Zoning Issues


At our board meeting on October 26, we voted to allow the developer (M/I Homes) of the Ballentine property to include a commercial component in their project.  The property is located off of old N.C. 86, not far from the future Twin Creeks Park.  When the total development was initially approved, it was all residential, and Phases 1 and 2 are currently being built.  But the developer re-worked their concept plans for Phases 3 and 4 in a way to allow a mix of residential and commercial development.  In fact, they did this at our request.  When they spoke to us about delays in this project back in 2009, we granted them an extension, and strongly suggested they look at including a commercial component if possible. 

Having come to us with what we suggested, I was hard-pressed (as were others on the board) to tell them to drop the idea.  The commercial component will not be a dominating feature of the design, a point that I believe is necessary with this first step in the northern area of town.  The board did express some concern that the total allowable residential build-out not come to fruition, and the developer assured the board that due to geographic constraints, this would not be possible.  When the developer returns to the board with their detailed project plan, the residential part of the project will be reviewed to make certain this is the case (specifically,  the final vote was to rezone the property from R-R/R-20 to R-10/B-3 Planned Unit Development).  

This was a big step for the board – to “put up or shut up” about efforts to try to get commercial development in the northern area.  Time will tell how this and other projects fare.

You can read more about this project here:

http://www.carrborocitizen.com/main/2010/10/28/board-approves-nta-commercial-zone/

At our board meeting last week on March 25, we held a public hearing on a rezoning request for 102 Center Street, a property on the east side of the street. There are several properties on Center Street of an historic nature, and the hearing prompted discussion about this.

The applicant’s request was to rezone the property to B-2 from R-7.5, so that they could operate certain businesses not currently allowed in the R-7.5 zone. The consensus of all of the neighbors who spoke was that while the current owner of the property planned to use the land for non-intrusive businesses, they feared that rezoning it to B-2 would allow future owners to have more intense uses, and might subject the entire block (and perhaps even the west side of Center Street) to eventual total B-2 zoning.

The board’s discussion also clearly leaned in favor of wanting to allow the applicant to operate the businesses it was proposing, but with hesitation about re-zoning the property to B-2. Several members felt that we should review this type of “fringe” zoning (properties on the fringe of commercial and residential); in other words, is there a type of zoning that would fall somewhere between B-2 and R-7.5 that might need to be explored and adopted? Or, should we explore a type of zoning that deals more specifically with properties of an historic nature? (Click HERE for details about this matter, and to read about the historic properties on Center Street).

Ultimately, the Board approved a recommendation from the Town Attorney to establish conditional zoning in the Town, thus providing a mechanism through which both the applicant and the Town can get what they want with this re-zoning. It also will give us time to take a prudent look at a new zoning scheme that we might want to consider, so that we assure conservation of our historic past.

The Town received an anonymous complaint about three taco trucks that have been operating in Carrboro over the past several months.

In response, staff provided the board with an informative memo about the situation, which showed that the trucks were in violation of a zoning ordinance (see the memo HERE, or on the DOCUMENTS page). It is my understanding that the trucks are not in violation of any county-regulated health laws. This issue has generated lots of discussion around town!

At the board meeting on Tuesday, February 5, the BOA agreed unanimously to ask staff to investigate ways to revise our land use ordinance to allow taco trucks to keep operating in Carrboro. Prior to the meeting, I researched the matter and was not surprised to find that many communities across the United States are dealing with this same issue. I found a few jurisdictions with laws that I believe can serve as a starting point for our revised or newly crafted ordinance. Personally, I believe it is entirely possible and desirable to keep these entrepreneurs operating. Our town has the largest growing Hispanic population in the state, and this form of eating establishment helps build our community and adds to our culinary and cultural diversity.