Rezoning, budget on county agenda

Jun. 14, 2014 @ 04:42 PM

High-density residential zoning, the proposed budget and the Weddington water tower appear on the agenda for Monday’s meeting of the Union County Board of Commissioners.

First, commissioners will hold a public hearing for a rezoning request for high-density residential lots. The petitioner, Carlton Tyson, requested the county rezone 43.64 acres on Rocky River Road and Secrest Shortcut Road currently zoned for residential-agricultural use.

“The R-6 (6,000 square foot lots) district is designed to accommodate single-family, two-family and multi-family development at higher densities in areas where public water and sewer are available,” the agenda materials state.

The land is between Monroe and Indian Trail and falls into Indian Trail’s comprehensive plan, where it is identified as a potential site for a medium- to high-density residential development.

Monroe’s Rocky River Land Use Corridor land use plan identifies the land as the future site of retail to exploit traffic entering or exiting a nearby interchange with the Monroe Bypass. The site is “severely constrained by flood plain and the planned Monroe Bypass.” About 4 acres will be separate from the rest with construction of the bypass.

The site has no public road frontage, except through an adjoining lot fronting Secrest Shortcut that falls within Monroe’s zoning authority.

The Union County Planning Board voted 5-2 in favor of the project, despite planning staff explaining that the project had 240 points unfavorable and only 30 points favorable under the county’s rezoning guidelines.

Reasons cited were that the rezoning conflicted with the county’s land use plan, the surrounding area is zoned for low density, it would be bisected by the Monroe Bypass, county water and sewer is unavailable to the site, it is within a flood plain and Union County Public Schools officials stated it would further crowd schools.

“Based on the yet to be determined future of the Bypass/Connector, uncertainty of how sewer service to the site will be provided, the need to ensure compatibility with future uses and the desire for a coordinated planning approach (Indian Trail, Monroe and Union County) for development around the interchange, the rezoning request is premature and should be delayed or denied,” agenda materials state.

Later in the meeting, commissioners hold a public hearing for the proposed 2014-2015 budget. The county manager’s proposed budget allocates $85.3 million for UCPS operations and $19.5 million for school capital needs. It also includes an 8.2 cent property tax increase to fund school capital.

At their last meeting, commissioners moved away from a tax increase, but proposed budgeting for UCPS $87 million for operations and $19.5 for capital. The commission will make its final decision on the budget on June 30.

The county is also ready to move forward on construction of an elevated water storage tower on Hemby Road in Weddington. Several nearby residents filed a lawsuit to stop construction, but halted progress when Commissioner Jerry Simpson proposed the county research the cost to build ground-level tanks as the plaintiffs requested.

At their last meeting, commissioners learned that ground-level tanks would cost about $2 million more than an elevated tank. After a meeting with plaintiffs and Weddington Town Council members, the county is ready to begin bidding on construction of an elevated water tower.

The issue is on the commissioners’ consent agenda and will not be discussed in open session unless a commissioner requests it be moved to the business items section of the meeting.

The Union County Board of Commissioners meet 7 p.m. Monday in the county government building.