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Council approves rezoning for 56-unit apartment complex

 

Evie Zachary, 8, rides her bike in downtown Lincolnton Thursday afternoon.

Evie Zachary, 8, rides her bike in downtown Lincolnton Thursday afternoon.

 

ELIZABETH HEFFNER

Staff Writer

 

City Council members unanimously approved an applicant’s request for a conditional-use rezoning permit at their meeting Thursday night to allow the construction of a 56-unit multifamily residential development. The 9.77-acre property is located on the west side of North Generals Boulevard and is currently zoned as Planned Business.

According to the BTR Communities Group representative, there would be 42 two-bedroom units and 14 three-bedroom units contained within three residential buildings, with an average of 5.73 units per acre. In addition, the property would offer a playground and a clubhouse with an exercise room, covered patio with seating and a computer room for residents.

At the Lincolnton Planning Board meeting last month, board members unanimously recommended council members approve the conditional-use permit if additional conditions were met. The applicant would be required to give more specific information regarding plans for sediment and erosion control, topography, the property’s watershed, landscaping and sidewalk proposal. The applicant would also be required to construct a minimum of 126 parking spaces.

“This development would create 126 bedrooms of needed investment for the workforce of your city,” the representative said. “It’s a $7.2 million development, and we would be honored to bring that to Lincolnton.”

 

Bike lanes

Discussions are expected to continue regarding a proposal that would permit the North Carolina Department of Transportation to create a three-lane road on South Laurel Street to allow for a bike lane. The proposal is part of the state’s repaving project, and therefore the state would cover the added projected cost associated with making the conversion as well as the pavement markings and signage for the bike lane.

“It’s a great idea,” City Council member Martin Eaddy said. “It’s got to be better than what we have now.”

“I think this is a great opportunity, and South Laurel Street is a good place to start,” Mayor John Gilleland said.

Council members unanimously approved a motion to continue discussion of a bike lane addition in a public hearing forum at their next scheduled meeting.

 

In other City Council business:

Police Captain Cynthia Monday was honored at Thursday’s meeting on her upcoming retirement from the Lincolnton Police Department. Starting Nov. 19, 1985 as a police officer, Monday was promoted to Police Sergeant in 1993, Police Lieutenant in 1999 and finally, Police Captain in 2003.

“You’ve provided 28 years of excellent public service,” Gilleland said. “We really do appreciate your years of service and all that you do for this community.”

Finance Director Georgetta Williams was also honored on her upcoming retirement from the City of Lincolnton Finance Department. Williams began work in the department as an Accounting Clerk in December of 1987, and ultimately was promoted as the Finance Director in 2006.

“You have done a wonderful job leading this department,” Gilleland said. “As Finance Director, you have assisted the city through many financial and technical changes. You will be difficult to replace, and we will miss you.”

A Downtown Sidewalk Art Program may be coming to Lincolnton this summer. Lincolnton resident Christie McBride pitched the event to council members, stating that the program would model Hendersonville’s Chalk It Up Summer Art.

According to McBride, the program would be a one-day event in the summer where people of all ages could draw with chalk on a square of sidewalk on Main St.  She explained that while no profanity or offensive images would be permitted, participants would have full creative license with decorating their square.

“It’s for the community, and would not be a money maker in any way,” McBride said. “There would be no entry fee, and downtown business could sell snacks to the kids and coffee to the adults.”

The program would provide participants with chalk in order to ensure the removability of the artwork. Prizes would also be available for each age group as well.

Council member Devin Rhyne suggested that McBride obtain approval from the business owners in the 100 and 200 block of Main Street to make sure owners were okay with the program utilizing the sidewalk in front of their business. McBride agreed that she would do so as soon as possible.

City Council members unanimously voted to approve and support the Downtown Sidewalk Art Program. The proposed date for the program has been tentatively set for Aug. 2 from 9-11 a.m.

City Manager Jeff Emory recommended McBride work with the Community and Business Development department to ensure there are no current conflicts with the tentative date.

City Council members voted 3-1 to approve a study proposal with Pease and Associates regarding the Biochemical Oxygen Demand Limits at the Wastewater Treatment Plant. The company estimates the proposal study would cost $18,300. Discussion regarding the proposal began at the council’s January meeting. Since then, Emory has been acquiring more details surrounding the logistics and financial feasibility for such an endeavor.

The Times-News previously reported that Public Works Director Steve Peeler said at the City Council’s February meeting that implementing a long-term plan at the plant to increase the city’s BOD was not immediately necessary, but could be a benefit for the city. He continued, stating the implementation of such a plan could put Lincolnton in a better position to recruit industry, and it could serve as an economic development tool for LEDA to use to bring new industry to the city or expand existing industry.

“From the engineers we’ve talked to, the idea of getting an informal bid or quote is a little bit more than they want to take on,” Emory said. “It would be a lot of background work for an outside company to undertake just to give us an estimate, which could be anywhere from $8,000 to $38,000. It would probably be better for us to do an official request for proposals, if that is the route we are interested in taking.”

Eaddy agreed with Emory’s proposed course of action.

“I think as a leadership group, we need to know that (BOD) information, or we could lose a valuable water client,” he said.

Rhyne, however, was hesitant about moving forward with the proposal.

“I’m hesitant about paying $18,000 for a proposal when it’s not a life-or-death immediate need,” he said. “If we do spend the money on the proposal, we’re making a commitment to spend a lot more in the future.”

Rhyne also questioned the life expectancy of such a proposal if action could not be immediately taken after the conclusion of the initial study.  Peeler answered, stating that as long as the amount of BOD coming into the plant does not change, the study will continue to remain relevant.

“It’s about us being in a position to let industries know if they can move here,” Eaddy said. “Being responsible for the future of this city, not being able to answer that question with the water sales issues we’re facing is unacceptable.”

The council’s next scheduled meeting is set for May 1 at 7 p.m. at Lincolnton’s City Hall.

Image courtesy of Jaclyn Anthony / Lincoln Times-News

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