Wednesday, June 12, 2024

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Three proposed rezonings on planning board schedule next week


Burlington’s planning and zoning commission is slated to consider a hodgepodge of rezoning requests when it convenes its next regularly-scheduled meeting next Monday.

On the agenda for that evening’s meeting are proposed changes to the land use designations of three lots, which are situated along South Broad Street, Maple Avenue, and South Mebane Street. In each case, the current property owner is seeking a “limited use” form of zoning that would rule out most of the activities that would otherwise be allowed under the sought-after land-use category.


806 South Mebane Street

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One of these three rezoning requests concerns a .35-acre parcel at 806 South Mebane Street that’s currently zoned for neighborhood business development.

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Iyad Qutaishat, the owner of this particular lot, is seeking a limited form of general business zoning that would permit any of 16 potential uses – or roughly one-seventh of 114 options that are ordinarily available in a general business district. These prospective uses include auto sales or rentals; a coffee shop; a laundry service; a nail or beauty salon; a professional, sales, or medial office; a convenience store without gas pumps; and a restaurant minus a drive-thru. Also included in the list of proposed uses are a farmer’s market, a community center, a community garden, or multi-family housing. It may be worth noting, however, that of all these proposes uses, auto rentals or sales are the only ones not already allowed under the property’s existing zoning.

In a memo that accompanies this item in the planning commission’s agenda, the city’s planning staff formally endorses this rezoning request despite its admitted inconsistency with the residential designation that’s recommended in Burlington’s future land use plan. The city’s planning staff nevertheless adds that the current “neighborhood business” label is likewise at odds with this plan.


1214 Maple Avenue

Burlington’s planning staff has also given its blessing to a request concerning a .89-acre lot that Andy Albright owns at 1214 Maple Avenue.

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RCCG Restoration has asked the city to change this parcel’s zoning from its current heavy industrial designation to a limited form of light industrial use. The applicant’s request seeks a total of 10 possible uses, or less than 10 percent of the 98 activities that are ordinarily allowed in a light industrial zone. These proposed uses range from light manufacturing and warehousing to a restaurant, gym, event center, or coffee shop and – curiously – a religious institution.

The city’s planning staff is urging the planning commission to endorse this request in spite of its inconsistency with Burlington’s future land-use plan, which envisions traditional residential development along this part of Maple Avenue. The planning staff notes that the applicant’s request has been customized “to complement what already exists in the area” and is less out of step with the future land use plan than the current heavy industrial designation.


106 South Broad Street

The city’s planning staff isn’t nearly as amenable to a third rezoning request that has been submitted for a 1.21-acre slice of a 1.67-acre tract at 106 South Broad Street.

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Oscar Arechiga has reportedly filed this request on behalf of the landowner – Jose Silva, Inc. – in furtherance of a project dubbed “Target Auto Sales.”  The applicant has requested just two potential uses in preference to the property’s current office and institutional zoning. These two activities are identified in the rezoning request as “auto sales or rentals” and “wholesale sales.” These prospective new uses would only apply to the 1.21 acres up for rezoning and not the balance of the property, which would retain its current designation for medium-density residential development.

Although the city’s planning staff has not shied away from recommending other rezoning requests that conflict with Burlington’s future land use plan, it has decided to stand firm by the plan’s vision for mixed use development on this particular parcel.

“Neither auto sales or rental [nor] warehouse [and] storage uses provides sufficient opportunities for mixed-use development,” the city’s planning staff goes on to contend in a memo to the planning commission. “In order to meet the intent of the mixed-use future land use designation, the applicant should request uses such as upper story residential, retail, restaurants, offices, coffee shops in lieu of the auto sales or rental and warehouse, storage.”

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