Aberdeen Seeks Input on Downtown Zoning
The Aberdeen Board of Commissioners is ready to hear public opinion and address issues regarding the downtown in the new year.
During a work session Tuesday, board members said they anticipate a response from the downtown business community and town residents about the efficiency of the town's Downtown Retail Overlay District (DROD), an ordinance established in 1993 to protect the downtown business climate.
The board has invited members of the Aberdeen Business Guild, as well as homeowners and property owners in the B1-Central Business District, to come voice their opinions at its meeting Monday night.
Mayor Betsy Mofield said she looks forward to an "information-receiving night," with hopes of "getting new voices to the table."
"I would love to hear from the people who live, work and play down here," Mofield said.
Though opinions vary among board members about how much change, if any, is needed, they all agree that it deserves revisiting.
"It's not the same kind of business atmosphere [as in 1993]," Commissioner Jim Thomas said. "It's time that we look at some of the things for whatever reason we seem to be so dramatically against."
Commissioner Alan Parker said the existence of the ordinance itself shows that town officials care about downtown, but he also suggested that small, sequential changes should be implemented to make the ordinance more responsive.
Town Manager Bill Zell reiterated the value of seeking public input on such a sensitive issue.
"It relieves some of the stress on the board," he said.
The board also reviewed a drafted annexation agreement between the town and the village of Pinehurst about areas along N.C. 5 identified for potential annexation over the next 20 years.
Mofield described the drafted map as a "little too generous" for Pinehurst.
"I think there's a lot of opportunity for development that we're kind of missing out on," she said.
Board members agreed and asked Planning Director Kathy Liles to take their suggestions back to Pinehurst for further negotiations.
In other business, the board approved a resolution to change utility billing collection, moving collection dates five days later from the 15th to the 20th of each month.
Zell said that the changes were made in efforts to ease the burden of utility expenses for Aberdeen residents, giving them more time to make payments.
The board approved the resolution, with the intent to monitor collections under the new system and reevaluate it later this year.
The board also approved ordering 2,600 brown, 95-gallon containers, provided by Carolina Environmental Systems Inc., to initiate its curbside recycling program.
Public Works Director Rickie Monroe hopes to begin the program as soon as possible once the containers are delivered to residents. He also told the board that the drop-off recycling site at the Public Works Department will not close until the curbside program starts.
The Unified Development Ordinance that the board has been working to approve for the past year will receive some delayed attention later this month at a special called meeting at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 14. The board will go over the current draft of the Table of Permissible Uses at the meeting.
Another special called meeting for the ordinance is scheduled for Jan. 21 at 4 p.m. if the board needs more time.
Hannah Sharpe can be reached at (910) 693-2485.
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