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LELAND—There was a packed house at Leland’s Dec. 20 town meeting where residents were ready to argue against a unified development ordinance text change. Many believed the change would lead to unwanted apartments near the Waterford development.
But the town council decided one small change was unnecessary when they have a new zoning plan on the horizon.
Residents of Waterford and Magnolia Greens spoke during a public hearing that was continued from Nov. 13. Many asked the board to say no to the text change as a way of saying no to the potential apartment builder.
Easlan Capitol of Greenville, S.C., an apartment development firm, has presented a design for an apartment complex they are interested in locating on property. It is currently zoned commercial and is near the Harris Teeter shopping center. The company has not presented any plans to the town.
Other residents offered changes to the text they believed were fair to single-family residents as well as future developers.
Mayor pro tem Pat Batleman was more impressed with a presentation she saw Dec. 13 after the town planning department spent four days working with the Placemakers Consulting team on ways to implement Flexcode zoning along Village Road.
Flexcode zoning would encourage different types of development—retail, office space and residential—to share the same building.
The town intends to develop a Main Street and downtown area by switching the zoning to allow a mix of residential and commercial development in the same locations. See a related story on page 9A.
Batleman let public speakers have their three minutes each, then made a motion to deny the text change.
“Even though I think the multi-family exceptional design is well crafted and provided decent restrictions, we just went through the gateway project. We all have a better idea how the Flexcode and the master plan will work (to develop) downtown,” Batleman said. “We need to carry this all through Leland. We need to put this aside and focus on (the Flexcode) mixed-use ordinance.”
Councilwoman Martha Currie asked for a clarification of the impact if the council voted against the multi-family text amendment change.
“Does this affect any other parcel? A developer can come and build multi-family buildings?” she asked.
Town attorney John Wessell said voting against the text change would not put an end to multifamily development.
“There is nothing to stop a property owner from asking to rezone the property as multi-family,” he said. “What you do tonight will not affect that.”
The council voted 5-0 to deny the text change which, even after Wessell’s warning, elated the crowd that wanted officials to say no to the apartment complex, even if it was only for one night.
Town manager David Hollis said after the meeting the town staff will follow Batleman’s directive to drive the Flexcode zoning throughout town limits.
Brian Slattery is a staff writer for The Brunswick Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or firstname.lastname@example.org.