Aberdeen Board approves amendment to increase parking allotment for religious institutions

Permanent port-a-john service to end in Ray’s Mill Park

ABERDEEN — The Aberdeen Town Board met Monday, where they held two public hearings and discussed the port-a-john services in Ray’s Mill Park.

The board held a public hearing for a voluntary annexation request by Collinswood Partners, LLC for 64.859 acres of land located in the town’s extraterritorial jurisdiction north of NC-211 and east of Collinswood Drive.

“The request is for an unaddressed parcel and adjacent right-of-way to be annexed,” said Planning Director Justin Westbrook. “It is considered a satellite annexation and is located within the Town’s Extra Territorial jurisdiction and currently zoned R-20 (residential single family).”

The board approved the request following the hearing.

The board also held a hearing for a text amendment submitted by Aberdeen First Baptist Church to amend the Unified Development Ordinance Table 5.4.4.B – Minimum Off-Street Parking Standards to increase the number of parking spaces for “Religious Institution” use types.

“[The request] delineates from the UDO in how much parking is required per use at certain rates,” Westbrook said. “It varies from use types using metrics such as gross floor area, number of employees, classroom sizes, and things of that nature. There’s no one size fits all, particularly with calculations. In this particular case, the rule now for religious institutions is one space per six seats in the main assembly room or one space per 50 square feet if you do not have seats. The applicant has requested that it be changed to one space per four seats so that there’s more parking.”

In order to allow for more parking, staff recommended that the minimum standard be raised since the UDO states the maximum standard is a direct calculation from the minimum standard.

“The parking standards prescribe a maximum amount as laid out in the UDO, which allows up to 150% of the minimum parking standard,” Westbrook said. “It was designed to prevent an oversupply of parking which will undoubtedly affect the spatial and natural environment in a detrimental fashion.”

Following the public hearing, the board approved the text amendment.

The board was then presented with the staff recommendation to remove and end the permanent port-a-john service at Ray’s Mill Park after issues arose between the town and contractor.

“We’ve had two port-a-johns out at Ray’s Mill Park really since the park was opened back in 2015,” said Parks & Rec Director Adam Crocker. “It was kind of a compromise made when the bathroom structure was removed from the project. But it was about the middle of July, which was really the first time a citizen had mentioned to our park staff that the port-a-johns needed some attention.”

According to Crocker, the port-a-johns had not been serviced from May through July as the contractor claimed that the service for the port-a-johns had been canceled. 

“They can’t tell us who canceled the service,” Crocker said. “They have no notes on it. It was not us; it was not finance. I have no idea how they got canceled. I also do not know if they thought the service was canceled, why they left the port-a-johns there for months in the heart of summer.”

Due to a perceived lack of use since the port-a-john issues weren’t seen for months and the high cost of maintaining the port-a-johns anyway, the board voted to stop permanent port-a-john services in the park.

The board also approved three items with regards to the new Sportsplex, including formally naming the facility “Aberdeen Ransdell Sportsplex,” officially naming the main roadway with the new park facility as “Ransdell Way,” and designating that main roadway within the new facility as a public road for Powell Bill purposes.

Finally, the board authorized the town to move forward with the informal bid process for construction improvements to Highway 15-501 and the entrance to the sportsplex facility and authorization to move forward.

The Aberdeen Town Board will next meet September 26.

By Ryan Henkel, North State Journal

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