Aberdeen Board Approves Habitat Subdivision in Midway
The Aberdeen Planning Board on Thursday approved a preliminary plat submitted by Habitat for Humanity of the NC Sandhills for a subdivision on 12.83 acres of land zoned as R-20 residential in the Midway community.
The subdivision, called Midway Gardens, will include 18 lots along one street leading into the community from Midway Road.
"I've been here before," said Elizabeth Cox, executive director of Habitat.
Habitat applied for rezoning of the land for both R-10 and R-15 residential for a project that would allow more homes on the property.
The board had earlier recommended rezoning the property under both the R-10 and R-15 districts, but the town Board of Commissioners ultimately denied the rezoning request last November.
Habitat now hopes to build the project under the property's current zoning regulations, which require a minimum house size of 1,400 square feet.
"This is a development that is very important to the citizens of Midway," Cox said. "There's been a lot of disappointment from [them] in the past."
Cox added that the project will provide affordable housing to young people in a rapidly aging community.
Planning Board member Owen Gallagher recused himself from the vote since he chairs the family selection committee for Habitat.
Representatives of Habitat and residents of the Midway community expressed excitement and gratitude after the board's vote. Though Habitat and Midway residents have been through a long process in efforts to make the project a reality, they still need approval from the Board of Commissioners to proceed.
The board also recommended approval of a zoning code text amendment to specify where electronic gaming operations can be located in Aberdeen.
"The text amendment before you is a sign of changing times," Planning Director Kathy Liles said.
Electronic gaming operations are Internet cafes that provide gaming terminals for patrons to buy time and play games either as a main business use or as an accessory use, such as games found in bars.
In December 2008, a state law banning server-based gaming terminals went into effect.
While a lawsuit questioning the legality of electronic gaming operations is wending its way through the state courts, many municipalities are amending town ordinances to address the gaming operations.
Aberdeen's current zoning ordinance does not address electronic gaming operations. The proposed amendment would ensure that Aberdeen will be prepared to address applications for the operations if they are permissible.
"If it's legal, we've got to find a place in Aberdeen for it," Liles said.
The board's recommendation would restrict game operations to areas zoned highway commercial and limits the hours of operation between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. seven days a week.
Several board members were careful to make sure that the amendment include distinctions between electronic gaming operations and Wi-Fi hot spots, where people can bring their own computers to use the Internet.
The amendment defines electronic gaming operations as businesses where gaming terminals are provided, and patrons have the opportunity to win monetary or merchandise-based prizes.
Liles also gave the board updates about ongoing projects with the town, such as the definitions of retail and entertainment within the Downtown Retail Overlay District (DROD).
Liles invited board members and the public to attend the Board of Commissioners work session next Thursday to hear Betsy Kane, a community development planner from the Department of Consumer Affairs, give feedback on the town's language about retail within the DROD.
The board will also hear a presentation on vibrant centers, transit and green space based on the recommendations compiled by 15 counties and city governments at a 2009 summit called Reality Check. The summit brought governing bodies together to discuss principles of quality growth in communities.
The work session begins at 5:30 p.m. at the Robert N. Page Municipal Building.
Hannah Sharpe can be reached at (910) 693-2485.
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