Aberdeen Town Board holds four public hearings regarding property matters

Request to rezone Old Aberdeen Primary School property denied

ABERDEEN — The Aberdeen Town Board met Monday, June 26, with four public hearings on the agenda, all of which related to property matters.

The board meeting began with a presentation of their audit report for Fiscal Year 2021-22 presented by Forvis.

“As a result of our audit, we issued an unmodified or clean audit report on the town’s financial statements,” said Forvis partner John Frank. “We did not identify any material weaknesses or significant deficiencies in internal controls. Overall, positive financial results for the year.”

“We survived COVID, and we’re coming out the other side in good shape,” said Mayor Robert Farrell.

The board then held four public hearings, each dealing with property matters.

The first public hearing was for an annexation request by Strickland Construction for 0.97 acres located south of Longleaf Road and east of Longleaf Circle.

“It is actually the only property that is not annexed within the town limits in the neighborhood the parcel is in at this time,” said Planning Director John Terziu.

Following the hearing, the board approved the annexation request.

The second hearing was for a zoning request to rezone the newly annexed property from R-30 to R-20.

“The Comprehensive Land Development Plan adopted in 2019 utilizes a future land use map, and the subject parcel was included within the future land use map and the existing land use map and is identified as low-density residential in both,” Terziu said.

According to the applicant, the plan for the property was to divide the current 43,000-square-foot lot into two separate 20,000-square-foot lots. However, while some commissioners and members of the public had concerns with that plan, a rezoning request can’t take the intention for the land into consideration.

“The issue tonight is not dividing the lot; it’s just rezoning the property,” Farrell said.

Following the request, the board approved the request by a 3-2 vote, with Commissioner Teressa Beavers and Commissioner Elease Goodwin voting against the motion.

“It’s not in compliance with the older sections of the Forest Hills neighborhood,” Beavers said on her reasoning for voting against the request.

The third hearing was a request for a special use permit by Reliance Packaging for material changes to 5.2 acres of property located at 155 Anderson Street.

Following changes to Aberdeen’s UDO, conditional use permits were removed as an avenue for development, and as such, the applicant was recommended to seek a special use permit instead.

“The material changes requested address height and design standards that are included in the previously approved conditional use permit, and minor modifications have created a non-conforming property,” Terziu said. “These changes are necessary due to the renovation of the existing building, fire suppression upgrades and modifications to allow new machinery.”

The requested changes include an increase to the existing 60-foot-high eave (not exceeding 71 feet) and vertical metal wall panels like the existing paneling on the existing building previously approved by the Board of Commissioners.

Following the hearing, the board approved the request.

The final hearing was another zoning request to rezone three parcels of property totaling 7.24 acres and located at the previous site of the old Aberdeen Primary School from R-10 to Neighborhood Commercial (NC).

“The NC district is established to primarily accommodate low to moderate intensity office, retail, and personal service uses adjacent to and within residential neighborhoods,” Terziu said. “In addition to commercial uses, the district also allows a variety of residential and institutional uses in stand-alone structures as well as in mixed-use developments.”

Following the hearing, however, the board denied the request due to the broadness of the NC district.

“It’s just the point that if you use that zoning, you’re really opening the door to just anything,” said Commissioner Wilma Laney. “It’s a big list of stuff that can come in there. Putting something there that’s going to drastically change everything, to me, is not worth it. At some point, we will reach some level where we can put something there, but don’t just put something there because the school is currently there, and we want to change it.”

The Aberdeen Town Board will next meet July 24.

By Ryan Henkel, North State Journal

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