Red Cross planners discuss rezoning of land owned by Pfeiffer

Published 9:49 am Thursday, March 9, 2023

A 50-acre tract of land owned by Pfeiffer University in the Red Cross area became the subject of a possible rezoning by the town’s planning board Tuesday.

Red Cross Town Councilman Andrew Smith, who is also a representative to the planning board, said one of his priorities is to maintain “our rural quality of life.” He said it was in the town’s interest to rezone the property from business to residential/agricultural (R/A).

At the February meeting of the planning board, a recommendation was passed 5-0 to change the text of the R/A zone to have a 100,000-square-foot minimum and to create an R-40 zone with a minimum size of 40,00 square feet.

“I do believe that is something that our citizens are very interested in, which is evident here tonight,” Smith said to the onlookers in a filled Town Hall.

Pfeiffer President Scott Bullard was among the citizens in the crowd. He asked why the university had not been notified of the rezoning item being on the agenda.

Smith said he recommended it “earlier this week,” adding the planning board was just discussing the matter and may send its recommendation to council. From that point, he added, a public hearing would have to take place before it is rezoned.

The previous owner, Jordan Land Company, Bullard said, was getting notifications about meetings.

“This happens over and over,” Bullard said. “Pfeiffer would like fair notification and a fair amount of time to present the citizens of the area with a plan that makes life better for the citizens and the university.

“There were other developers that wanted ownership of that property,” he added.

Pfeiffer is going through an on-campus accreditation process, Bullard said.

After the examination, the school will be “authoring a strategic plan” for the land, he said.

“I’m sure we will sit down this summer and do that. We ask you for some time. We are not going to do anything rash,” Bullard said.

Planning board chairman Lionel Hahn said communication “does need to be better.”

“I’ve complained about that from day one coming back and getting involved, to notify citizens and people involved in any situation to be notified in advance.”

Smith said he believed everyone in the town hall is “all cheering for Pfeiffer” and thankful to have the school in the county. However, he added, “we have to make sure that land in our town is zoned appropriately for the highest quality of life for our citizens. We hope we can continue to work together to make sure we are both satisfied.”

When Hahn asked for a favorable or unfavorable recommendation for the town council, planning board members Thelma Tomberlin and Tina Eudy did not make a motion. Hahn said the board “would have to postpone any further action on that.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio has served as the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press for more than 16 years and has written numerous news and feature storeis as well. 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 won an award from Boone Newspapers, and has won four North Carolina Press Association awards.

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