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Bless the heart of the stormwater advisory group that suggested to raise the stormwater fees to record levels. I wonder...

Schools gets permit for Wintergreen modular unit

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The Daily Reflector

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Pitt County Schools can proceed with bringing a modular classroom unit to Wintergreen Primary School after a unanimous vote by the Board of Adjustment to approve a special-use permit request.

No members of the public spoke at the public hearing on Thursday held prior to the board’s decision.

The unit will house seven class spaces and restrooms for students and staff, said Aaron Erickson, Pitt County Schools’ director of facilities. The unit is needed to solve crowding problems that exist at the school and to prepare for state requirements to reduce the sizes of kindergarten-third grade classes in the coming years, Erickson said.

The city first issued a special-use permit when the school was built in 1997, planner Elizabeth Blount said. It was amended in 2016 for an addition.

Planning staff recommended the new permit with no conditions.

The board also unanimously approved a special-use permit request from Sterling Rental Company to operate an automobile sales facility at 1414 Charles Blvd., in the building that houses Stadium Sports.

Grant Jarman, operator of Jarman Auto Sales, wants to move his existing business to the location because he owns the building.

“I still like the car business, want to stay in the car business, but it’s time to slow down,” Jarman said.

Jon Day, who assisted Jarman with the permitting application, said Jarman anticipates keeping about 12 vehicles on the north side of the site. The structure has a total of 35 parking spaces, which he says in more than adequate for the auto business and Stadium Sports, which is operated by Jarman’s son.

Blount said staff recommended approval of the permit if Jarman meets three conditions: the site plan must be approved prior to occupancy with retail parking spaces and the car sales area delineated on the plan, the operator cannot allow it to evolve into a junkyard or automobile graveyard, and cars cannot be parked within setbacks or buffer yard.

No one spoke against the request.

The board delayed a public hearing on Motahar Abduh’s request to operate a tobacco shop at 917 Red Banks Road until Nov. 15 because there was an error in the notice mailed to adjacent property owners. A corrected notice must be mailed before the hearing can occur, staff said.

PLANNING AND ZONING

A split vote by city’s Planning and Zoning Commission this month approved a request to rezone about 61 acres of land near Pitt-Greenville Airport over the objection of neighbors concerned the new zoning would allow a sand mine.

Seven people who live or own property in the area of Sunnybrook Road and Belvoir Highway complained at the Oct. 16 meeting about traffic, noise and dust from an existing sand mine and worried a second operation would affect their health and property values even more. Ed Downing, who lives adjacent to the property, said he also was worried about drainage and flooding.

“I understand that everybody has to make money, but does it have to be on us?” Downing said.

Happy Trial Farms, owned by Woody Whichard, asked to rezone the property from residential-agricultural and general commercial into four zones that would allow for residential, industrial, commercial and other uses. Its original request, which had two tracts and called for 51 acres to be zoned for industrial uses, was voted down by the board in July.

“To me, this is just a smoke screen,” said Stephen Nichols, referring to changes made to the request by property owner. “It’s going to be mining on Tracts 2 and 3.”

Resident Margaret Reid, who recently came off the zoning board, said she recused herself from voting then but wanted to speak out against the request this month.

“They kind of got rid of me on the Planning and Zoning so they could get somebody else up there because they kinda look for people that will go along with what they want to do, instead of people that are willing to go along with what they think is right and fair for the community and the people,” Reid said.

The revised request divides the 51 acre piece into three lots, asking the city to rezone 7.4 acres of Tract 1 from residential-agricultural to residential. The tract fronts Sunnybrook Road and would be use to build about 20 duplex homes similar to others in the area, said Mike Baldwin, who represented Happy Trail Farms.

The request asked that 22.4 acres in Tract 2 be changed from residential-agricultural to industrial; 21.2 acres in Tract 3 from residential-agricultural and general commercial to heavy commercial; and 9.9 acres in Tract 4 from residential-agricultural and general commercial to unoffensive industry.

Tracts 1, 2 and 3 are between Sunnybrook and Belvoir Highway and Tract 4 is to the east of Belvoir Highway. City staff anticipated 150,000 square feet of industrial or warehouse space in Tract 2, just east of the duplexes; 22,000 square feet of commercial development such as convenience stores, restaurants or mini-storage in Tract 3; and 68,000 square feet of industrial or warehouse space in Tract 4.

Baldwin indicated that mining likely was not a viable use for any of the property, although Happy Trails has not specified how Tract 2-4 will be utilized. Mining is a permitted use in the industrial zone and a special use in the heavy commercial zone. A special-use permit for Tract 3 would be difficult to obtain, Baldwin said.

“On my best day I couldn’t get a sand mind on this piece of property past the board of adjustment,” he said.  

City staff determined that the revised request was in compliance with the city’s land-use plan and recommended commission approval of the request. 

A motion to recommend denial of the request failed when it garnered only three votes. A motion to recommend approval of the request carried with four yes votes, three no votes.

The City Council has final say in the matter after receiving the zoning board’s recommendations.

GATEWAY PROJECT

A kickoff for the Town Common Gateway Project will take place at 3 p.m. today near the corner of First and Greene streets near the original site of Sycamore Hill Missionary Baptist Church, which is now on Hooker Road.

The event coincides with the church’s homecoming week and will provide an opportunity to publicly announce its financial commitment to the development of the Gateway Plaza, Recreation and Parks Director Gary Fenton said in a memo about the kickoff.

The $2 million project will be a reminder of the historical church and the Shore Drive neighborhood that were displaced in the 1960s as part of a large redevelopment project that created the park.

Church members and others in the community will lead a fundraising effort to develop aspects of the plaza. “Hopefully this will encourage other support for this important initiative at the Town Common,” Fenton said in the memo.

The department currently is developing construction bid documents that are anticipated to be released to the public for comptetive bid in November, the memo said. A contract to build the plaza is expected to be awarded in December.

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