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Morganton Planning & Zoning Commission
Agenda: Thursday, May 11th, 2017
City Hall Council Chamber
305 East Union Street (Suite A100)


Item 1: Review and approval of the January 12th, 2017 Minutes.

Item 2: Review of City Council action since last meeting.


This Agenda time is reserved to provide citizens an opportunity to appear before the Planning Commission about issues other than those appearing on the agenda. Citizens may present their planning ideas, opinions or concerns for Commission consideration and discussion. Anyone wishing to speak should come to the podium, state their name, and address for the record.


Item 1: Consideration to rezone 54.45 acres of property located at 526 Causby Road which includes Pin # 1772469227, 1772465568 and 1772456378 from EID to MID submitted by Howard E. Poole Trustee.

Item 2: Consideration to rezone 37.20 acres of property located at 925 N Green Street (Pin# 1793393562) from LID to HID submitted by Nathan Tidd, agent for Crescent Communities.



Next Scheduled P&Z Meeting: Thursday, June 8th, 2017 at 5:15 PM, City Hall Council Chamber

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Morganton Planning & Zoning
May 11, 2017

Members Present:
Hank Dickens, Chairman 
Bill Lennon, Vice-Chairman
Waits Gordon
Rick Lingerfelt
Judy Francis
Don Smith

Members Absent:
David Kirk
Pete Wallace
Claude Huffman

Also present from the City staff were Phillip Lookadoo, Director Development Design Services; Louis Vinay, City Attorney; and Jackie Cain, Administrative Manager.


Item 1: Review and approval of the January 12th, 2017

Mr. Dickens stated a copy of the minutes had been provided. Mr. Dickens asked if there were any changes for the minutes. Mr. Dickens made a motion that the minutes be approved as submitted (5-0).

Item 2: Review of City Council action since last meeting.

Mr. Lookadoo reported Planning Commission had met on February 6th, 2017. City Council approved Alternate Design Proposal for landscaping at the new Mountain View School


Mr. Dickens stated this time is set-aside for individuals to come before the planning board to express any planning related concerns to the planning board.



Item 1: Consideration to rezone 54.45 acres of property located at 526 Causby Road which includes Pin # 1772469227, 1772465568 and 1772456378 from EID to MID submitted by Howard E. Poole Trustee.

Mr. Dickens asked Mr. Lookadoo to review the rezoning request.

Mr. Lookadoo stated the application was submitted for three tracts on Causby Road to be rezoned from Exclusive Industrial District (EID) to Medium Intensity District (MID). The tracts (providing the location map) are adjacent to each other, are under single ownership and have direct frontage on Causby Road. Tract A is in the City of Morganton’s Extraterritorial Zoning Jurisdiction, while tracts B and C are within the city limits of Morganton.

Mr. Lookadoo discussed that the subject tracts are presently zoned EID. The EID is a district for those uses associated directly and indirectly with industrial and manufacturing type activities. EID also does not allow residential development of any type. The proposed zoning would expand the adjacent MID to all three tracts.

The MID zoning is intended to allow for a variety of both commercial and residential uses, however, the intensity of the use, as with all zoning districts, increases with the classification of road serving the property. This road “hierarchy” only allows certain higher intensity uses on roads that are designed to carry higher volumes of traffic.
Causby Road is currently considered a local road which could limit some of the higher intensity uses allowed by the MID zoning.

Mr. Lookadoo stated these tracts are located along Causby Road, a two lane NCDOT Road carrying approximately 970 daily vehicle trips. This is well under the current 12,000 stated capacity of the road. A potential multi-family development could produce roughly 450 new residential units. These units could generate up to ten (10) vehicle trips per day and increase the flow on Causby Road from 970 daily vehicle trips to 5,470 trips per day; just under 50% capacity.

Ms. Francis joins quorum (6 members present)

He stated all three tracts have access to a six (6) inch City water line located within Causby Road and all three tracts have access to an eight (8) inch City sewer line within Causby Road.

Mr. Lookadoo provided commission Planned Land Use:

Over the years Morganton’s industrial manufacturing employers have been the mainstay of the community’s economy. As the economy has become more diverse, with a lower percentage of employment in the manufacturing sectors, the demand for industrial sites has diminished. This has left large areas of vacant or underutilized buildings and land and landed zoned for industrial use. To help strengthen Morganton’s economic competitiveness, the plan recommends two industrial planning area categories to protect valuable industrial land for existing and future economic development. This approach is intended to focus city and county public infrastructure funding support in these areas.


The Exclusive Industrial Planning Area (EI) includes existing industrial areas and adjacent land well suited for concentrations of industrial manufacturing uses. Uses in this area are predominately heavy industry. The area was chosen because of the availability of rail and proximity to two interstate highway interchanges. The EI designation will help protect valuable industrial land for economic development and signals the city’s commitment to continue investing in the infrastructure needed to support industrial uses in these areas.

