Locust approves Brentwood, Taylor Morrison, Kolter projects

A February public hearing on a rezoning request by Brentwood Farms Drive resident Scott Carpenter drew considerable public comment and scrutiny, leading Locust City Council members to postpone a vote until a number of issues raised by neighboring residents during the hearing were addressed.

The March 14 meeting, during which the delayed vote was scheduled to be taken, once again drew a full house to Locust City Hall.

Following conversations with concerned residents, a revised rezoning report was developed and delivered to council members, and included a number of revised site-specific conditions, which were addressed by Locust City Manager Cesar Correa.

These include the following major points:

• No permanent signage will be permitted in advertising or marketing the venue;

• Gathering types permitted include (but are not limited to), wedding receptions, bridal showers, parties, family reunions, graduation parties, proms or dance type events, political rallies and fundraisers, ministry partnerships with local churches, and seasonal celebrations such as hayrides or pumpkin patches;

• Gatherings are limited to spring and fall seasons, with a maximum of 16 events per calendar year (excluding family events by the owners and ministry partnerships with local churches);

• For gatherings other than family events and ministry partnerships, the person contracting the facility will be required to coordinate with the Locust Police Department for off-duty officers to assist in traffic control;

• Caterers may serve beer and wine, but no liquor;

• Events must conclude by 10 p.m.; and

• No alterations (such as weather enclosures) may be made to the facility.

Seventeen citizens spoke, all of whom expressed support for the rezoning with the noted conditions, and most expressed appreciation to Scott Carpenter for his willingness to address the public’s concerns.

“Scott did everything he said he would do,” Brentwood Drive resident David Grigg Jr. said. “We are satisfied.”

Kelton Carpenter of Brentwood Farms Drive expressed his support, since the development would preserve open space.

“I’m an outdoorsman, and this will keep 40 acres untouched,” he said. “I’ve got my heart and soul in this.”
Cresta Nicola of Brentwood Drive said, “I love the neighborhood, and I think this will be a good thing for Locust.”

One point of concern was expressed by Russell Lavoie of Brentwood, although he applauded Carpenter for his efforts in addressing the neighbors’ concerns.

“The only hesitation I have is the amount of traffic this will bring in,” he said. “What is the city’s plan to address this?”

Following the public comments, Councilman Barry Sims addressed concerns with the procedure followed.

“I thank Scott for doing what he said he would do, and I applaud all who showed up to speak tonight,” he said, “however, the procedural order for doing this was wrong. Since I’m a stickler for correct procedure, I’m going to have to vote against it for that reason.”

Following discussion by council members, the board voted 4-1 to approve the rezoning. (Councilman Roger Hypes and Mayor Steve Huber were absent from the meeting.)

A conditional rezoning request by Alan Kerley of Taylor Morrison Homes, which had been held over following a December public hearing to allow additional time to obtain an easement necessary to provide secondary access to the site, was approved unanimously by Council.

The approval converted a 19.55-acre tract just south of N.C. Highway 24-27 from Neighborhood Residential to City Center, and consists of 86 single-family homes.

“The developer intends to develop multi-family dwellings, which is a conditional use in the City Center zoning district, and has agreed to site-specific conditions (outlined in a memorandum of understanding) for the development of this project,” stated Correa in a letter to council members explaining the proposal.

A similar request by Kolter Group Acquisitions was also unanimously approved for the Cresswinds at Rocky River project. The development will consist of an age restricted (55-plus) active retirement community covering 516.5 acres and consisting of 1,123 units. It will be just west of the intersection of Bethel Church and Coley Store roads.

In the information provided to council members, Correa stated, “The proposed development is inconsistent with the 2014 Land Use Plan, however, the amendment is reasonable because (it) is expected to generate sustainable residential development, without an impact to the Stanly County School System (and will provide) a significant impact to the local economy. The Land Use Plan will also have to be amended to reflect High Density Residential for the parcels seeking conditional rezoning,”

In other business, the council:

• Approved a contact with Strickland Hardee PLLC of Lexington to conduct the city’s 2024 financial audit.

• Approved a capital project ordinance for the city’s North Basin Sewer Project.

• Approved an agreement with Stanly County for service support for the city’s Motorola APX series radios.

• Approved eight purchase order requests and budget amendments totaling $12,485 from increased revenue gained from interest income.

The next meeting of the Locust City Council will take place at 7 p.m. April 11.

Toby Thorpe is a freelance writer for The Stanly News & Press.