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New college parking divides Planning Board

SARAH LOWER

Staff Writer
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A conditional use permit to allow construction of an accessory parking lot for Gaston College received a narrow vote of approval from the Lincolnton Planning Board on Tuesday.

The lone item up for discussion at Tuesday afternoon’s meeting was the permit application. City planning staff had recommended approving the permit.

The lot would provide 40 additional parking spaces and use an existing driveway connection.

After hearing from the developer, Carl Stewart, the board passed a motion 4-2 to OK the planning staff’s recommendation, with conditions that an old tree bordering the property line try to be preserved and that shrubs be added to the interior of the fence between the lot and a residential property.

The Planning Board’s decision is non-binding but carries considerable weight when the City Council takes up the matter on Oct. 6.

Those opposed to granting the CUP did not think there would be suitable space for the shrubbery, as there would be only a 3-foot setback. They did not think the amendments should be tacked on to the motion.

Stewart, who is the attorney for Gaston College, said neighbor input was requested in advance and the plans were environmentally sensitive.

However, some board members expressed concern that the parking lot would affect the value of the neighborhood homes. They also questioned the necessity of the new lot, citing the recently constructed lot on South Aspen Street, which they said is often empty.

Stewart assured them that the lot would be necessary and there would be “a lot of folks coming.” He also said that he doesn’t foresee any more supplementary lots being constructed in the area in the future.

The property is located on the east side of South Academy Street, about 225 feet south of the intersection of South Academy Street and East Congress Street.

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