Amendments on Kennel, Explosive Get Board's Attention
BY HANNAH SHARPE
The main discussion during the Aberdeen Town Board meeting Monday night centered around a public hearing on a proposed amendment to the zoning ordinance regarding kennels and explosives.
The amendment came about as a result of a request from K2 Solutions Inc., a Southern Pines-based firm, which approached the town about setting up an operation on land zoned industrial on N.C. 211 to train at least 112 Labrador retrievers for the U.S. Marine Corps. The dogs would be training to sniff out bombs.
K2 has since dropped the application, but town leaders said the request made them realize the need to have language in the ordinance on both kennels and explosives in certain zoning districts.
The amendment on kennels defines various types of animal facilities: veterinary clinics, animal shelters, grooming services, small and large kennels and specialized dog training facilities.
Most of the facilities would be in areas zoned for commercial and light industry, while facilities that would have larger numbers of animals could be in heavy industrial zones.
All of the facilities require conditional-use permits for operation, except the specialized dog training category, which can only operate in a heavy industrial zone under the same requirements as a large kennel.
No one spoke during the hearing. But board members raised questions about regulating the number of animals within a given category.
Under a conditional-use permit, the town could impose specific terms like the number of animals on a case-by-case basis. Board members said they want a defined limit for the number of animals in each category so the town can effectively enforce its regulations.
The second part of the text amendment defines the standards for handling explosives in conjunction with the special dog training facilities based on federal and state regulations.
Though the town does not have a lot of authority to regulate the use of explosives, the board wanted to include language in its zoning code to address the storage and presence of explosives within certain districts.
The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms regulates standards for the use and proper storage of explosives, while the Aberdeen Fire Department also maintains local oversight in the use of explosives within town limits.
The language restricts the storage of explosives to the town's commercial light and heavy industry districts.
In other business, Planning Director Kathy Liles also presented different definitions of "retail" to the board in preparation for discussion on the Downtown Retail Overlay District (DROD) at its Feb. 25 work session. The board asked for a clearer definition of "retail" at its January work session.
Town staff members looked at language defining retail used by other municipalities similar to the size and population of Aberdeen. They found that most of the towns do not define retail, but rather they explicitly list the forms of retail that are legal within certain zones. The ones that did defined retail as the sale of "goods or wares."
Since she was unable to consult other textbooks online, Liles also reviewed the textbooks that Mayor Betsy Mofield uses to teach her marketing classes at Pinecrest High School. The book's definition lists the sale of goods, but it also includes the sale of services and entertainment as "products for general or household use."
After hearing the list of definitions, Commissioner Alan Parker suggested that the board draft an "all-encompassing" definition, including the two examples presented.
The Town Board established the DROD in 1993 to preserve the retail business climate within downtown.
Though the ordinance mainly addresses retail as the sale of goods, the ordinance also allows businesses offering personal and financial services to operate within the district.
The board also approved amendments to its 2010 budget to accommodate upcoming projects and programs, including the town's curbside recycling program, which is set to begin March 1.
The board approved the amendment for the program despite the fact that the town is currently looking for a new facility that will accept unsorted recyclables. The town initially partnered with a facility in Wagram for its recycling program that would allow residents to put all of their recyclables into one 95-gallon container without sorting them.
Town Manager Bill Zell told the board that the Wagram facility is closing at the end of the month because the facility cannot get enough labor to separate the recyclables.
The town has already purchased the 95-gallon containers for the project.
Zell stressed the importance of not requiring residents to sort recyclables, which should increase participation in the program.
"If you can't co-mingle it, they're not going to do it," Zell said. "It's too much of a hassle."
Zell said the town intends to find a temporary solution to begin the program on schedule.
He also added that the town is considering facilities in Raleigh and Fayetteville as potential options.
Mayor Mofield read two letters of thanks from Robert N. Page III and the family of John Curtis McInnis. The town dedicated its municipal building to Robert N. Page, Page III's grandfather, and its rotunda to McInnis at a ceremony Jan. 21.
Hannah Sharpe can be reached at (910) 693-2485.
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