K-2 Solutions Drops Requests
K2 Solutions Inc. has officially withdrawn its application to rezone property on McIntosh Road to allow the training of bomb-sniffing dogs for the Marine Corps.
The request was removed from the public hearing part of the Moore County Board of Commissioners' Monday night agenda. At an Oct. 8 meeting, the county's Planning Board voted unanimously to recommend denial of the request.
The Southern Pines-based company has an application for a similar zoning request before the town of Aberdeen Board of Comm-issioners, which has delayed action on the request.
In a letter dated Oct. 14, Lane Kjellsen, president of K2 Solutions, noted that the planning panel voted against the rezoning request despite support from local businesses and the Chamber of Commerce.
However, in a response to Kjellsen's letter, Joey Raczkowski, county planning director, has taken issue with statements pertaining to the planning staff and the planning board.
K2 had asked the county to rezone about 95 acres on McIntosh Road from Residential Agricul-tural-40 to Rural Agricultural Conditional-Use District. The rezoning would have allowed the company to train dogs to detect bombs and other explosive devices for the military in such places as Iraq and Afghanistan. K2 already holds a contract with the Marines to train dogs for this purpose.
However, dozens of neighboring residents raised questions and objections on both occasions that the matter was presented to the planning board.
Because of contract scheduling requirements, the planning department speeded up the application process by calling a special planning board meeting for the morning of Sept. 21. Under that arrangement, the planning body was expected to make a recommendation for consideration by the Board of Commissioners, which was meeting that same night.
However, the Planning Board did not take a vote on the matter during the called meeting because a large number of residents showed up to ask questions and raise objections to the proposed zoning change. The meeting, expected to take no more than an hour, lasted three hours and 15 minutes.
The Planning Board decided to continue the public hearing until its next regular meeting Oct. 8. This prompted the commissioners to postpone their hearing and decision until the Planning Board could make a recommendation.
The neighbors returned when the board continued the public hearing. The only person speaking in favor of the rezoning, other than Kjellsen, was the owner of the property available to K2 Solutions for the dog training program.
Opponents mentioned such things as barking dogs, the detonation of explosives, and increased traffic on the rural road.
The site is about half a mile from Union Church Road between Vass and Carthage.
Kjellsen has said the dogs would not be excessively noisy and that detonation of explosives would be minimal throughout the training process. His application also described training procedures and strategy for safe storage and usage of all explosives.
A video describing the canine military training program was not shown during the planning board meeting because of an equipment malfunction.
In his letter to the planning department, Kjellsen said: "Given the decidedly negative stance of the Planning Commission, K2 Solutions Inc. chooses to withdraw our request for a conditional-use permit for the aforementioned property. It is our opinion that the monetary investment that will result in the establishment of the kennel facility, the jobs already created, and the influx of income to the hospitality industry will continue to benefit Moore County."
Responding to Kjellsen's letter, Raczkowski clarified the Planning Board action by citing portions of the Moore County land-use plan's vision statement.
The sections quoted are: "Preserve the agricultural, rural and small-town environment of Moore County by encouraging growth inside areas that wish to host it and encouraging continued farm, forest and recreational uses outside the boundaries of these areas" and "Respect the individual rights and responsibilities of property owners, their neighbors and taxpayers."
Kjellsen also quoted Raczkowski as saying that "rezoning should be considered only for 'desirable business development.'" The company president said he was surprised because Raczkowski's position was different in earlier conferences.
Raczkowski also pointed out that in making land-use decisions, the planning body must follow state law in taking into consideration factors relevant to the proposed use as applied to a particular piece of property, the effects of that use on adjacent areas and the degree of change of use allowed as a result of rezoning. He said these facts are gathered through the public review process.
"In this instance, the public review process resulted in a recommended denial of the proposed use on that one particular piece of property," Raczkowski wrote. "In no way should you feel that this decision necessarily represents how staff or the Planning Board would review a separate future request should you find a more appropriately located piece of property within the unincorporated jurisdiction of Moore County."
The letter closed by saying that the county hopes K-2 Solutions Inc. will find suitable property for its dog training operation.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at 693-2479 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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