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County splits on Woodcock Farms plan

 

SARAH LOWERY

Staff Writer

 

Despite complaints from nearby residents, the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners approved the Woodcock Farms small-area plan in a split vote Monday night.

Having tabled the item at their Sept. 17 meeting, commissioners took up the issue again after receiving an update from Zoning Administrator Randy Hawkins, voting 3-2 to approve the plan, with Commissioners Carrol Mitchem and Jim Klein in opposition.

As the Times-News has previously reported, the long-range plan calls for the eventual development of roughly 500 acres of land, located between Sifford Road and the Gaston County line along both sides of the N.C. 16 bypass, into a business park, an industrial park, a commercial node, open-space areas and a park.

Though the Planning Board had voted unanimously to recommend approval of the plan at its Sept. 10 meeting, commissioners requested that nearby property owners first be contacted face-to-face by planning staff before they take a vote on it, in order to fully explain the details of the proposal.

Hawkins noted that all residents had been contacted and that the map for the plan now includes only the properties of those in favor of the project, in addition to primary property owner Crescent Resources.

Community meetings and a public hearing had previously been conducted.

Nonetheless, Mitchem made a motion to have an additional public hearing on the revised plan, which failed with a vote of 3-2.

Though the suggestion of another public hearing was shot down, commissioners did invite those nearby residents in attendance at Monday’s meeting to share their thoughts, both of whom spoke out against the proposal.

Commissioner George Arena, who reminded those residents that the project is “strictly a vision plan” and of the county’s roughly 10 percent unemployment rate, made the motion to approve the Woodcock Farms small-area plan.

Planning staff noted that they had learned through the process to meet both earlier and personally with adjoining property owners when developing similar proposals.

In other board action at Monday’s meeting:

  • Commissioners voted 3-2 to approve a conditional-rezoning request to operate an Internet sweepstakes center at 1894 W. N.C. 150 in Lincolnton. Klein and Chairman Alex Patton voted in opposition. In his motion, Arena stipulated that the center would have no more than 15 terminals and 10 parking spaces, in addition to requiring that it close on weekdays at 11 p.m. and Fridays and Saturdays at midnight.
  • Commissioners unanimously approved 14 amendments to the county’s Unified Development Ordinance, aimed at relaxing regulations.
  • Commissioners unanimously approved a Community Involvement Plan and a resolution for an application for Community Development Block Grant funding for the 2012 Scattered Site Housing Program.
  • Commissioners unanimously signed off on awarding a contract for the purchase and installation of replacement compactors and receiving containers at three convenience sites, costing $126,504.
  • Commissioners unanimously approved awarding a bid for RFID (radio-frequency identification) equipment for the library system to Bibliotheca. It will cost roughly $144,400, but was a budgeted item.
  • County Manager George Wood announced Andrew Bryant, a planner in the Planning and Inspections Department, as the interim planning director, effective Oct. 25. This follows the announcement last week of resignation by Kelly Atkins.
  • A presentation was made for Eagle Scout Spencer Cole Carpenter.

 

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