• Non-industrial, large scale retail and residential uses should not be not permitted within this planning area.
• Interstate 40, Exit 98 and Exit 96 should be improved to accommodate easy movement of large transport vehicles. Motorist services, including automobile service center and convenience food establishment should not be permitted to locate at the highway interchanges.
• Redevelopment and Infill Development. The EI Planning Area includes a substantial amount of vacant land and buildings. This area should be marketed as a prime location for new or relocating industrial uses. The EI Planning Area should not be expanded to include additional land area.

The City’s 2030 Future Land Use map indicates Exclusive Industrial (EI) as the continued future use of the property of all three parcels. This is stated as follows when referring to the Causby Road and Kathy Road areas: “The area was chosen because of the availability of rail and proximity to two interstate interchanges.” – Mission 2030 Comprehensive Land Development Plan. Therefore the request is not compliant with the 2030 Future Land Use plan.

Mr. Lookadoo stated future rezoning considerations should fully take into consideration the analysis considered in determining future land use as part of the Mission 2030 plan. Should future rezoning occur; it should only be considered concurrently with a review for potential update of the comprehensive land use plan (Mission 2030) for this area.

Mr. Lookadoo discussed spot zoning. This request will not constitute spot zoning since these properties are adjacent another MID zoned area to the west and a Low Intensity Development (LID- a single family zoning district) directly adjacent to the east. He added the primary impact to the surrounding land would be the increase of traffic. Other impacts, such as light and noise are possible but should be largely mitigated with required buffering and landscaping.

Mr. Lookadoo stated this area is characterized by large, predominantly vacant, tracts of land, some residential and at least four (4) tracts containing industrial uses in close proximity to the subject parcels. Additionally these parcels are less than ½ mile to Exit 98 on Interstate 40 with water and sewer available. For these reasons the Mission 2030 plan state that the lands are “well suited” for industrial development. The recommendations (See attached) include not allowing residential and retail but instead promoting industrial growth. At this time staff recommend, because of factors stated in this report, denial of this request.

Mr. Dickens asked if staff had any questions regarding staff evaluation.


Mr. Dickens opens public hearing.

Mr. Mike Watts, 121 E. Union Street, stated he was representing the Poole family. HE stated the family wanted to have settlement upon the estate. He stated that the family wanted to settle the estate in order to take care of health care bills.

He provided commission with a map of the topography of the property and discussed how the property had several acres which would not the usable as EID due to the slope of the property. He stated Causby Road splits the property and that would also make the tract undesirable for EID use.

Mr. Byrd, 4373 Plantation Drive, stated he represented the buyer. He stated the buyer wanted to purchase this property for his grandson. His grandson wants to build a single-family residence on 8 acres and then later build 2 or 3 homes on the remaining 46 acres. He stated there is currently a brick home on the property and it would be rented.

Mr. Dickens asked Mr. Watts the direction of the slope.

Mr. Watts stated towards Causby Road.

Mr. Dickens closed public hearing.

Mr. Smith questioned if EID was best suited for the property due to the topo.

Mr. Dickens stated that during decision making of the land plan, that topo isn’t necessarily taken into consideration. Creation of a buffer was needed for the residential area.

Mr. Dickens stated having Causby Road split the property did make it difficult for an industrial site.

Mr. Smith stated this property has been in the same family for 100 years and he didn’t see changing this zoning as a determent.

Mr. Lennon stated we don’t know the development.

Ms. Francis asked what the max number of dwelling units could be on the property.

Mr. Lookadoo stated 20 meeting the performance standards.

Mr. Dickens questioned where the railway access is located.

Mr. Lookdoo stated in the plan it speaks of exclusive industrial sites having either railway access or close to interstate.

Mr. Lingerfelt spoke about the difficulty of travel for large trucks on Causby Road.

Mr. Lingerfelt stated made a motion to rezone the property from EID to MID due to dimension characteristics of the property, topographical characteristics, access difficulties with the road, lack of rail access, and Causby Road segmenting the property, seconded by Mr. Smith and passed unanimously (6-0).

Mr. Dickens stated City Council would review this item at their June 5th, 2017 meeting at 6:15 p.m.

Item 2: Consideration to rezone 37.20 acres of property located at 925 N Green Street (Pin# 1793393562) from LID to HID submitted by Nathan Tidd, agent for Crescent Communities.

Mr. Dickens asked Mr. Lookadoo to review the rezoning request.

Mr. Lookadoo stated the property proposed for rezoning is located on the northwest portion of the City of Morganton with direct frontage on Independence Blvd (See Location Map).

The property is 37.42 acres. It is largely level except at the rear of the property where it quickly rises as it goes towards Branstrom Drive (See Slope Map).

The property is in two separate zoning districts (HID and MID) with the portion proposed for rezoning fronting on Independence Blvd (See Zoning Map).

The property itself is bordered by Independence Blvd on the southeast, properties bordering North Green Street/NC181 on the northeast, and Branstrom Drive along with other properties fronting Branstrom Drive on the west.

Mr. Lookadoo stated this property presently has two different zoning districts, HID and LID. The zoning proposal would change the entire parcel to HID from the current split HID/LID zoning.

