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Back You are here: Home News Local and State News Local Carolina Beach Planning Commission Votes Against RV Park Rezoning

Carolina Beach Planning Commission Votes Against RV Park Rezoning

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Winner RV Park on N. Lake Park Blvd is requesting the Town to rezone a portion of over 2.5 acres of land in an area on Goldsboro Ave.
The Carolina Beach Planning and Zoning Commission voted at their April 12 meeting to recommend Town Council deny the request.
The Winner RV Park is located in the Highway Business District adjacent to an R-1 residential district. The rezoning would allow expansion of commercial uses into a traditionally quiet residential district of Town serving older single story residential homes.
Goldsboro Avenue, off N. Lake Park Blvd across from the Last Resort Bar, is one of the smallest public right-of-ways in Town at 34-feet of street width and low traffic volume.
According to Town Planning Director Ed Parvin, it appears that the Highway Business District boundary was somewhat arbitrarily set at 400' from Lake Park Blvd in this section of town. The boundary line splits this parcel. Section 2.3 (6) of the town's zoning ordinance instructs that "In the event that a district boundary line on the zoning map divides a platted lot held in one (1) ownership on the date of passage of this ordinance, each part of the lot so divided shall be used in conformity with the district in which each part is located." Therefore, in order for the applicant, M. Troy Slaughter, to develop the entire parcel with a commercial use, it would be necessary to re-zone the portion of the property currently zoned R-1 residential."
Parvin explained, "According to Article 22.7 Prohibition of certain testimony, “Under a general rezoning, the applicant shall be prohibited from offering any testimony or evidence concerning the specific manner in which he intends to use or develop the property.”  The purpose of this section of the ordinance is to emphasize that zoning map amendments open the land up to all the uses in the new zoning district and are not tied to a specific project.  In other words if rezoned, Mr. Slaughter or any future owners of the property will be able to develop the lots for any uses authorized in the HB zoning district."
RV Parks are not currently permitted in the Highway Business District.
On Monday March 19, Parvin said the applicant expressed a desire to obtain the rezoning and then come back to the Council for a zoning amendment to permit RV Parks in the Highway Business District. Parvin said such an allowance would most likely be done under a conditional use permit (CUP) process requiring further Council approval with conditions.
Parvin explained, "The site proposed for rezoning is located on the north side Goldsboro Avenue.  Currently there is a nonconforming mobile home park located on the site.  The mobile home park would be nonconforming in R-1 or HB.  There are nine (9) mobile homes located on this site."
The site proposed for rezoning is bordered on the east by property that is also owned by Mr. Slaughter.  This property contains the home for the manager of the travel trailer park that is located in HB and fronts on Lake Park Blvd.  According to the applicant the travel trailer park accommodates up to 21 recreational vehicles/campers.
There are two large tracts of land on the north which are both undeveloped.  The eastern tract has never been developed, while the western tract is the former site of Diversicare Assisted Living Service.
Although zoned for single family or duplexes, small-scaled single-family homes are located on Goldsboro Avenue to the south and west of Mr. Slaughter’s property. 
Parvin explained, " Both the 2007 Land Use Plan and the current language of the zoning ordinance speak against changing the character of the residential areas and/or avoiding high traffic uses on smaller residential streets such as Goldsboro."
Parvin explained, "Staff has concerns for the rezoning request for the following reasons" the first being, "No rezoning request can be considered in complete compliance with the 2007 Land Use Plan due to the land classification areas being drawn almost identical to the zoning district boundaries; however this request will extend a highway business district well back into a residential area."
Parvin explained, "The zoning map amendment does appear to conflict with the 2007 Land Use Plan’s policies that continuously reiterate the desire to protect our residential areas from more intense uses such as those allowed in the HB zoning district."
He explained, "Goldsboro has a small right-of-way (34 feet) that is not designed to support high levels of traffic as are typical for HB zoned areas. A conditional use permit was denied in 2007 across the street based on high density and traffic concerns with a project presenting 5 small single family homes on a 13,500 square foot piece of property."
He explained there is a significant amount of existing undeveloped land and vacant storefronts in HB and, "Expanding the district could encourage more commercial blight."
