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Stanfield zoning request removed from commissioners’ agenda; public speaks out against request

Stanfield residents made their feelings known about a rezoning request at Monday’s meeting of the county’s Board of Commissioners.

Before the public comments portion of the meeting, commissioners voted to remove a rezoning request item from the agenda on a motion from vice chairman Tommy Jordan.

According to County Manager Andy Lucas, the item was removed because the request for rezoning by Burleson Square LLC was withdrawn.

The original request was for 40.14 acres of land on the Northwest corner of River Road and Renee Ford Road be rezoned from Residential Agricultural to R20 Residential. The rezoning would have allowed the company to build smaller lot sizes.

The minutes of the Feb. 15 meeting of the county’s Planning and Zoning Board showed comments from neighbors of the property expressing their concerns. Increased density, traffic and septic systems’ effects on the area’s water supply were listed as people’s concerns.

Burleson Square LLC, owned by former Stanly commissioner Joseph Burleson, made the rezoning request.

A memo to the county commissioners from the Planning Board Chairman John Eckman said the planning board’s recommendation was to deny the request. The memo stated the planning board had made a similar recommendation regarding a similar project, the Gibson (Stanfield Valley) parcel, which is across the road from the 41-acre parcel.

“The Commissioners had decided that R-20 would be acceptable for that parcel,” the memo read referring to the Gibson parcel. “The Gibson rezoning may have set a precedent for others, including Burleson Square, to request the same zoning classification.”

In the public comments period, Rhonda Benton referred to a recent meeting of the Stanfield Town Commissioners regarding a similar request.

“We were basically told it didn’t matter what the community wanted, (the council) did what they wanted to do for their hunting buddy,” Benton said. “It’s definitely not the kind of growth Stanfield wants. We don’t have the resources for this high-density community.”

Stanfield resident Ken Tucker asked if there are any ramifications for someone withdrawing a rezoning request.

Planning Director Bob Remsburg said counties may charge an application fee established by commissioners in the annual budget. The fee depends on the number of properties to be rezoned, along with the amount of preparation and work estimated by the county.

Any rezoning request formally denied by commissioners can not be refiled for one year unless “something substantially changes about the project.” If that happens, which is up to the planning board, the board can rehear the request in six months and another two months to get before the county commissioners.

“They can’t just keep coming back every time,” Remsberg said.

If someone asks for the request to be withdrawn, he added, that person could ask for the request to be put back on the agenda at a later date. Staff would send out letters and put up signs again if that happened.

When asked about what would be a significant change, Remsberg said the request would have to change in nature. As an example, if a property were to change to a different type of zone, such as apartments or commercial property.

Kelly Hart, as she had at the February meeting of the planning board, presented a petition to county commissioners signed by herself and neighbors against the request.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

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