Albemarle City Council rejects rezoning request

Published 9:37 am Tuesday, December 5, 2023

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Following a public hearing about rezoning a 113-acre parcel on the east side of U.S. Highway 52 north of Carter Road, Albemarle City Council voted to deny approval of the request.

Progressive Land Company, LLC filed the request, which would have resulted in rezoning of the parcel from HID (Heavy Industrial) to R-10 (General Residential).

On Nov. 2, the Albemarle Planning Board voted unanimously to recommend the rezoning, contingent upon an amendment to the future land use plan.

Planning and Development Services Director Kevin Robinson noted the current zoning of the tract took place in the late 1990s/early 2000s with the intent of an industrial park (“For Stanly”) being located there, but it subsequently failed to attract clients.

“While it is a goal of the city to maintain lands suitable for industrial development, the lack of interest in this site in the 20-plus years since it was brought into the city likely indicates that industry may be better suited in other areas,” he said.

Inconsistencies with the current plan were also acknowledged by the Planning and Development Services staff in analysis of the application, but some potential positives from rezoning and amending the land use plan were also noted.

“Staff does not find the proposed use to be consistent with the city’s future land use plan, however, given the proposed zoning, the parcel’s proposed use, adjacent uses and lack of development as defined in the existing future land use plan, there are merits to consider the proposed rezoning as consistent with an amendment to the city’s future land use plan,” read Robinson in summarizing the staff’s recommendations.

Questions as to housing density and utility services to homes on the parcel were raised by Councilmen Chris Bramlett and Bill Aldridge.

“If (the property is) turned into residential, what density would result with the R-10 zoning?” asked Bramlett.

Aldridge asked, “Does the Pfeiffer-North Stanly Water Association (which would provide water to the site) have sufficient capacity to service such a development?”

Two residents spoke in opposition to the rezoning request, citing similar concerns.

“We don’t want this development, and we don’t need it,” said Danny Buchanan, who cited fire, police, first responder services and schools in the area as potentially being overwhelmed, adding that a similar development of 400-plus homes is being planned on nearby property.
Buchanan said the applicant had made no inquiry as to water service capacity to the Pfeiffer-North Stanly Water Association.

Jody Cook, a resident of Timber Ridge Lane, expressed concerns with traffic along Carter Road in addition to utility, fire and police services.

“I have a child who has just gotten his permit,” Cook said, “and he would be driving down Carter Road. Traffic is enough there now as it is. I don’t want to see any extra traffic.”

Cook added that he had spoken with a representative of Pfeiffer-North Stanly Water Association on Monday morning.

“(The developer) has yet to contact them about even providing the water to them for this development, or if they even have the capacity to do it,” he said.

After closure of the public hearing, Aldridge moved, seconded by Councilman Benton Dry, to deny the request. The motion passed 5-2, with Councilmen Dexter Townsend and Chris Whitley in favor of the rezoning.

In other business:

● Following a public hearing, Council unanimously approved text amendments to Chapter 93 of the City Code of Ordinances (Flood Damage Protection) in order to bring the code into compliance with state regulations.

● Council discussed permitting golf cart use on city streets. This matter had come before the council in 2017, but no action was taken after a public hearing generated little feedback.

Townsend moved, seconded by Dry, to request the police department to research ordinances from other municipalities who allow golf cart usage. The motion passed 6-1, with Bramlett dissenting.

● Pastor Clint Lewey of Friendship Baptist Church in Stanfield expressed disappointment with the council’s failure to approve Ordinance 23-25, which would have defined and limited attendance at drag show events to those 18 and older.

● A closed session was conducted to consult with the city attorney.

The next meeting of Albemarle City Council will take place at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 18.