Aberdeen Close on K2 Site
The Aberdeen Town Board is closer to bringing a specialized dog-training facility to town, but it wants clearer definitions for what will be allowed in the town limits.
At its work session Thursday, the board discussed the wording of a proposed text amendment that would allow Southern Pines-based K2 Solutions Inc. to train 130 Labrador retrievers as bomb-sniffing dogs and detonate explosive devices for simulated military situations on property zoned for heavy industrial off N.C. 211.
Lane Kjellsen, president and founder of K2 Solutions, has a contract with the U.S. Marine Corps to train the dogs, and he hopes to expand his business to other forms of training in the area.
Commissioner Pat Ann McMurray and Mayor Pro Tem Robert Farrell toured K2's temporary facility in Scotland County Oct. 19 and presented their impressions to the board during discussion.
"I was impressed with [Kjellsen's] temporary facility," McMurray said.
Farrell also said he was im-pressed by the company's reach and potential ability to bring more people to Aberdeen.
"He had about 40 employees," Farrell said. "Any time you can bring potential business to town with 40 employees, I think that's something to look at. There's a number of people that have relocated just to work for him."
McMurray added that she never heard a dog bark the entire time she was at the facility and that the facility bordered several residences on its five-acre tract.
Planning Director Kathy Liles also said she checked with Scotland County Animal Control and the Humane Society and found that no complaints have been made about the temporary facility, though a standard kennel had been in place before K2 Solutions began training there.
Board members were more concerned about the wording of the proposed amendment than about what K2 solution wants to do on its property.
Liles reminded the board that the amendment allows generic kennels, not specifically K2 Solutions.
"I don't like the words 'kennel' and 'explosive'," commissioner Donna Sharon said. "Something sounds like it's just not quite right."
The board agreed that clear definitions must be included as to what types of enterprise would be allowed in heavy industrial zones.
"Not having definitions has caught us before," Sharon said.
The board wanted to make it clear that the amendment would only allow these types of facilities in its heavy industrial zones that are larger than 50 acres. Currently, the only heavy industrial zone meeting this standard is the property K2 Solutions is considering.
After discussion, the board decided that two text amendments should be submitted to address the question of animal boarding and the presence of explosives in the town's heavy industrial zones.
The board asked that one amendment explicitly allow a "specialized dog-training facility," eliminate the word "kennel" from the text and provide a clear definition of "specialized training." The other amendment will address the storage and handling of explosives within town limits.
Currently, the town's ordinances do not address the possession of explosives.
The board also reviewed the rezoning request from Habitat for Humanity of the NC Sandhills. Habitat has asked the town to rezone land in the Midway Community, between Midway Road and Bronwyn Street, from R-20 residential to R-15 to allow construction of a Habitat neighborhood.
Habitat originally applied for R-10 residential rezoning to allow more homes on the 12.83-acre property but reapplied for R-15 to accommodate concerns of both Bronwyn Street residents and the Town Board.
Habitat construction manager Robert Bunke presented the new project plans to the board and highlighted larger lots, fewer homes and a larger buffer of green space bordering the Bronwyn lots.
"It bumps up the price for our homeowners another $7,000," Brunke said. "That's the only downside really for us."
The board expressed a general tone of approval over the plans and believed the proposal to be a "nice compromise."
Maurice Holland Sr., president of the Midway Community Association, spoke about the previous meeting between Habitat Executive Director Elizabeth Cox and residents of Midway and Bronwyn Street on Oct. 19. He said he felt the meeting gave residents from both communities a chance to air grievances about the project. The board will hold a public hearing on the rezoning of the property at its meeting Nov. 9.
In order to accommodate Habitat for Humanity's grant deadlines for the project, the board also agreed to hold a special call meeting at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 16 to vote on the project. Normally, the board waits a month to vote on such matters.
In other business, the board voted 3-2 to reject a text amendment to allow indoor assembly in Aberdeen's Downtown Retail Overlay District. Janet Kenworthy, of The Rooster's Wife concert series, asked the town for the change so she could establishing an indoor venue.
The board also gave Public Works Director Rickie Monroe the go ahead to begin a town recycling program to abide by a new state law banning plastic bottles in landfills. The board also gave Monroe approval to order 2,700 95-gallon recycling bins for Aberdeen residents. Monroe plans to send Aberdeen residents a letter detailing the new project in the next few weeks.
Hannah Sharpe can be reached at (910) 693-2485.
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