Tuesday, August 3, 2021

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Planning board OKs commercial rezoning for family farm across from municipal park

Burlington’s planning and zoning commission endorsed a rezoning request Monday night that would allow the commercial development of a family farm across from Joe Davidson Park.

The planning commission unanimously recommended the proposed redesignation of this parcel at 3802 Rural Retreat Road from medium-density residential to general business use during a regularly-scheduled meeting on Monday.

The commission endorsed this change after it heard from Michael Nissley, whose wife recently inherited the 13.82-acre farm from an elderly relative. Nissley told the commission that the proposed zoning would “allow more uses” at this location in anticipation of the property’s “future sale.”

“It’s been in the family for like 100-some years,” Nissley went on to inform the commission. “It has been used for tobacco and corn – general farm uses…We’re just trying to make it zoned so it matches the surrounding property.”

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Situated across from Burlington’s Joe Davidson Park, the property in question also abuts an existing apartment complex to the east, while its western edge borders a parcel where the Lidl grocery chain had once proposed to set up a new supermarket. The lot’s nearly 14 acres also extend far enough to the south to include a substantial amount of road frontage along University Drive.

Nissley told the commission that, at this juncture, it’s hard to predict just what sort of business is likely to be drawn to this particular site.

“This is just a general zoning,” he added. “We really don’t know how it would be utilized at this point.”

The city’s planning commission went on to give Nissley’s proposal its blessing based on a favorable staff report from Burlington’s planning manager Conrad Olmedo.

“Staff noted that the proposed zoning is compatible with the neighboring uses and is consistent with the land use plan,” Olmedo explained shortly before the appointed advisory board voted 5-to-0 to recommend the rezoning to Burlington’s city council.

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