Thursday, July 18, 2024

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Potential industrial project in far reaches of Burlington expands

Members of Burlington’s planning and zoning commission were just as receptive to an even larger footprint for a potential industrial project on the far western fringes of the city, in eastern Guilford County, as they were last month.

There is still no announced tenant for the proposed industrially-zoned land, now totaling 196 acres, but this week the developer returned to seek approval to add another parcel, this one with an additional 23 acres, to the total lot size for the industrial zoning request.

Burlington’s city council has not yet dealt with the original request, but will now be asked, probably later next month, to consider the rezoning for the total acreage which is near the back side of the Rock Creek Industrial Center.

Attorney Nathan Duggins, of the Tuggle Duggins Law Firm in Greensboro, told the board last month that the medium industrial rezoning would allow him to  “to develop something that requires no land or structure to be used for any purpose that causes noxious or offensive odors, gas fumes, dust, vibration, or noise that substantially interferes with any other nearby uses.”  Duggins described the developer’s potential project as a light manufacturing facility of a distribution center.

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 This week’s meeting drew a smathering of people concerned with the proposed industrial site’s location near the historic Low House.  The house, near Lake Mackintosh, and across a gravel road beside the proposed industrial site, dates to the 1820s and is a two-story Federal style brick home that is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Jerry Nix, who’s been involved with Guilford County historic preservation projects for decades,  expressed concerns about ensuring that an adequate buffer would shield the historic home from the industrial project.  He was assured that a 200-foot buffer would be required next to residential properties.

Planning board members had also received a letter from Cathleen Turner, with Preservation North Carolina, also stressing the need for an adequate buffer.

Whitsett town councilman Craig York asked whether the Jordan Lake Rules would come into play for Lake Mackintosh in connection with the nearby proposed industrial development.

The planning board members voted 4-2 in favor of the rezoning.  The rezoning was supported by board chairman John Black and members Charlie Beasley, Lee Roane, and Richard Parker.  The rezoning was opposed by Joan Zec Nelson, who had also opposed the plan last month when it passed 4-1, and Ethan Raynor.

Not present was planning board vice chairman James Kirkpatrick.


Rezoning to allow digital gas sign approved

The planning board unanimously approved a rezoning for a long-time convenience store, Dave’s Mini Mart, at the corner of Chapel Hill Road and South Mebane Street.

Dave Cheema explained that the family-owned company wants to erect a digital price sign for its gas pumps, which according to the city’s zoning ordinances requires a new zoning designation.

The gas station and convenience store is currently zoned neighborhood business, which doesn’t provide for digital signage, so he’s asking for general business, which does.


Recommendation to remove planning board member

At the end of the meeting, planning board chairman Black raised the issue of making a recommendation to the city council to recommend the removal of Amber Wright, who is currently listed as an alternate member for the board.

According to Black’s description, “she’s never been to a meeting.”  Black, meanwhile, is the longest-serving current member of the planning board, but will be stepping down, having hit the ceiling on term limits.

Originally appointed to the commission in 2005, Black had remained on this board longer than the usual nine-year maximum since a reconfiguration of its membership about 10 years ago effectively reset the clock on his tenure.

Black’s entreaty ultimately drew a motion from Lee Roane, seconded by Joan Zec Nelson, which passed 5-1, drawing additional support from Parker and Raynor.  Planning board member Charlie Beasley voted against the motion, explaining in an interview with the newspaper after the meeting that he did not consider it” within the planning board’s purview” to make such a recommendation to the city council.

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