06/17/09 — Keen's sister-in-law supports rezoning

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Keen's sister-in-law supports rezoning

By Steve Herring
Published in News on June 17, 2009 1:46 PM

The sister-in-law of Commissioner Steve Keen Tuesday morning urged county commissioners to approve Keen's rezoning request for property he plans to develop on U.S. 70 west of Goldsboro near the Rosewood Wal-Mart.

Beth Perkins Carr, who said she was speaking on behalf of her mother and family, was the only person to comment during the brief public hearing on the zoning requests.

Commissioners made no comments and gave no indication as to when or if they would act on the requests.

Keen, who recused himself when the issue was discussed previously by the Planning Board and commissioners, sat with the board Tuesday and did not recuse himself.

Keen has petitioned the county to rezone approximately 70 aces on the south side of U.S. 70 near the Rosewood Wal-Mart. All of the property is currently zoned Residential/Agricultural 20. He has asked that the front 20 acres be rezoned to Commercial Shopping and the remainder to Residential 15.

A 48-unit single-family housing development is planned for the rear 50 acres and commercial development on the remainder.

Ms. Carr said her family had always been a farming family. She said her mother, Inez Perkins, had received one of the letters mailed to adjoining property owners about the hearing, but was unable to attend because of her age.

"Those of you who are from farming families know how we appreciate our property," she said. "Mother said to me, 'your Dad always wanted the grandchildren and great-grandchildren to prosper from that land. She felt if this property was developed as has been asked by Commissioner Keen, and he is my brother-in-law, that it would make her property be more and maybe those grandchildren and those great-grandchildren might prosper somewhere down the road."

Ms. Carr said she had read newspaper stories in which concerns were raised about appearances and health issues because of the land's proximity to the N.C. Department of Transport-ation maintenance yard.

"One of the concerns mentioned was the proximity of this land to the maintenance yard, industrial property exposing residents to harmful effects of incompatible development or environmental hazards," she said, adding that she had lived near the property all her life and has never been worried about health problems because of the maintenance yard's proximity.

"Then there was appearance concern in a couple of articles that I read. I rode around Sunday 2-3 miles west and you can see property people have already sold for the new highway (U.S. 70 Bypass). So many homes have been moved and there is grass is growing up knee high. So I think in appearance-wise we need to drive down highway 70, what we are calling the gateway into Goldsboro, and take a look at the appearance if we are really concerned about our appearances."

Ms. Carr was making references to comments made by county Planing Director Connie Price. Price and the county planning staff originally had recommended against rezoning the front 20 acres, citing concerns that a lack of parking and sign standards could affect the property's appearance. Also mentioned was the DOT maintenance yard.

Preliminary plats for both sites were approved last week by the Planning Board. The approval clears the way for Keen to begin making improvements to the property -- roads, lights, water and sewer. Final plats will have to be approved by the Planing Board as well.

In another planning-related issue, commissioners scheduled a public hearing on a zoning request by Prentice Grady of Dudley.

The hearing will be held Aug. 4 at 9:15 a.m.

The Planing Board last week voted to recommend Grady's petition to rezone his property on Alert Cable Road from Residential/Agriculture 20 to Village District. The change would allow a mixture of residential and business uses.

Grady's plans to develop a flea market.