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Kure Beach To Consider Mixed-Use District; Lighting Rules

The Kure Beach Town Council will hold two public hearings at their December 17th, meeting to consider creating a new Mixed-Use Commercial Overlay District along K Avenue and another to consider amendments to the rules concerning commercial lighting.

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KURE BEACH - The Kure Beach Town Council will hold two public hearings at their December 17, meeting at 6:30PM.
The first is to hear public input on a proposal to amend the Town's Zoning Ordinance to add a new section titled, "K Avenue Mixed-Use Overlay District.
The new ordinance outlines a mixed-use overlay district on K Avenue from 3rd to 7th Avenues. Mixed-use will allow for commercial activity for those properties abutting K Avenue and would permit uses such as housing, retail, offices, commercial and civic uses. A Special Use Permit will be required for such uses.
According to the Town, the purpose is to provide development consistent with the Town's Land Use Plan.
Overlay districts or zones are established to define certain subareas within which development is subject to restrictions over and above those applicable to the underlying district. Within these overlay districts, any development that occurs must be in compliance not only with the regulations applicable to the underlying district but also with the additional requirements of the overlay district. The "K Avenue Mixed Use Overlay District" is such a district.
According to the Town's Planning Commission, Overlay districts are not required to be mapped on the official zoning map if the description of such zones in the zoning ordinance is sufficient to define their extent and application to specific properties.
In a memo to the Town Council from the Planning Commission earlier this month, it states the purpose and intent of the overlay district is to provide for development consistent with the Town of Kure Beach Land Use Plan. Also, to allow commercial activity along K Avenue to provide a link between the main downtown Commercial District and a commercial area in the interior of the Town that is zoned as neighborhood business and is in close proximity with key buildings such as Town Hall, the Fire and Police Stations.
The Commission believes the change will allow a mixture of complementary land uses that may include housing, retail, offices, commercial services and civic uses, "To create economic and social vitality" and, "To provide for the development of commercial and mixed-use areas that are safe, comfortable and attractive to pedestrians. To reinforce streets as public places that encourage pedestrian and bicycle travel."
The overlay district will consist of lots the entire length of K Avenue between Third Avenue and Seventh Avenue. A condition of applying for a special use permit under the provisions of the Overlay District is that any privately owned parking area intended to serve the subject project shall be subject to the provisions of the permit whether parking is located in the Overlay District or not.
Uses permitted by a special use permit in the district would include:
1. Churches and other places of worship, including parish houses and Sunday Schools.
2. Colleges, schools, public libraries, public museums, art galleries, and other public buildings.
3. Offices of resident members of recognized professions, such as doctors, dentists, engineers, lawyers, architects, where such professions are carried on within the premises.
4. Customary home occupations.
5. Miscellaneous retail.
6. Light food service (primarily counter service); seating for no more than 15 customers.
The amendment creating the overlay district addresses signs regulations.
According to the proposal, "Signs in the Mixed-Use area should be small, relatively unobtrusive and compatible with the neighborhood."
In addition to the normal regulations for signs, commercial signs can only be used in conjunction with an actual commercial activity occurring on the premises and may only be attached to the first floor of the building attached flush or projecting from the building.
Only one sign will be allowed per building. Any lighting for a commercial sign must be external, no internally lit signs allowed in the overlay district. Lighting will only be allowed during the hours of operation for the business and lighting for exterior signs must only illuminate the sign and may not "spill over" to neighboring residences.
The total area of a commercial sign shall not exceed 6 square feet and, "It is encouraged that any commercial sign be attractive, and artistic, such as a carved wooden sign."
To proposal states that no exposed neon conduit or tubing, interior or exterior neon window signs, interior or exterior LED signs, or lighting displays inside or outside the building so as to be visible from streets, parking areas or site boundaries are allowed.
The proposal states, "This includes tube lighting, strong lighting, LED lighting, or typical holiday lighting. Exceptions to this are typical holiday lighting and decorations which contain no commercial message."
Temporary "A" frame signs, or menu boards must be approved by the Town's Planning and Zoning Commission, to ensure that safety will be maintained and that a reasonable time frame for use is established.
The proposal also covers landscaping requirements between the street curb and buildings to promote and enhance a "comfortable pedestrian scale and orientation" to encourage pedestrian use of the area.
The proposal covers requirements for walls and fences, on-site tree preservation and "buffering".
For AC units, the proposal states, "In order to keep a harmonious look, HVAC units shall be in the back or side and concealed with landscaping or lattice, unless it can be shown that the same is not feasible. If the same is not feasible, additional screening may be required."
 There are also requirements for shielding trashcans, recycling containers and dumpsters.
For lighting, a detailed plan shall be submitted with preliminary drawings. Parking lot lights shall be shielded down with the lights being not more than ten feet high. Commercial entrance lights shall be shielded down and directed at the entrance to the property. Flood and security lights shall be shielded and aimed such as to not create glare on adjoining properties.
Accent lighting shall be low voltage and aimed at the objects to be accented only. All lighting shall be installed and aimed to minimize light trespassing across property lines. No lighting shall be aimed toward public streets causing public safety hazards. No laser lights will be allowed. No searchlights for advertising will be allowed.
When considering an application for a Special Use Permit, even if all of the conditions are met, the proposal states, "The Planning and Zoning Commission or Town Council may place additional requirements or conditions on the proposal through the Special Use process."
Another public hearing will be held to hear public input on a proposed amendment to the Code of Ordnances regarding "Illumination."
This would revise the current ordinance for commercial buildings to add prohibiting bare light sources visible from the outside of a building, except for holiday lighting permitted from Thanksgiving through the 15th of January of the next year.
The purpose stated by the Planning Commission is, "To curtail new trend of display of bright lights around windows, buildings, signs" and, "To add clarification to Sec. 19-378 in order to prevent the rays of illumination from being cast on neighboring buildings."
The current ordinance states, "Illumination devices such as, but not limited to, flood or spot lights shall be placed and shielded to prevent the rays o illumination from being cast upon neighboring buildings, pedestrians in public rights-of-way, end/or vehicles approaching from either direction."
The proposed amendment adds the following, "Bare light sources (including but not limited to festive light strands, incandescent, fluorescent, high intensity discharge, LED, fiber optics and neon) used to outline property lines, open sales areas, roof lines, doors, windows the edges of walls or any other area of the building or property visible from outside the building are prohibited, except for holiday lighting permitted from Thanksgiving through January 15th of the new year."