East Spencer board to decide if resident can convert sheds to housing units

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 9, 2020

By Shavonne Potts


EAST SPENCER — The East Spencer Board of Aldermen will determine whether to allow resident Jamilla Kennedy to use property she owns as residential housing, with sheds converted into housing units.

Kennedy spoke to the board briefly at its Monday meeting and will have an opportunity, along with Brandon Emery, who handles the towns code enforcement, to detail her plans at an Oct. 20 meeting. The board will hold a public hearing during the meeting, which will take place at 6:30 p.m. in town hall.

The property, which is located at 101 S. Long St., a few yards from town hall, is currently zoned as general business, but Kennedy could use it for residential purposes with a conditional use permit. The largest home would be 14-feet-by-20-feet, with additional structures even smaller.

The public hearing will give citizens a chance to learn more about what Kennedy plans to do with the property, what’s allowable and if the board will approve her zoning request.

She wants to be able to “rent them out for individuals who can’t afford a traditional house payment but who still need a place to stay,” Emery said.

The town’s ordinances are tricky, Emery said, adding it doesn’t allow for manufactured homes that are Class A or B, which are doublewide mobile home or trailers. A modular home, however, can be built. There is nothing in the ordinance that defines the shed-to-home category, he said.

The board will have to make a decision that’s unanimous to either approve it outright, with conditions (ex. it must be stick-built and not a shed) or deny her request, which she can appeal and take to the board of adjustments. The town board operates as the board of adjustments.

The board this week also:

• Awarded the administrative contract for its neighborhood revitalization grant to civil engineering firm, WithersRavenel. The $750,000 grant is to rehab homes and revitalize some areas around Royal Giants Park, Mayor Barbara Mallett said.

She said the company will handle the application process, but the town will need community input. A public hearing will also be scheduled at a later date.

“This is the beginning phase,” Mallett said.

The town is also in the midst of rehabilitating its sewer system. The town was awarded a $1.9 million grant in 2019 that will remove a pump station at the Royal Giants Park and allow the town to make other minor sewer repairs in town. Mallett has said some sewer lines need to be replaced because some residents have experienced sewer back-ups and other issues.

“They have done a marvelous job,” she said.

• Approved the receipt of $69,695 in COVID-19 relief funds.