Planners OK Permit For New School
A new school proposed near West End will receive a conditional-use permit for construction in zoning districts designated for residential and agricultural uses.
The Moore County Planning Board voted unanimously Thursday night to grant the conditional-use permit for the school to be built on a 25.42-acre tract adjacent to the existing West Pine Middle School on N.C. 211. The site will have access by Archie Road as well as along an extension of the existing driveway to West Pine.
During a public hearing on the request, the owner of neighboring property raised objections because of heavy traffic expected once the school is operational.
Donnie Corcoran was the only person who signed up to speak during the hearing, other than two representatives of the school proposal.
John Hawthorne, supervisor of construction for the Moore County School System, tried to assure Corcoran that road improvements would alleviate her concerns. He told of plans by the N.C. Department of Transportation to add school lanes and left-turn and right-turn lanes at the school. Hawthorne said this should eliminate some traffic on Archie Road and added that the campus is being designed to avoid heavy lines of backup traffic when drivers drop off and pick up school children.
Hawthorne also said the campus layout and buffering would help the situation.
"That's not the problem. The problem is the traffic," Corcoran said.
Board members asked a number of questions of Hawthorne and architect Mollie Wood. Kim VonCanon sympathized with Corcoran's concerns about traffic conditions near a school, and Martha Blake asked about alternative routing.
However, Hawthorne said all feasible alternatives had been explored. He also said that regulations and guidelines established by the N.C. Department of Insurance, NCDOT and the state school administration prohibit the designated use of certain drives by both school buses and private vehicles.
Dave Kinney asked how many people live in the area across from the school site. Told that several others own property and live in the area, he asked why the others were not present to add their voices to Corcoran's. She replied that apparently they were depending on her to serve as their spokesperson.
Kinney recalled that the county has an ordinance requiring developers to hold informational meetings with the public before major developments are initiated. Although a school is not usually regarded as a development, Kinney said that in cases such as this, it might be a good idea to hold public meetings before the school system proceeds with plans for a new school building.
Despite their questions about the site, board members gave unanimous approval to the conditional-use permit but with a series of conditions attached at the recommendation of staff planner Tim Garner. Kinney made the motion.
Conditions apply to such things as playground security, lighting, buffering and screening.
The new school, which is part of the public schools' capital improvement plan, will accommodate about 650 students. At present the property is a mix of open land and timberland. The school will be served by public water and sewer lines.
In other business Thursday the board approved a conditional-use permit requested by Michael Moore for property west of Hoffman Road at the end of Speight Road. This 31.5-acre parcel is zoned Rural Agricultural-2.
Moore asked for the permit in order to place a manufactured home as an accessory dwelling unit on the property.
Planning technician Robert Farrell recommended approval but with a series of conditions attached to the permit.
More like this story