Burlington’s planning and zoning commission has recommended the approval of two rezoning requests that it didn’t put to a vote when it first heard them two weeks ago due to an oversight in notification.
During a special-called meeting on Monday, the planning commission’s members endorsed both of these deferred proposals, which are intended to accommodate two multi-family developments in different parts of the city.
One of these two submissions, which comes from Asheboro-based Lucas Development, concerns a 4.5-acre tract along Whitesell Drive – a dead-end road that’s located off of Huffman Mill Road. Framed as a request for “limited-use” general business development, this proposal seeks the city’s permission to build multi-family apartments on the now-vacant lot.
Earlier this year, Burlington’s city council signed off on a similar request that Lucas had filed in order to develop rental housing on another 9-plus acre site along Whitesell Drive. On Monday, the commission voted 6-to-0 to recommend that the council also confer its blessing on the company’s latest rezoning proposal.
The second submission which came up on Monday concerns the current site of the Maple Motel, which is situated at 2444 Maple Avenue – not far from the NC 49 interstate interchange off I-85/40.
Two weeks ago, Frank Longest, a local attorney in the employ of the property owner, told the city’s planning commission that his client hopes to sell this tract to a firm called Good Homes, which specializes in the conversion of motels into rental apartments. Longest said at the time that Good Homes ultimately intends to transform the Maple Motel into 135 dwelling units aimed at the millennial market.
The property’s current owner, KAPIL, LLC, has requested limited mixed use zoning in order to facilitate the motel’s proposed metamorphosis. In addition to multi-family housing, the property owner has also asked for permission to use the site for either a hotel or motel or an indoor restaurant as part of its rezoning request.
The commission went on to vote 6-to-0 to recommend this request to Burlington’s city council.
The planning commission had originally heard both of these proposals on September 26, only to postpone its final decisions due to a snafu regarding the signs that the city normally erects on lots that are up for rezoning. Although state law doesn’t actually require these signs prior to a planning board meeting, they have nevertheless been standard practice for the city of Burlington.
For some reason, the staff members responsible for posting these signs had failed to do so ahead of the commission’s September meeting. The commission’s members consequently delayed their decisions on every rezoning request that appeared on that evening’s agenda.
On Monday, Jamie Lawson, the city’s planning director, acknowledged that she had received independent confirmation from three people that the rezoning signs for the two subject properties had been properly posted before that night’s special-called meeting.