Spencer back to drawing board on rezoning

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 9, 2009

By Shelley Smith
Spencer aldermen voted to send rezoning plans back to the Planning Board after much discussion on boundaries and the size of property for businesses.
The rezoning plans are part of Spencer’s interstate business district, and the town hopes to attract business and industry to that area.
Alderman Jeff Morris asked Land Management Director Dustin Wilson several questions regarding proper notice for the property owners involved, or those who could be affected by the rezoning.
“I don’t believe that the area along Long Ferry Road is big enough to facilitate that type of development,” said Morris, who noted that the planned width of the proposed zoned lots are not traditional with interstate business.
“This is a very small strip of land for what we’ve proposed,” he said. “(We need) to go back to the rear property lines and those that we are partially proposing for rezoning,” make sure their property is not split.
“I’m proposing that we would have to give notice (and have) a rehearing of this matter. I don’t feel like this facilitates what we wanted, doesn’t even come close,” he said.
Morris added he thought it would be hard to rezone part of someone’s property without rezoning all of it.
“If we’re going to plan, we need to facilitate more than a 300-foot deep lot. A hotel couldn’t move in there with this current plan. A grocery store couldn’t move in there. We’ve got an interstate business district that can’t be used for interstate business if we don’t (redo) this.”
Jim Gobble, planning board member, said the Board of Aldermen had the map of the proposed zones for months, and are now changing their minds. “I guess we’ve had a change of heart,” Morris said.
Wilson and Gobble agreed to discuss the changes with the planning board and to schedule the next public hearing on the rezoning for the Feb. 9 aldermen meeting.
Despite the proposed changes discussed, the public hearing still went on, with only one person speaking.
Rodney Queen of 101 Polo Drive in Salisbury said he was in favor of rezoning, but noted the importance of taking time to think the interstate business plan through.
“I’m certainly in favor of rezoning,” said Queen. “It’s important that you take the time to establish what you really want to see on I-85. It’s beneficial for you to take the time and make it more open to the public, to get input and get it as close or as right as you can the first time. It’s really important to the town of Spencer.”
Queen also spoke of his concerns with the planning board meetings being changed at the last minute.
“I got notified of the (planning board) meeting, came to the meeting only to find a note on the door that the meeting had been canceled,” he said. “We need more ample notice to be able to participate.”
Aldermen voted to send the zoning map back to the planning board to change the boundaries and give property owners and adjacent owners notice of a new hearing.
In other matters:
– Aldermen Tracy Aitken, Delaine Fowler and Reid Walters were sworn in to replace David Smith, Nick Bishop and C.E. Spear.
– A representative of the Spencer Jaycees presented a proposal for the old fire department building to be renovated and used by the Spencer Jaycees. The board approved the proposal.
– Jeff Bumgarner and his public works crew were praised for their efforts with the parade and tree-lighting ceremony at Library Park.
– Interviews for the Spencer Fire Department chief will start next week.
– Auditor Eddie Carrick went over the financial report for the town, stating that financially, the town was below budget in every department last year. He stressed to “remain conservative,” particularly with state funds.
– The board approved a resolution draft for withdrawal from the Centralina Council of Government.
– The board appointed David Smith to serve on the Zoning/Board of Adjustment.
– The Spencer aldermen’s retreat will be Saturday, Feb. 6, at 8:30 a.m.
The next town meeting will be Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m.