Davidson’s Town Board on Tuesday night agreed to defer considering a major rezoning of an area along N.C. 73 east of town that includes the former Davidson East site. The move will give the town time to hire a consultant to draw up a new master plan for the 180-acre site and to adjust proposed zoning map and text amendments.
The board had been in the midst of a multi-meeting public hearing on a proposal to rewrite town planning rules to make it easier for developers to propose corporate and industrial parks in the area, particularly on the Davidson East property.
Tuesday’s action came after pleas by the site’s owner, Community One Bank of Asheboro, to put off the rezoning, which would transform what the bank can do with the property it inherited in a December 2009 foreclosure. The bank had complained during previous sessions of the public hearing that it had not been included in the decision to rezone the property and that it needed more time to study the potential effects of the rezoning.
At a meeting earlier this month, Community One Bank’s consultants told Davidson’s commissioners that their vision for an industrial park on the Davidson East site wasn’t feasible. Consultants Norman Walters and Walter Fields said the site is smaller than typical industrial parks. They also said land and development costs and the likely absence of local incentives would keep any corporate park on the site from being competitive with other sites in the region.
Community One Bank officials at Tuesday’s meeting were pleased with the delay. “That’s the direction we wanted to go in,” lawyer Susan Irvin, representing Community One, said.
Bank One would like to sell the property, but officials have said uncertainty about the property’s zoning could make that difficult.
Town officials have said that making the site more attractive for a corporate or industrial park is in keeping with the town’s goals of boosting economic development and job growth. The ordinance changes were recommended in part in a site-readiness study prepared with the help of Duke Energy a year ago.
Town Manager Leamon Brice told the board Tuesday the town has received another $5,000 grant from Duke Energy to conduct another study. The town will match the Duke Energy money with $5,000 of its own.
“The goal is to create a master plan for this property,” Mr. Brice told the board.
Given that the town now has an opportunity to work on a new site plan, Mr. Brice said the town staff recommended that “we would stop our process, site tight where we are,” and develop the new master plan with the help of a consultant and in consultation with the property owner. “That will probably influence the text amendments that we have recommended.”
So the proposed amendments will not be put to a vote on the board’s April agenda. Because of the late timing of the delay, the Davidson Planning Board is required to consider a recommendation on the amendments, though Mr. Brice said it could decide to offer no recommendation.
The board agreed to put off the matter. Commissioner Connie Wessner said, “I would feel more comfortable with the extra time.”
March 7, 2011, “Public hearing resumes Tues. on N.C. 73 zoning.”
Feb. 10, 2011, “Speakers question proposed Davidson East zone change.”
Jan. 31, 2011, “Feb. 8 hearing airs rules changes for Davidson East”
Dec. 22, 2009, “Corporate park envisioned at Davidson East, off N.C. 73″