances warrant giving this application serious consideration.

 

       Commission Chairman Byrd commended Mrs. Collier for adding the condition that they would sell the home as a single-family residence when they sold the property in the future.  He stated that it appears that the couple has been trying to do the right thing and has had to jump though a lot of hoops.

 

       Commission Member Cowan stated that she had concerns that the couple could leave the area and rent both the bottom level and second story.

 

       Commission Member Black asked Mrs. Collier if they had intentions of leaving the area in a year or two and asked if Belinda Thomas, who had written the memo favoring the rezoning, had any idea that the couple may not be staying around except for a year or two.

 

       Mrs. Collier stated that she did not know their plans for the future and that they may have to leave the area because of family or professional reasons.

 

       Commission Member Hargrave asked staff how extensive would the process be to revert to a single-family residence.

 

       Inspections Director Rice stated that there are two electrical panels, two water meters and two gas meters currently at the home and it would probably be more extensive converting the electrical panel.  He stated that he had no idea what the cost would be but estimated approximately $5,000.

 

       Elder Hargrave asked if any demolition or construction of walls would be necessary if converted to a single-family home and was told that would not be warranted.

 

       Commission Member Cobb asked if he understood correctly from Mrs. Collier that if they moved, the home would be reverted to a single-family residence, and Mrs. Collier affirmed this condition.

 

       Commission Member Cowan questioned how this option would be enforced.

 

       Planning Director Harkrader stated that if and when this property was conveyed, it would revert to single-family.

 

       Mrs. Collier stated that she had investigated this and that they would be liable if they listed the home as something other than a single-family dwelling.

 

       Ms. Cowan commented that she thought this would be creating a mess and a situation that could not be easily enforced.

 

       Commission Member Millspaugh noted that this would be compatible with issuing a Special Use Permit for a property.

 

       Commission Member Cobb clarified that if the couple demolished the addition, the dwelling could continue to be utilized as a duplex.  He asked Mrs. Collier if they would stipulate that as long as the dwelling is owner-occupied it would remain as a duplex but if they moved and continued to own it, the dwelling would convert to a single-family residence.

 

       Mrs. Collier stated that she could not commit to that.

 

       Commission Member Millspaugh commented that the Historic District Commission had concerns with absentee landlords and who is living in the duplex.

 

       Commission Member Franks asked if there were other duplexes in the area and was told there were.

 

       Planning Director Harkrader explained again that the dwelling was a duplex when the Colliers purchased it and the problem has arisen because the couple expanded the footprint of the home by adding the addition in the back.  He reiterated that the couple is making an attempt to salvage their renovation efforts by offering an additional condition that if and when they sold the home, they would market it as a single-family residence.

 

       Commission Member Enoch commended Mrs. Collier on their improvement efforts and stated that this should account for something.

 

       Someone in the audience commented that the couple was reimbursed for the fire damage from the insurance company, and Mrs. Collier stated that the insurance should not be a part of this rezoning request.

 

       Commission Member Franks pointed out that the Colliers could demolish what has been done on the addition and rent the upstairs to whomever they wanted to.

 

       Commission Member Ware asked staff to define a single-family residence.

 

       Planning Director Harkrader stated that a single-family home would have one electrical panel, one gas meter and one water meter.

 

       Mr. Ware commented that the couple could rent the upstairs to a family member and that they could do other things that would be more harmful to the neighborhood than renting out the duplex.

 

       Mr. Jerry Baumgarner, 703 West Davis Street, stated that it was his understanding that if a non-conforming structure were vacated for six months, it would revert to its original use.

 

       Code Enforcement Officer Lea stated that if a non-conforming structure was abandoned or if the use was discontinued for 18 months, the structure would covert to its original use.  However, a non-conforming structure could be on the market for two years and the use would remain valid.

 

       Ms. Sharon Roderick, the Colliers’ adjoining neighbor, stated that she checked and the home at 508 West Front Street was being marketed as a duplex when the Colliers purchased the property.

 

       Mr. Baumgarner asked Commission members if they approved this request for rezoning could they say “no” when another property owner in six months came before them with a similar request.

 

       Planning Director Harkrader reiterated that these were very extenuating circumstances and felt that the City should do the right thing in this situation.  He stated that every rezoning request would be considered individually.

 

       Commission Chairman Byrd stated that the Colliers had: (1) offered to comply with restrictions already in existence; and (2) added the condition that when they sold the property it would be marketed as a single-family residence.

 

       Commission Member Cobb asked what type of agreement has been made in case the couple moves out but continues to own the property.

 

       Mrs. Collier stated that it was stipulated when they got a VA loan for the property, it would be the couple’s primary residence.  She commented that she had no idea what the future would bring – financially or otherwise.

 

       Ms. Anne Morrison, a member of the Burlington Historic Commission, stated that she had been in the real estate profession for 36 years and questioned if sellers have the right to determine how their property will be sold.

 

       Mr. Tim Kennedy, a friend of the Colliers, commented that since Greg Collier is an ex-Marine he could be called back into duty and Mrs. Collier may desire to move back home to be closer with her family.

 

       Staff recommended approval of the request for rezoning with the use conditions submitted by the petitioner with the application and the additional condition that when the dwelling is sold, it would be marketed as a single-family residence.

 

       Commission Member Millspaugh made a motion to recommend approval of the request for rezoning with the use conditions submitted by the petitioner and the additional condition.  Paul Cobb seconded the motion.  The Commission voted four to two to recommend approval of the request for rezoning with the additional condition offered by the petitioners. Voting to recommend approval were Millspaugh, Cobb, Byrd and Hargrave.  Voting against the motion to recommend approval were Cowan and Black. In addition, the Commission voted four to two

 

 

 

 

 

to recommend that the official zoning map and the Comprehensive Land Use Plan be amended to reflect the change. The following use conditions have been submitted by the petitioner:

 

Use Conditions

 

Existing structure to be used as a single-family home and/or a duplex.

 

When Tara M. and Gregory A. Collier place the residence located at 508 West Front Street on the market for sale, the home will be marketed as a single-family residence.

 

       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. 7: Staff presented an application to rezone from I-3, Heavy Industrial District, to B-3, Central Business District, the six properties in a block surrounded by North Main Street, Trade Street, North Worth Street and Market Street and being as shown on Alamance County Tax Map 010-24, Lots 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 7.

 

       This was a City item.

 

       Planning Director Harkrader stated that I-3 was the most permissive zoning, and staff had been approached to allow the location of a church in one of the buildings, which would not be permissible in I-3 zoning.  He told Commission members that staff had contacted the property owners, and they had no problem with rezoning the lots to business.  He stated that staff recommended approval of the rezoning.

 

       Commission Member Cobb made a motion to recommend approval of the request for rezoning.  Gordon Millspaugh 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.  The Commission recommended that the official zoning map and the Comprehensive Land Use Plan be amended to reflect the change.

 

 

       There being no further business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned at 8:23 p.m.

 

 

 

 

              ________________________________________

                          George A. Byrd, Jr., Chairman

 

 

 

 

              ________________________________________

                           Paul E. Cobb, Jr., Secretary