Saturday, June 10, 2023

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Mall seeks new zoning designation to accommodate learning academy

A new and unique educational tenant at Holly Hill Mall has prompted the mall’s management to seek a zoning designation that would accommodate the new venture.

The planning board heard Monday night from mall manager Teri Jones and Dominque Burgess, of Gibsonville, seeking a rezoning for the mall to change the city’s zoning to allow for “schools (academic); nurseries, kindergartens, elementary, secondary, public or private.”

Dominque Burgess (left), who heads Burbrella Learning Academy, and Holly Hill Mall manager Teri Jones before Burlington’s planning and zoning commission Monday night.

Burgess is the proprietor of Burbrella Learning Academy which is planning to rent about 3,750 square feet at the mall in a former location for Foot Locker and subsequently the Spin Zone.
About 25 elementary-age students would attend the school, which was characterized as a hybrid of home school and a private school.

In response to questions from planning board members, concerned about the safety of young children entering the mall, Burgess assured, “No children will be walking by themselves – ever,” she said. They will be met by staff at the drop-off point, or parents will escort them to the site.

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Burgess and Jones also pointed out that the school will start about 8:30, but that most businesses do not open until 10:00 or 11:00.

There will be no food preparation on the premises; parents will send food, she described.
Burgess said her organization operates similar schools in New York City (Brooklyn) and Texas.

The planning board approved the rezoning designation, unanimously, 6-0, after board member Charlie Beasley recused himself when he realized during the discussion that his wife has been consulting with Burgess about the operation of the academy.

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