Parvin explained one concern is, "Out of the R-1 area being rezoned you could potentially make 5 conforming HB lots available for any use in HB (i.e. drive thru restaurant, gas station, retail, etc)."
On Tuesday April 10, Planning Director Ed Parvin said, "I've been spending 90% of my time taking calls from neighbors who are not happy with the rezoning request."
Parvin said some owners of neighboring properties have called just to get information, but didn't express an opinion.
Adjacent property owner Allen Masterson says he had no problem with extending the Highway Business District, but not as far back into the residential area as requested by the applicant. He also said there's a difference between a short term RV Park and a long term trailer park where people stay for months on end. He said several currently staying at the park next door to his property have been there for the long term, one for almost two years.
Back in 2001 Masterson says he wanted to open an upscale RV Park. In June of 2001, the owners of the Winner RV Park opposed his request and ultimately the Town Council voted to remove RV Parks anywhere in town. That grandfathered the Winner RV Park. At the time in 2001 the owners said they hoped to redevelop the park to another commercial use within five years.
He said, "I'm in favor or people doing what they want with their land, but there's too many if's in this case" saying the rezoning could open the door for other commercial uses deep into a residential neighborhood.
During the Planning Commission's April 12, meeting the applicant was not present.
Alan Masterson stated his earlier opinion and said, "I think it's generously zoned now  several hundred feet down Goldsboro as commercial zoning and I can't see... where you could rezone it and open it up for retail businesses all the way down Goldsboro Avenue no matter what the intent of the owner is" and, "I am opposed for that purpose that I think it already reaches far enough down Goldsboro and the zoning  is about where it should be."
Goldsboro resident Catherine Pope said she was at a meeting in 2007 to oppose a conditional use permit on the same street and, "I never dreamed in a million years that I would be back here to oppose something even worse."
She explained there are nine mobile home owners that have been located there for many years. She said they live in one and manage another beside it.
She said the mobile homes in that area are grandfathered in and, "Can not possibly find another place in New Hanover County to put them because they are all old and can't stand being moved. It cost $1,600 to move one and then you have to get permits for plumbing, electrical" and other issues and, "You're looking at $4,000 for the owner of that mobile home to move it anywhere. That would be a very big problem for several of those homeowners."
Pope said the infrastructure on Goldsboro Avenue is not adequate enough to handle increased commercial development beyond single-family homes. She said when the rest-home was still in operation the Town would often have to come out to service the sewer lines due to various issues. She said with increased commercial development, it will cost the Town money to improve water and sewer lines.
Goldsboro Avenue property owner John Creech said he and several family members that own property in the area have concerns with infrastructure demand in the area.
He also questioned how they would handle RV access to their property in a residential area and said it would create excessive traffic congestion for surrounding streets.
Local resident Charles Mullens expressed his opposition to the rezoning request and pointed to minutes of meetings in 2001 where the Town moved to eliminate RV parks as a use in Town. He said a representative of the current applicant spoke against Mr. Masterson's application to open an RV park.
Mullens said, "They were actually saying it didn't add anything to the advantage of Carolina Beach and that within five years they were going to phase their own [park] out. I know times change and people change, but these were the conditions in 2001."
Commissioner Greg Reynolds said it was unfortunate the applicant wasn't at the meeting.
Commission Brett Keeler said  the larger issue is expanding commercial districts into residential zones being too focused on the property owners desires rather than the best interest of the Town as a whole.
Commissioner Sarah Efird said she opposed the zoning because it's encroaching on a residential area where people purchased property with the expectation of living in a residential area.
Commissioner Greg Reynolds said he understands having one piece of property zoned the same, but, "The negatives out weigh that by far. If I had a single-family home I would be up in arms as you guys are. There is no buffer zone between that" and residential areas.
He said, "It seems to be to the benefit of the land owner and not to the Town" and, "If you are going to go through the trouble of using our time, you should be here to at least state your case."
Keeler said of the applicant, "When you are on public record when you speak against a certain issue, you better make sure your perspective on that issue stays the same because if you double back years later it will bite you."
Keeler made a motion to deny the request based on inconsistency with the Land Use Plan and other long range planning documents.
The Board voted unanimously. Several members were not present for various reasons but there were enough members present to hold the meeting.