Burlington’s city council has approved a rezoning request from a Raleigh-based developer who hopes to build a “rental community” on some 41 acres between Tucker Street and the grounds of the Burlington Manufacturers Outlet Center.
During a regularly-scheduled meeting on Tuesday, the council unanimously agreed to redesignate this site at 1930 Tucker Street from a combination of residential and light industrial uses to a high-density residential district. This change will ultimately enable Mark Eisenbeis of Old East Properties to follow through on his plans to set up a rental development on the now-vacant property.
Although Eisenbeis’ “straight” rezoning request doesn’t specify the character, number, or placement of the proposed dwellings, he has publicly floated a plan for one and two-story duplexes on the project’s proposed site with units ranging from 800 to 1,500 square feet.
The council signed off on the developer’s request on the recommendation of both the city’s planning and zoning commission and its planning manager Conrad Olmedo. On Tuesday, Olmedo acknowledged that, while the proposed change doesn’t conform with the city’s land-use plan, it does offer a suitable transition between the commercial, industrial, and single-family residential developments that are currently near the site.
Olmedo’s assertion was later echoed by Beth Blackmon of the Timmons Group, who spoke on behalf of the project’s developer prior to Tuesday’s decision.
See earlier coverage about the planning board’s consideration of the rezoning request: https://alamancenews.com/planning-board-endorses-rezoning-for-41-acre-rental-community-near-former-bmoc/
“While it is not traditionally totally in conformance with your land use plan,” Blackmon told the council during a state-mandated public hearing, “you’ve already got a mix of single-family residential and you’ve got this big vacant piece of land [that Eisenbeis wants to develop] transitioning to more commercial and industrial uses.”
The developer’s plans also drew an enthusiastic response from Mebane resident Colin Cannell, who identified himself as a neighboring property owner when he approached the council on Tuesday.
“I came to say I think it would be great,” Cannell declared. “Duplexes can be really beautiful, and they can be a great basis for a community…I think that a project that is duplex-oriented is a really great example of the middle housing that a lot of towns around here don’t have.”
Business use on Alamance Road
In addition to Eisenbeis’ proposal, the council also gave its unanimous nod to another “straight” rezoning request for general business use at 2813 Alamance Road.
Situated at Alamance Road’s intersection with Bonnie Lane, the 1.75-acre lot up for rezoning has historically been zoned for medium density residential use, despite its location at the margins of an existing commercial district.
The city’s land-use plan currently envisions the property as a potential site for future development. This point was certainly not lost on the landowner, Maria Sibrian, when she pitched her request to the city’s planning and zoning commission last month.
Before the council approved Sibrian’s proposal, its members fielded an inquiry from Bonnie Lane resident Lonnie Bonanno. Bonanno asked the city’s leaders how local traffic would be affected by the large trucks that he imagined would converge on the property once its rezoned.
Nolan Kirkman, Burlington’s assistant city manager, informed Bonnano that details like this won’t be nailed down until an actual development plan is submitted subsequent to Tuesday’s rezoning.
See earlier coverage on planning board discussion about Alamance Road rezoning: https://alamancenews.com/planning-board-recommends-extension-of-commercial-zoning-on-alamance-rd-south-of-interstate/
Cemetery’s expansion cemented
The council also approved two other proposals on Tuesday in order to facilitate a proposed expansion of the city-owned Northlawn Cemetery.
The council began by conferring a conditional zoning designation on the expansion’s 5.43-acre site, which lies north of the cemetery’s existing grounds off of Ross Street. Its members went on to approve the annexation of this site, as well as a portion of the existing cemetery that had previously sat outside the city’s municipal limits.
A generations-old burial ground that once served an exclusively black clientele, Northlawn is currently one of three public cemeteries that are owned and maintained by the city of Burlington. Of these three burial grounds, Northlawn is the only one that the city has deemed fit to enlarge. Todd Lambert, Burlington’s city engineer, acknowledged as much when he presented the proposed expansion to the city’s planning and zoning commission last month.
“[The intended site of the expansion] was purchased by the city in February of 1996 for the purpose of wanting to expand the Northlawn Cemetery as the city grew,” Lambert explained during the commission’s regularly-scheduled meeting in January. “Talking to cemeteries and grounds, this is probably a 10-year project. This is just step one in that process.”
The property’s rezoning and subsequent annexation seemed like logical moves to Burlington’s mayor pro tem Harold Owen.
“That property has been owned by the city now for a number of years,” Owen elaborated before Tuesday’s unanimous votes.
See earlier coverage about planning board consideration of rezoning for the cemetery expansion: https://alamancenews.com/planning-board-oks-cemeterys-expansion/