Monday, April 15, 2024

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Burlington city council postpones two public hearings on controversial items forwarded from planning board

Burlington’s city council postponed action on two potentially controversial issues Tuesday night during the council’s semi-monthly meeting.

Two public hearings were scheduled, but both were postponed until the council’s next meeting, on March 16.

Lawyers on both sides of the zoning issue associated with a Muslim cemetery on Hanford Road asked for the postponement of that item.  Lawson Brown, the attorney for the Burlington Masjid, and Tom Terrell, a lawyer retained by some nearby property owners, had jointly requested that the city council postpone its hearing on the Muslim cemetery until March 16.

A 1.3 acre tract along Hanford Road, near its intersection with Old Stage Coach Road and across from Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, is being proposed to be rezoned from industrial use in order to allow a Muslim cemetery.

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Brown had originally told the planning commission that the mosque, which is officially known as the Burlington Makkah Masjid, has agreed to limit the proposed cemetery to a 1.3-acre sliver of the 15.5-acre tract where it hopes to develop the new burial ground. The Masjid has also pledged to set aside the balance of the property for industrial use and to request annexation for the portion of the tract that isn’t already within Burlington’s municipal limits.

The city’s planning board had deadlocked, 3-3, on whether it was appropriate to allow the Muslim cemetery in an area that had been reserved for future industrial development.

Meanwhile, city councilman Harold Owen asked that a separate matter, on revising a 2018 city council action approving homes for the site of the former Shamrock Golf Course – be postponed, also until March 16.

Paul Milam, the developer of this proposed subdivision, is asking the city’s leaders to tweak a conditional zoning request that the council approved in 2018 in order to increase the maximum number of homes he can construct on the grounds of the former golf course from 219 to 242 units. Milam has requested this increase notwithstanding the pushback his project

Story continues below graphic illustrations.

The top illustration was the developer’s original plan, as presented to the planning board in 2018. It originally had 241 houses. The bottom illustration, using Monopoly houses by the lawyer of neighbors opposed to the project, showed the smaller sized new houses compared to the larger existing ones around what had been a golf course.  Later, the developer reduced the number of houses to 219, which is what the city council members approved later that year. Now he’s asking them to consider allowing him to go back up in number, now to 242, one more than he had originally proposed.

originally received from the golf course’s neighbors, which eventually compelled him to accept the 219-dwelling limit in 2018.

The planning board has recommended against the additional houses, 4-2, during its consideration of the rezoning request.

See earlier story from last week’s edition:

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