Red Cross adopts development moratorium

Published 9:21 am Tuesday, April 11, 2023

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At its Monday evening meeting, members of the Red Cross Town Council voted to adopt a two-year moratorium on major housing development (development projects of more than three houses on a parcel) within the town limits.

The delay was approved, according to the motion, “to give the council time to review the current land use development plan and to ensure that infrastructure is in place.”

In discussing the motion, Councilman Andrew Smith noted that Oakboro had recently adopted a three-year moratorium for similar reasons.

“The county utilities department is booked up with requests for now,” said Smith, who stated that such a freeze on development would allow time for the backlog of requests to be completed.

Councilman Melvin Poole expressed concerns with a moratorium that would extend beyond the current council terms.

“We don’t want to tie the hands of future councils,” Poole said, suggesting that a two-year moratorium would be a more appropriate measure.

“I’m okay with that,” replied Smith, adding, “the council can always reconsider the matter after that time.”

The moratorium was approved by a unanimous 3-0 vote. (Councilwoman Lisa Lowder was absent from the meeting.)

Previously, the council had voted to withdraw its approval of the Red Cross Town Center Master Plan until another acceptable plan could be introduced.

Smith, who said that in his discussions with town citizens he had found “no one” in favor of the plan, suggested that the motion’s original wording, which recommended that the plan be “tabled” or “shelved,” be changed to “withdrawn.”

Mayor Kelly Brattain noted that because water and sewer for such development would not be available before 2025, he would be “in favor or laying the master plan aside” until then.

“I’ll leave this up to the council,” he said.

“If we kill it, another council could resurrect it,” added Poole.

Councilwoman Trina Plowman expressed concerns with the plan being withdrawn.

“When this plan was formed, the company doing it took many people’s opinions and formed three different versions of the plan,” she said, with the council at that time deciding on one of the three.

“The plan was put together in a way to offer a little bit of something for everybody,” she added.

Smith countered with survey results from the 2020-2040 Land Use Plan, showing public opinion heavily in favor of “preserving the rural character” of the Red Cross community.

“The current (Town Center) plan does away with this,” he added, before tendering a motion to withdraw approval of the plan, which was seconded by Poole.

Members voted 2-1 in favor of the motion, with Plowman opposed.

The council also administered the oath of office to Jenn D’Amore, Wendell Copeland, and Kristi Thompson as the three new members of the town’s planning and zoning board.

The council’s next meeting will be at 7 p.m. May 8.