Aberdeen Board OK's Rezoning Land for Habitat Homes
Aberdeen's Planning Board hopes residents of the Midway community and Bronwyn Estates can come to agreement after it approved rezoning land bordering both communities for Habitat homes.
The Planning Board voted to recommend that the town commissioners approve rezoning 12.83 acres from R-20 residential to R-10 residential, allowing a larger number of houses on the property for a Habitat for Humanity project in the Midway community.
Most of the 25 residents at the meeting came to voice their views on the project, which is located north of Midway Road and south of Bronwyn Street.
Representatives from Habitat for Humanity of the N.C. Sandhills spoke in favor of rezoning, along with Maurice B. Holland Sr., president of the Midway Community Association.
"The land has been a part of Midway all my life, and I'm 65 years old," Holland said.
Holland said the land was a baseball field for community ball games when he was a child. In more recent years, the lot was used as a dump site by the N.C. Department of Transportation.
Elizabeth Cox, executive director of Habitat, asked the board and residents to consider the types of people who benefit from the organization's program. She described them as people who care for society in their jobs: teaching, working as care-givers and providing medical assistance, among other professions.
She also mentioned that the project has the support of the community and that water and sewer is available -- two factors that are usually more difficult for Habitat to achieve.
According to Cox, a R-10 zoning will allow Habitat to build 30 homes in Midway and revitalize the aging community.
Without the rezoning, Habitat would not be able to build there because the minimum housing size for a R-20 zone -- 1,400 square feet -- is too large. The R-10 requires a minimum of 1,000 square feet.
Residents from Bronwyn Estates voiced concerns about what would take place on land that is visible from their backyards. Most of them said they could live with R-20 housing, which would allow 15 homes instead of 30 with R-10. They also expressed concerns that the the change could lead to decreases in property values, increased crime rates, and a gradual shift away from the area's family-oriented values.
Holland countered that residents of Midway and Bronwyn Estates have similar goals when considering the types of people the project will bring to the area. He noted Habitat's application and screening process for selecting homeowners.
"This is the opportunity of a lifetime to revitalize our community without disturbing your community," Holland said to Bronwyn residents.
Members of the board agreed with Holland.
"It's about time that Midway got a boost," said Johnny Ransdell, who made the motion for approval. "I think it would enhance the Midway use without damaging the [neighboring] R-20."
Board member Owen Gallagher abstained from discussion and the vote because he is a member of Habitat for Humanity.
Representatives for Habitat announced plans to hold a community meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, at the Habitat board room on N.C. 5 in Aberdeen. They invited members from both the Midway and Bronwyn communities to come discuss the project and ask questions.
Among other items on the agenda, the board elected Bob Rigsby as the new chairman and Ransdell as the new vice chairman, since former Chairman Broadus Combs left the board. The meeting was also the first for newly appointed in-town member Joe Dannely.
The Planning Board also approved the town staff's recommendation of preliminary plat for an 11-lot subdivision on the corner of Bethesda Avenue and Campbell Street. The board approved the item as a final plat, which was recommended by Planning Director Kathy Liles.
Liles also presented a brief update on the progress of the Unified Development Ordinance, including a new list of criteria for land clearing standards from the Appearance and Beautification committee, reconsideration for downtown revitalization in the master plan and evaluation of the point system proposed for open and recreational space criteria.
The board will meet again Oct. 15.
Hannah Sharpe can be reached at (910) 693-2485.
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