05/17/09 — Keen land request on commissioners' agenda for Tuesday

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Keen land request on commissioners' agenda for Tuesday

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 17, 2009 2:00 AM

Rezoning requests, including one from a fellow board member, will come before county commissioners when they meet Tuesday morning.

In related planning issues, the board could take action on an earlier request to rename Moye Road to New Daniels Church Road and take up a request for a zoning variance.

Commissioners will hold a briefing session at 8 a.m. followed by the board meeting at 9 a.m. in their boardroom on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex.

The Planning Board at its meeting last week recommended approval for rezoning requests by Commissioner Steve Keen, who is also a member of the Planning Board, and Jim Daniels of Daniels Development.

The zoning variance sought by the Campaign for Migrant Workers Justice failed by a 3-3 vote and comes before the board without any recommendation.

Keen and Planning Board Chairman Chris Cox, who is marketing the property for Keen, recused themselves at last week's meeting.

No action on either rezoning request can be taken until a public hearing is held. Those hearings could be scheduled by commissioners on Tuesday.

Unlike the Daniels' request, which received unanimous support, Keen's passed by a 3-1 decision.

Keen has petitioned the county to rezone roughly 70 acres fronting U.S. 70 on the south side of the highway near Wal-Mart in the Rosewood community and 1,000 feet east of N.C. 581. It is currently is zoned RA-20 for residential and agricultural use.

Keen asked that the front 51 acres be zoned community shopping and the back 19 acres Residential-15 in order to build 48 single-family units in a cluster-housing pattern.

Changing from RA-20 to RA-15 would allow lots of 15,000 square feet as opposed to 20,000 square feet.

Daniels is asking for similar commercial zoning on N.C. 111 south near Ditch Bank Road, where he plans to build an office and equipment yard.

County planning staff recommended the Daniels request. However, only a portion of Keen's was recommended.

County Planning Director Connie Price recommended that the Planning Board approve Keen's request for the residential portion of his project, but not the commercial side.

Price said that portion complied with 16 points in the county's comprehensive land use plan, but failed to meet eight others.

The main objection was the county's lack of adequate standards to guarantee the development's appearance, in particular signs and parking lots. The county is in the process of developing parking lot and sign standards.

He also noted the property's proximity to the N.C. Department of Transport-ation maintenance yard and other industrial property that could expose residents to harmful effects of incompatible development or environmental hazards.

Keen did not provide specific information about the housing or commercial development during the meeting.

In an interview, Keen said the patio-style brick houses would cost between $200,000 to $285,000. Once developed, the residential portion of the project would have a value of close to $12.5 million.

The six commercial front out parcels are valued at $500,000 each for a total of $3 million. The center part of the commercial portion could add another $9 million to $12 million to the property value.

As for the zoning variance, Planning Board members could not agree as to whether the Campaign for Migrant Workers Justice's request meets county guidelines.

The Dudley-based group wants to set up a double-wide mobile home on the same U.S. 117 Alternate location where its office is. Some board members voiced concerns that the mobile home already had been placed on the lot even though the Campaign for Migrant Workers Justice had not received the necessary permits.

Commissioners earlier this month held a public hearing on the road name change. Church members spoke in favor the change, while several residents who live along the road asked the board to deny the request.

The residents argued that the change would impose a financial hardship and be an inconvenience since they would have to change address information for Social Security, driver's licenses, bank accounts and stationary.

The road is located just northeast of Fremont. In town, it is Moye Street. Commissioners were told during the public hearing that the Fremont Town Board is considering a similar request, but is waiting to see what the county does first.

In other business Tuesday, commissioners will receive an update on the county Health Department's accreditation from the N.C. Institute of Public Health.

Wayne County Services on Aging director Eryn McAuliffe will talk to commissioners about activities at the Senior Center during Older Americans Month. Veterans Services Director LaShaunne Moore will update the board on activities in that department.

Commissioners will have lunch with a group of students and staff from Wayne County Public schools at 12:30 Wilber's Barbecue Restaurant on U.S. 70 East.