S.P. Moving Closer on PUD District
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The Southern Pines Planning Board decided Tuesday to hold a third special work session on creation of a proposed Planned Unit Development (PUD) zoning district after hearing a presentation from a consulting firm.
Meg Nealon, designer with LandDesign's Charlotte office, went over proposed procedures in a PUD application process with the advisory board. The second work session was held at the Train House on the town-owned Campbell House property off East Connecticut Avenue, and attracted between 25 and 30 spectators.
A PUD is intended to be flexible to accommodate different, large land-use projects, she said. It also allows for every stage of development following town approval of a master plan to be handled in a series of "incremental" plans, to be submitted as detailed site plans.
"On a PUD, you are getting approval rights on every detail abut the site," she told the board.
There would be a permitted uses table, she said, which the developer can propose. The designated town board, probably the Town Council, would have to approve the permitted uses, said board member John McInerney, a former councilman.
"The entire thing is conditional," she said. "You are going through a conditional process where nothing is allowed by right. The town can decide what proposed uses are going to be allowed at each step."
Following about two hours of discussion, board Chairman Chris Arnold announced that a third work session would be scheduled to go over a draft of the ordinance text that Nealon prepared.
The development standards included in the draft are based on suggestions at the first work session held Sept. 11.
Most of the discussion Tuesday centered on the process to be followed when a PUD application for rezoning is submitted.
The first and so far only proposed PUD is Pine Needles Village. The developers asked the town to create a PUD category in the zoning ordinance and then rezone nearly 1,000 acres between U.S. 1 and Camp Easter Road to the new district. The proposed development would have more than 1,100 residential units -- a mix of single- and multi-family -- shops and other retail businesses, a hotel and offices.
The Bell family owns the property. The family also owns Pine Needles and Mid Pines Resorts. The rezoning would cover Pine Needles.
Arnold said that after the next work session, he hoped the board could schedule a public hearing. The board called off a hearing Aug. 24 after Kelly Miller, CEO of Pine Needles and Mid Pines, withdrew the rezoning request until the PUD is worked out.
Miller and an entourage that included attorney John May have attended both special planning board work sessions.
Although a list of permissible uses is to be part of the ordinance, actual development of a particular piece of property can be strictly controlled by the Town Council, Nealon said.
"I want to be sure we're able to approve or reject specific uses," McInerney said Tuesday.
The board did agree by consensus that each step of the site planning and incremental plan process must go to the advisory planning board, then to the Town Council, not just to the planning staff, after the master plan and rezoning are approved.
McInerney insisted that Southern Pines residents would want their elected council to review and approve everything related to a project. Elizabeth Whitmore, a member of the board and a professional planner, agreed.
The procedure will include staff review of the application and recommendation on a site plan to determine whether it is in compliance with town zoning and planning ordinances; a public hearing and vote by the Planning Board; and a public hearing and final vote by the Town Council.
Town Planning Director Bart Nuckols recommended that instead of the current 25-day lead time for most projects, 45 days would be best for a PUD application.
Because of the size of these projects and the impact they would have on such things as roads and schools, the Planning Board wants other agencies such as the Moore County Board of Education, the N.C. Department of Transportation and the Moore County Emergency Medical Services departments to review the plans.
The NCDOT currently reviews projects requesting driveway permits on state-maintained roads and stipulates any traffic safety or efficiency improvements the developer would have to make to obtain the permit.
The NCDOT has a formula applied to developments that lists expected traffic volume at peak hours, Nealon said. If the town wanted a more sophisticated, detailed study and greater improvements from the developer than the NCDOT, it could require it, Nealon said.
Also addressed will be environmental impact, tree surveys, wetlands and other endangered animals, plants and historic sites.
Arnold said LandDesign, which is drafting the proposed PUD zoning amendment and is developing the plans for Pine Needles Village, began meeting with Nuckols and Town Manager Reagan Parsons late last year to discuss the proposed project. That was well before any application or specifics of the master plan or the project were on paper or made public.
After finding out what the parameters were in town ordinances and codes, the developer submitted a written application to the town to create a PUD zoning district and to rezone the property to the new category.
Sara Lindau can be reached at 693-2473 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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