Dog-Training Site Rezoning Put on Hold
A Southern Pines-based company must wait another month on a rezoning decision that will allow bomb-sniffing dog training at a site on McIntosh Road between Cameron and Carthage.
The Moore County Board of Commissioners on Monday decided to delay a public hearing and a decision until the Oct. 19 meeting on the proposed dog training project.
In another matter, the commissioners voted to hold a public hearing in October on a $15,000 economic incentive to encourage the Eaton Corp. to make a $2 million investment that would bring 40 jobs to the county.
The commissioners based their decision to delay action on the dog-training issue on a recommendation from the Planning Board, which dealt with a flurry of questions and public comment at a special meeting held earlier in the day.
Planning Director Joey Raczkowski told the commissioners that the Planning Board met for three hours and 15 minutes to hear the request from K2 Solutions Inc., which holds a contract with the military to train Labrador retrievers to detect bombs and other explosive devices.
"There were a lot of questions and a lot of public comment," Raczkowski said of the unexpectedly long Planning Board meeting.
Dozens of people who live in the community near the 95-acre site also showed up for the commissioners' meeting Monday night.
"Our board is in no position to take action until it moves through the Planning Board process," Commissioner Tim Lea said in an explanation directed at the estimated 30 individuals present for the rezoning hearing.
Lea made the motion to table the matter until Oct. 19.
Raczkowski assured everyone that the matter would be re-advertised and adjacent property owners would again be notified when the next meetings are held.
However, for conditional-use district rezoning, the commissioners are required to hold a quasi-judicial hearing, not a legislative public hearing. The hearings differ in that only factual information is presented for consideration at quasi-judicial hearings, while public opinion is taken into consideration at legislative hearings. For quasi-judicial hearings, speakers are sworn to tell the truth, similar to what happens in a courtroom setting.
K2 Solutions plans to train 112 dogs to sniff out explosive devices, then to train Marines to handle the dogs. The firm has made an offer on the tract, located about half a mile from Union Church Road. The area is presently zoned Residential Agricultural-40.
Ray Ogden, executive director of Partners in Progress, has been working with K2 Solutions officials to secure the project, which amounts to a new small industry. The company has already hired 35 professional dog trainers to work for the duration of the one-year contract with the Marines.
Because of deadlines in the contract, the Planning Board agreed to hold a special meeting on the morning prior to the commissioners' regular meeting to expedite the process.
Now the applicant must wait another month to determine whether the work can be done in Moore County or if the company must find a site in another county.
In other industry-related business, the commissioners agreed to call a public hearing for their Oct. 5 meeting to consider the economic development incentive to offset the cost of the move by the Eaton Corp.
Ogden told the board that Eaton Corp's Golf Pride Group is considering two locations in Southern Pines for division headquarters and a research and development operation. The move would represent 40 jobs and about $2 million in new investment in Moore County.
Under the agreement, if approved, the incentive would be paid at the time the contracted number of people and investments are made, according to Ogden.
The commissioners conducted two public hearings on planning matters during the Monday meeting. Both items came to the board with unanimous recommendations by the Planning Board.
The board voted to adopt a series of text amendments to the zoning ordinance to correct language, remove duplications and eliminate conflicting materials. The changes affect such things as project edge buffers in development standards on landscaping materials and the street subsection in development standards.
In the other matter, the board approved a rezoning request to change 32.12 acres of a 967.97-acre tract from Rural Agricultural to I-1 Light Industrial. The property is located at 148 Flowers Road in Eagle Springs, a site used by T.H. Blue Inc. since 1976 for a mulching business.
The change will close a gap in the zoning for the area. In this case, the county's Planning Department was the applicant for the change.
No one signed up to speak during either hearing, and the board's vote for approval was unanimous in both cases.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at 693-2479 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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