Last updated: May 13. 2014 10:33PM - 686 Views
By - mharrelson@civitasmedia.com

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ROCKINGHAM — City leaders on Tuesday set a public hearing for a plan to redraw zoning boundaries along Hitchcock Creek between North Lee Street and the upper end of the Pee Dee lake bed.

City Planner John Massey Jr. talked about the process of re-delineating the O-S zone boundaries that took effect in 2008 but were stopped to avoid complications with several other projects under way at the time. The city was actively engaged in a process to acquire the old Pee Dee lake bed e and was in discussions with several property owners north of the lake bed regarding a potential residential development, Massey said.

The O-S zoning district is intended “to be applied to undeveloped areas that are ecologically, economically, culturally or historically significant to the community in their current undeveloped state,” according to section 3.01 of Rockingham’s unified development ordinance.

The same subsection also says the district is “intended to maintain and preserve undeveloped areas that are environmentally sensitive, wildlife refugees, passive recreation areas, scenic areas or (areas that) have other significance in order to justify maintaining their undeveloped state.”

On the city’s current zoning map, the O-S district is predominantly applied to property along Hitchcock Creek and the north and south prongs of Falling Creek, said Massey.

The public hearing is planned for 7:30 p.m. June 10 at Rockingham City Hall.

Massey and his staff prepared a series of maps for the Rockingham City Council that illustrate existing zoning and proposed zoning within the study area, known as Study Area 8, which includes the portion of Hitchcock Creek between North Lee Street and the upper portion of the Pee Dee Lake bed.

Among several changes, the biggest relates to the area around Metropol’s Statuary Inc. on U.S. 220, said Massey.

“The current O-S boundary extends up a tributary of Hitchcock Creek to include a significant portion of Metropol’s Statuary property, which makes much of this commercial site a nonconforming use,” Massey said. “Most of this site is located outside the floodplain. As part of the re-delineation, city staff has proposed to reduce the O-S zone in this area and extend the adjacent B-3 zone to include the entire Metropol site, which will make the use a conforming use.”

The planning board reviewed the same request on May 6 and recommended unanimously that the City Council rezone all properties indicated on the proposed zoning map in Study Area 8.

Reach reporter Matt Harrelson at 910-997-3111 ext. 18.

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