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Reader’s Forum 11-16-11

Facts askew in media coverage of zoning
Recent articles by The Lincoln Times-News and News@ Norman on a Zoning Change Request before the County Commissioners has misled readers, skewed the facts and split decisions by both the Planning Board and commissioners.
Joshua Kiser submitted a zoning change request in July 2011 to change a simple acre lot on N.C. 150 from Single Family Residential to General Business. This change would allow him to move his current business, PC Mulch Sales from Iron Station back to ancestral land on N.C. 150 in the Pumpkin Center area.
Some of this ancestral land is already being used as a mix of business, residential and North Lincoln High School.
This should have been a simple process for local government, either a yes or no vote by commissioners based on the public hearing, the Zoning Department’s recommendation and Mr. Kiser’s presentation. Most Commissioners were in favor of the rezoning but voted to send it to the Planning Board for a 60-day review before their final vote.
I sat in three of these Planning Board discussions since I am the adjoining landowner and manager of PC Mulch. It is quite evident that the Planning Board has no use for small businessmen and is more concerned about keeping the major corridors in Lincoln County business free. In the final meeting the Board did vote to approve the zoning request and sent that recommendation back to the commissioners for vote at the November meeting.
In the interim, Mr. Kiser, took steps to enhance the residential property. This included grading and landscaping to meet UDO requirements. Mr. Kiser was placed under weather condition pressure based on a 60-day delay by the Commissioners and he gambled some monies to do prelimary work that would suit residential or business use. He also applied early for a NCDOT driveway permit for the existing drive.
These property improvements were discussed with various Lincoln County agencies before any work was done. Not only did these improvements enhance the residential value of Mr. Kiser’s property but they also improved the value of my adjoining property.
Commissioner Alex Patton commented on these improvements during the discussion at the November meeting saying, “it looked to him like Mr. Kiser was ready to open for business before they even voted”. Mr. Kiser tried to explain his position but was cut short on explanation by other commissioners wanting to delay the process once again.
Recent articles by the local news media, of that November meeting, led readers to believe that Mr. Kiser was already in business at this location and was rezoning after the fact. Mr. Kiser is in business, but at another location in Lincoln County. The site in question is still weeks away from business operations after the rezoning.
These news articles with their skewed facts have embarrassed Mr. Kiser, PC Mulch Sales, the Lincoln County zoning administrator and the county commissioners.
Why this whole zoning situation was so news worthy is beyond me but let’s get the facts straight before we go to print.
Tony Setzer,
Lincolnton

City voters must like paying utility bill hikes
I hope the majority of voters who participated in Tuesday’s city election are satisfied.
Because now we can look forward to more increases in our water and sewer bills.
We can also probably look forward to increases in the percentage of the textile companies’ water bills we are required to pay.
Thanks a lot!
James A Vansickle,
Lincolnton

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