The end of summer has spelled no relief from the figurative heat for three rezoning requests that have been making their way through the planning process in Burlington.
Burlington’s city council had been expected to deal with all three of these proposals on Tuesday, potentially paving the way for a new Shell station on Danbrook Road, a new location of Zack’s Hot Dogs on South Church Street, and a change from medium to light industrial use along Anthony Road.
Yet, the council ultimately decided to postpone its consideration of each item – due to a plea from the applicant in the case of the Shell station; a misplaced zoning sign with regard to the eatery; and a complaint from a neighboring landowner that the rezoning along Anthony Road would endanger a pending economic development project.
Shell gas station
The first of these deferred rezoning requests concerns a Shell gas station that has been proposed along Danbrook Road, near its much-traveled Bonnar Bridge Parkway. This project has drawn persistent complaints from the residents of Mackintosh on the Lake, who also use Bonnar Bridge Parkway as the main access road for their sprawling development.
Earlier this year, the objections from Mackintosh’s residents persuaded the gas station’s would-be developer to withdraw his original request and resubmit it as a limited use zoning. A relatively new addition to Burlington’s planning and zoning portfolio, the limited-use concept has helped grease the wheels for a number of other rezoning requests. Even so, this change didn’t win the applicant any points with Burlington’s planning and zoning commission, which unanimously declined to recommend the limited-use request to the city council in June.
Although the proposed Shell station was scheduled to come before Burlington’s city council on Tuesday, Matt Wall, a local attorney in the applicant’s employ, asked the council to put off its public hearing on the request. Wall said that he still wanted to marshal more evidence on behalf of his client and added that an expert witness whom he had intended to call was unavailable for health reasons.
Wall also noted that two of the five council members were absent from the meeting on Tuesday and asserted his preference to have the item heard before the full council.
The council voted 3-to-0 to postpone the hearing on the proposed Shell station until October.
Zack’s Hot Dogs
The council also agreed to postpone its hearing on a rezoning request that would enable the new owner of Zack Hot Dogs to set up a second location of the iconic Burlington eatery on the grounds of a defunct bank at 3158 South Church Street.
The council’s members decided to put off the matter until October after Jamie Lawson, the city’s planning director, revealed that some concerns had arisen about the placement of the zoning sign which the city had put up to promote Tuesday’s hearing.
Although the council had no reservations about delaying the hearing, its decision did raise a hue and cry from one neighboring resident who had shown up on Tuesday in order to protest the project.
“I don’t particularly like coming here,” John Wadiak blared from his seat after the council rescheduled the hearing. “But I’ve been coming here to fight all sorts of things on [nearby] Meadowood [Drive].”
Light industrial on Anthony Road
The council also decided to continue a hearing it convened on Tuesday about a request for light industrial zoning that hadn’t previously stirred up any controversy.
This particular request concerns a 17.22-acre lot at 1601 Anthony Road that’s presently zoned for medium industrial use. The owner of this property, Jack Burton, told the council that he only requested this change to light industrial use so he could relocate a trailer sales business from Graham to Burlington – which apparently wouldn’t be possible in a medium industrial district.
Although Burton’s request easily won over the city’s planning and zoning commission, it ran into an unexpected snag on Tuesday when the council heard from Mike McDonough, an attorney for KMP, LLC, which owns 31.5 acres of adjoining land at 1707 Anthony Road.
(Note: This land is unrelated to an 85-acre site off of Anthony Road where the California-based firm SteriTek has received incentives pledges from both Burlington and Alamance County to set up a sterilization facility).
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McDonough told the council that his client has been in negotiations with numerous companies that are interested in developing this property. He added that some have gone so far as to draft site plans for their prospective ventures. McDonough bemoaned that these plans could be thrown for a loop if the council approves Burton’s request for light industrial use, which he said would mandate a 30-foot buffer on his client’s land that wouldn’t be necessary if the neighboring lot retained its old zoning.
“Different companies on a national level and a regional level are looking to evaluate this land,” McDonough went on to inform the council, “and my ask is a very simple ask: Let’s not mess with what has already been done.”
In response to McDonough’s concerns, Jamie Lawson, the city’s planning director, conceded that the proposed change from medium to light industrial zoning would, indeed, require a 30-foot buffer on KMP’s side of the property line. She nevertheless added that there are things the property owner could do, such as building a wall, to get the city to relax the requirement.
The council, for its part, agreed to resume its public hearing on October 4 in order to give the various parties involved more time to consider their options.
Other rezonings approved
The council signed off on two other rezoning requests that came up for consideration at its meeting on Tuesday.
One of these two requests will allow Compleat Kidz, a chain of pediatric clinics for the treatment of autism, to establish a presence at 606 East Davis Street, which has historically been home to Davis Street United Methodist Church.
The council approved another request for office and institutional zoning for property at 3549 South Mebane Street that’s currently designated for medium density resident use. Area resident Patrick Mills spoke up during the public hearing for this item to draw the council’s attention to this project potential to snarl traffic from Smith Elementary School.
OTHER BURLINGTON NEWS:
SteriTek makes it official: selects Burlington for East Coast facility: https://alamancenews.com/steritek-makes-it-official-co-will-build-east-coast-facility-in-burlington/
Burlington city council approves incentives to lure California sterilization company to come to Burlington: https://alamancenews.com/burlington-city-council-joins-commissioners-in-proffering-incentives-for-sterilization-company/
City council prepares to move forward on Paramount Theater expansion: https://alamancenews.com/city-council-oks-new-layout-for-paramount-theater-expansion/