Tuesday, August 3, 2021

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Planning board not keen on industrial project along residential tract south of Sheetz on Maple Avenue

Planning and zoning commission recommends against rezoning on 4-3 vote

Burlington’s planning and zoning commission was not enthusiastic about a developers plans for seeking light industrial rezoning for three residential lots along Maple Avenue just down from the Sheetz gas station.

The commission ultimately voted Monday night 4 to 3 not to endorse this submission, which Christopher Powell has filed to obtain light industrial zoning for three single-family homes at 2747, 2755, and 2803 Maple Avenue.

Powell indicated on Monday that that he has a specific plan for this 6.5-acre swath, although he remained mum on the details when he addressed the city’s planning commission. The would-be developer withheld these particulars since they aren’t technically part of his

One of three residential lots being proposed for light industrial zoning; neighbors have been told, the project on 6.5 acres is for a mini warehouse.

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rezoning request and cannot, therefore, be legitimately considered by the planning commission or Burlington’s city council. Powell nevertheless assured the commission that he has shared these details with a number of neighboring residents whom he had notified about his request.

“The response has generally been favorable, once we verbalized the request.” he went on to insist.

The Alamance News has learned that Powell has apparently told some neighbors he intends to erect mini warehouses on this property.

Powell’s proposal had come to the city’s planning commission with the imprimatur of the city’s planning staff. Prior the commission’s vote, Joey Lea, the city’s zoning and subdivision administrator, noted that the city’s comprehensive land-use plan recommends general industrial use along this same stretch of Maple Avenue.

Lea acknowledged, however, that he has fielded about 10 phone calls from neighboring residents who had concerns about traffic and other matters related to Powell’s request.

The commission also heard from four residents of the Maple View Condos, which are situated across the street from the proposed site of Powell’s development. These residents included Glenda Boone, who complained that she hadn’t been privy to the explanations that Powell had shared with some of her neighbors. Betsy Franco, another resident of the same condominium complex, inquired specifically about the project’s potential impact on property values, while Bill Simmons asked about its effect on property taxes. Meanwhile, Lisa Miller of the same condo complex fretted over a whole host of potential repercussions that Powell’s development may have on the neighborhood.

“It’s a big concern for me as far as noise, traffic, lighting,” Miller told the city’s planning commission, “we would really appreciate it if it stayed residential.”

Powell, for his part, offered to share more details about his plans with concerned neighbors after the meeting. Yet, the would-be developer’s pledge failed to quell the misgivings that his proposal had raised among several members of the planning commission.

Commission member Ryan Kirk raised some reservations about the nearby residential parcels, which he feared would be “boxed in” by Powell’s proposed project. Meanwhile, John Black, the commission’s vice chairman, observed that the property in question is located between two areas of residential development and objected to the potential separation of these residential areas by Powell’s industrial project.

“I don’t know that the land use plan supersedes what’s there now,” the commission’s vice chairman added in response to Lea’s invocation of the comprehensive land use plan’s recommendation.

Black and Kirk went on to vote against Powell’s request along with fellow planning commission members Bill Abplanalp and Earl Jaggers. Richard Parker, the commission’s chairman, opposed the motion not to recommend the request to Burlington’s city council, as did James Kirkpatrick and Nicole Enoch.

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