07/22/12 — City Council will eye zoning request

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City Council will eye zoning request

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on July 22, 2012 1:50 AM

The Goldsboro City Council is expected to finally deliver a decision on the rezoning of the Matthews and Bridgers property at the corner of North Berkeley Boulevard and Ridgecrest Drive Monday during its meeting at 7 p.m. at Historic City Hall.

The rezoning request was first discussed at the March 20 council meeting where six people spoke during a public hearing on the request, which, if granted, would change the zoning code of the property from office and institutional to neighborhood business conditional district.

The property is directly across North Berkeley Boulevard from Olive Garden.

Opponents to the rezoning said they feared the impact a new business would have on traffic in the neighborhood behind the property, especially since preliminary site plans showed only one entrance to the property, which would come off of Ridgecrest Drive.

The possible scenarios floated by Faison and Associates, the owner of Berkeley Mall, which was representing the possible developer of the property, included a 10,000-square-foot retail space, a 7,500-square-foot restaurant space or a 9,500-square foot combination of the two uses.

The Council deferred its decision on the rezoning at its April 2 meeting, preferring to wait and find out if the NCDOT would allow a right-in, right-out access from North Berkeley Boulevard to the property.

By the time the vote took place, it was revealed the state would allow the additional ingress/egress and the developer said it had eliminated the possibility of having the property completely devoted to restaurant use.

That wasn't enough for the Council, apparently, as the members voted unanimously to deny the motion at their April 16 meeting, despite a recommendation from the Planning Commission to approve the rezoning should the right-in/right-out curb cut be granted.

By the next meeting, council members were asked to waive a six-month delay provision for the property owner, who intended to file another rezoning request, this time with site plans showing an additional access from Summit Drive. That waiver was granted, meaning another public hearing would need to be scheduled.

The hearing was held June 18, when neighbors once more voiced concerns about pollution, noise and increased traffic in the area. The Planning Commission again recommended approval of the rezoning request at its June meeting, leading to a vote scheduled for July 9.The vote was delayed, however, since Mayor Al King was not present. A formal protest filed by adjacent property owners means the rezoning can only be approved if six of seven votes are cast in favor of it, so the property owner asked that it be delayed until the full board could consider it.

Officials close to the deal say the proposed use for the space would be for a casual sit-down restaurant and a retail store.

Other items on the council agenda for Monday include a public hearing on a conditional use permit for U.S. Cellular, which wants to place a communications tower at the northwest corner of East New Hope Road and Central Heights Road. The property is zoned for general business.

The council's consent agenda contains the setting of a public hearing for the noncontiguous annexation of property at the corner of Buck Swamp Road and Huntington Drive.

Also proposed for consent approval are measures accepting bids for the construction of picnic shelters at Stoney Creek and Berkeley parks. Three shelters will be built at Stoney Creek Park using funds from the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant the Parks and Recreation Department received while the shelter at Berkeley Park will replace one destroyed by Hurricane Irene.

Reimbursement in the amount of $8,572.84 was received through Federal Emergency Management Agency funds for the Berkeley shelter, which will cost $19,636 to build. The difference will be funded with existing operations funds within the department's budget.

An amendment to the 2012-13 budget for additional purchase orders added since it was approved seeks to appropriate $1,210,414.22 from the unassigned fund balance of the General Fund as well as $2,676,963.11 from the unassigned fund balance of the Utility Fund.

It also appropriates $64,729.50 from the Downtown District Fund, $1,471,563.92 from the Capital Projects/Sewer Fund and $98,166.34 from the Occupancy Tax fund.

The consent agenda also contains a measure to approve the awarding of a bid to repair the roof at the city's building at 2406 E. Ash St., which has been proposed to be used as an Air Force museum.

It calls for the awarding of a $29,740 contract to Scott Construction Co. for the cleaning, application of two coats of roof coating to the building and a five-year warranty. The low bid of $19,050, did not include a warranty.

The Council decided to perform repairs instead of replacing the roof at this time as it awaits the results of consultant work to determine the costs behind converting the former bank building into an Air Force museum. Estimates on replacing the roof have ranged between $150,000 and $200,000. The cost for the repairs and any future replacement will come from the Occupancy Tax fund, a coffer made up of taxes levied on hotel rooms.