SOUTHERN PINES — The Southern Pines Town Council met Tuesday, January 10, with multiple public hearings on the agenda.
The first public hearing was for various text amendments to the UDO.
“When we are engaging with the Unified Development Ordinance in our office, and we encounter problematic language or things that aren’t clear, we sometimes print off a page, sometimes scribble a note, throw it into a file, and set it aside. And then every so often, when we have an opportunity, we’ll run through what we refer to as a package of text amendments,” said Planning Director BJ Grieve. “This is just that.”
The nine text amendment topics included the removal of zoning exception provisions, revision of various planned development standards, removal of references to sketch plat provision, clarification of the common sign plan process in planned developments, allowance of metal awnings for businesses in downtown overlay zones, removal of redundant permitting for food trucks operating in food truck campuses, clarification of the responsibilities of the Board of Adjustments, clarification of eligibility for historic district commission, and an addition of a definition for neighborhoods.
The council voted to approve all the amendments to the UDO.
The second public hearing was an application for a special use permit submitted by Mid-Pines Development Group, LLC, for the development of ten guest cottages on a portion of property that formerly served as the Southern Pines Elks Club Facilities, also known as the Southern Pines Country Club.
Extensive expert testimony was presented before the council, but the council ended up raising multiple concerns with the project, such as threats to the integrity of existing nearby neighborhoods, the intensity of the project, compatibility with the local community, and the overall safety concerns with the introduction of those facilities with things such as traffic impacts.
“The UDO states that the purpose of FRR is intended for open space, public facilities and privately owned and recreation areas, and this precludes major residential, retail, office, institutional and industrial uses that typically provide limited open space,” said council member Ann Petersen. “And based on the fact that Mr. Koontz said that this was residential, I have a significant issue with that and would not agree with that finding of fact based on what we’ve heard.”
The council decided to take more time to review over the material they were provided as well as their own UDO before rendering a decision, voting to continue the hearing to next month’s regular meeting.
The next hearing was for a preliminary development plan for Caropines Phases 3B and 4.
“This application started a while back as an original submittal for three phases of Caropines,” Grieve said. “It was withdrawn and came back as two phases of Caropines and has been continued a number of times as staff has worked with the applicants to improve the two-phase application for Caropines.”
The property totals 75 total parcels of land divided over two areas.
“Caropines Phase 3B is 23 parcels, 12 of which are detached single-family lots with a minimum lot size of 8,000 square feet, and 11 of those are smaller cottage lots with a 5,000 square foot minimum lot size, both of which are allowed under the Caropines CDP in the development areas in which they are proposed,” Grieve said. “Caropines Phase 4 is 52 attached single family, otherwise referred to as townhomes, lots.”
“The design for 3B is roughly 14.3 acres and proposes 23 single-family homes,” said Paul Saathoof of KoontzJones Design. “This was actually reduced from the original submittal. We originally submitted a plan that showed 44 units on here, but after working with the town and our engineer, we reduced it due to some of the issues of topography and getting the gravity sewer line to work. Phase 4 is 21.4 acres and proposes 52 townhome lots. The area is just north of Phase 3B across the existing wetland bridge.”
Following the hearing, the council approved the PDP for the project.
The Southern Pines Town Council will next meet February 14.