By ANGELA FARR KING
It was a night for rezoning requests at the June 2023 Town Council meeting held on Monday, June 5, at Town Hall. Brian Burgess, the County and Town Planner, brought forth four properties with requests for rezoning. A public hearing was held for each before the Town Council made their decisions.
The first two rezoning requests went very smoothly. The first request (RZ-23-03) came from Timmy Stikeleather. The property is located at 966 Liledoun Road and is approximately 3.17 in acreage. Mr. Stikeleather requested that the property be rezoned from General Residential (R-2) to Commercial (H-C). According to the Rezoning Analysis, a commercial use already exists on the property. The Council voted unanimously to rezone this property from residential to commercial, to align the current use with what is allowed by current zoning.
The next rezoning request (RZ-23-04) was requested by Judy Davidson and others. The property is located at 468 6th Street SW and is approximately 1.7 acres. This request was to change the zoning from Highway Industrial (H-1) to General Residential (R-2). The Rezoning Analysis states that this property is centered in a residential area, “limiting the feasibility of industrial use.” The Council again voted unanimously in approval of the rezoning.
The third rezoning request was a controversial one (RZ-23-05). The property is located between 55 and 123 Galaxie Drive and the request was made by Nelson McCreary. As explained by Burgess, “This is a single lot on Galaxie Drive, the only vacant one. All of Galaxie Drive is currently zoned for business, even though it’s a residential street. The applicant wants to build residential on this lot, but cannot until the property is rezoned.”
Three owners of property on Galaxie Drive spoke against the rezoning request. Tammy Fenton said that her property is at the end of the dead end drive. She stated, “We all purchased the property knowing what it was zoned for. We are being asked to change our zoning to accommodate him.” It is significant to note that the only property requested to be rezoned was the single lot mentioned above.
Ricky Hammer, another property owner on Galaxie Drive, asked if “his property would be rezoned if this one goes through?” Mayor Holleman stated that it would not. Hammer also said he was concerned about increased traffic on Galaxie Drive if one or more residences are constructed. He said there is nowhere for a school bus turnaround on this street, which, according to Mayor Holleman, isn’t on the map for Taylorsville any longer. It is not recognized as a legitimate street on the map of Taylorsville, so it is considered private.
Matt Schrum then spoke about his reasoning against the rezoning request. He stated that he bought property on Galaxie Drive thinking about the future business potential and the future courthouse to be built in close proximity to this location.
Schrum said, “We’ve invested in the business lots to be ready for business development and they need to be available for future business use. It’s an area of heavy industrial businesses, in my opinion, and it would be a mistake to rezone from business to residential.”
Real estate agent Sam Davis, representing the owner, said, “We need additional housing more than a vacant lot.” After much contemplation about all of the comments, Council member Kim Brown made a motion to approve the rezoning to residential, stating that there are currently residential properties surrounding the property in question. The Council voted to rezone this property from business to residential, but it was not unanimous. Council Member Jack Simms voted against the rezoning.
The final rezoning request was an “odd one,” according to Burgess, because some of the property located at 623 Boston Road and 37, 67, 76, 82, and 86 Carolina Lane is in the Town’s Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) and some is in the county, which means the rezoning request had to be heard by both the Town Council and the Board of County Commissioners. This request was made by Billy Loudermelk, Garrett and Ashlee Davis, Phillip Hoover, Sr., and Phillip Hoover, Jr. It is approximately 14.81 acres. The rezoning request was to change the property from Suburban Residential (R-3) and Residential (R-20) to Residential Agriculture (RA-20).
Billy Loudermelk spoke on behalf of the family about this request and said that the land will be inherited by his children and he would like for it to be rezoned for pastures and farmland. The Council voted unanimously to rezone the property. Later, the rezoning of this property was also approved by the County Commissioners.
The first Public Hearing was then held to review the budget for Fiscal Year 2023-2024. The budget totals $5,208,170. The General Fund portion of the budget totals $2,575,320, while the Enterprise Fund (water and sewer) portion totals $2,632,850. The total budget represents an increase of 5.9% from the prior year’s approved budget due to property revaluation as well as a tax rate change. The proposed budget also includes a property tax rate of $0.35 per $100 in value.
Charlie Marshall of the Central Alexander Fire Department reported to the Council that the fire department was recently awarded a 2023 Volunteer Fire Department Fund Grant in the amount of $27,595.00. This is a matching grant and Mr. Marshall was requesting that the Town Council agree to match this amount. With this grant and the matching funds, the fire department will be able to purchase 12 new sets of turnout gear for their firefighters. The Council unanimously agreed to match this grant amount.
Aaron Wike, acting Town Manager, presented information about the installation of charging stations at Matheson Park. The Town only received $10,000 in grant money to complete both charging stations, with the lowest bid to install them being $29,799.50. Wike noted that Valdese had put in “similar charging stations a few years ago and have since disconnected them due to the fees costing them more than the revenue generated by the station. In one year’s time, their stations were used a total of three times.”
Wike said he felt like Taylorsville would be in a similar situation and he recommended that the Council send a letter to the State withdrawing from this project. The Council unanimously agreed to
Wike also brought forth a Water Shortage Response Plan as required by the state. The current plan needed no changes so the Council agreed to accept it unanimously.
Taylorsville Chief Police Douglas Bowman gave a report on the search for a School Resource Officer for Taylorsville Elementary School. He said they have advertised the pay and benefits for the position and have had no applicants. He did note that the job listing was recently added to NCWorks.org.
The second public hearing for the Fiscal Year 2023-2024 Budget will be held Tuesday, June 27, at 5:00 p.m.