Mr. Lookadoo stated the LID is intended for residential development and residentially associated uses (churches, schools, etc.).

Mr. Lookadoo added, HID is the highest intensity commercial zoning district in the zoning ordinance. It is intended for uses from single family residential to high intensity commercial. The higher intensity commercial uses allowed by the HID require direct access to roadways designed for faster speeds and higher capacity such as Independence Blvd.

Mr. Lookadoo stated this property is directly accessed from Independence Blvd. which is a two lane NCDOT Road with left turn lane for traffic traveling in a northerly direction, carrying approximately 12,000 daily vehicle trips. This is near or at current capacity of the road. Independence Blvd. also has high morning and afternoon traffic peaks due to close proximity to Freedom High School. NCDOT also has plans to widen NC 181 from Bost Road to just beyond the City of Morganton ETJ which is located near W.A. Harris Road.

Mr. Lookadoo stated the properties have access to an eight (8) inch City water line located within Market Place (private drive beside Wal-Mart Grocery) This line should be adequate to serve most if not all uses within an HID zoning development .

Mr. Lookadoo stated to be served sewer, a sewer line extension and installation of a pumping station will be necessary. This connection will be made to the existing twelve (12) inch City sewer line located across Independence Blvd on Wamsutta Mill Rd. This line should be adequate to serve most if not all uses within an HID zoning development.

The City’s Land Development Plan indicates Commercial/Retail Use for this and surrounding properties (see attached 2030 Future Land Use Map). The request therefore does comply with the 2030 planned land use.

Mr. Lookadoo stated future rezoning should only be considered concurrently with an update to the Mission 2030 Land Use Plan map for this area.

This request will not constitute spot zoning with the proposed HID zoning already existing on the same parcel and as well as adjoining parcels lots bordering Green Street /NC181.

The primary impact to the surrounding land uses will be increase in traffic and reduction of the level of service for traffic movement. This should, however, be addressed through a traffic study in conjunction with an NCDOT encroachment permit.

Mr. Lookadoo stated the Independence/North Green street (NC181) Corridor has become defined with specific uses (commercial, recreation, and school) already occupying the majority of the land in the immediate area. With proximity to commercial type uses, and guidance from the Mission 2030 Future Land Use Plan, the proposed zoning is in keeping with the growing commercial nature of the area. For these reasons, the planning staff recommends the rezoning request be approved.

Mr. Dickens asked commission if they had any questions for Mr. Lookadoo.

Mr. Smith commented that it would be nice if the steep hill that is in the rear of the property could remain as a buffer.

Mr. Gordon asked if that were the location of the confederate cemetery off Branstrom Drive. He asked if there would be an entrance of Independence Blvd.

Ms. Francis asked about the access onto Independence Blvd. and if it would align with the park entrance. She questioned if that would cause traffic volume issues.

Mr. Lookadoo stated Independence is a NCDOT roadway and placement of signalization would be their call. He stated they do have a minimum spec between stoplights.

Mr. Gordon questioned if there was another street within the adjacent property? Marketplace?

Mr. Lookadoo stated yes that could be tied into, however without a development plan nothing was decided.

Mr. Lennon asked what the actual distance from North Green Street to Wamsutta Mill Road?

Mr. Lookadoo stated approximately 975-1000 feet.

And to the park?

Mr. Lookadoo stated approximately 1500 feet.

And to Sam Wall Street?

Mr. Lookadoo stated approximately 2400 feet.

Mr. Dickens opened public comment.


Mr. Dickens closed public comment.

Mr. Dickens asked if the area of land that was difficult to develop could be deeded to the property owners on Branstrom Drive.

Mr. Dickens stated his fear was with land that is 10, 20 or 30% slope then a retaining wall is created and then there is no shield for the adjacent property owners. Mr. Dickens stated deeding the boundary to the City of Morganton would be even better.

Mr. Higgens, VP of Land Sales Crescent Communities, stated the elevation drop was a 200 foot drop and doesn’t seem to be developed. He stated he would be open for suggestions for preserving the barrier.

Mr. Gordon asked if the City of Morganton need a right of way along the slope property.

Mr. Lookadoo stated for future Greenway expansion. He stated there could be ways to protect the properties along Branstrom Drive.

Ms. Francis stated keeping the property as a conservation easement would be best suited as it will keep the property under the city’s tax base.

Mr. Gordon made a motion to rezone the property from LID to HID with an easement placed upon the slope/hillside, seconded by Mr. Smith.

Ms. Francis stated rezoning cannot have conditions of an easement. She stated that it can be suggested to the developer...

Motion amended, removing easement requirements.

Motion passes unanimously (6-0).


Mr. Lookadoo discussed the downtown Masterplan and encouraged planning commission members to attend the charrettes taking place on May 15th at the courthouse and the on May 16 at the Cats Building 116 W Union Street.

V. ADJOURN 6:15 p.m.

Next Regular Meeting: Thursday June 8th, 2017 at 5:15 PM

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