Two public hearings on rezoning requests for land near the intersection of Startown Road and Clarks Creek Road packed the Lincolnton City Council meeting Thursday evening (Dec. 2nd).
Tommy Huskey, the chair of the Downtown Development Association, and one downtown business owner were joined by pastor Scott Mann of New Vision Ministries in speaking in favor of the rezoning requests, but the vast majority of speakers opposed the plans that would result in over a thousand new residents when completed.
The first of the hearings was on a request by Prestige Acquisitions to rezone some 24 acres on the south side of Clarks Creek Road so a community could be developed with about a hundred new residences--half of them single family homes and the other half townhouses.
The second request by Century Communities Southeast was for rezoning nearly a hundred additional acres on the east side of Startown Road for the development of over 25 homes.
Those who spoke against the proposals said they weren't opposed to new homes, but they objected to the high density development that would pack large numbers of home sites into a very urban setting. The impact of such a development on traffic, schools, and other growth problems were detailed by the speakers, one of whom summed up the objections by saying, "don't Lake Norman my Lincolnton!" Most expressed a distaste for the high density development saying it would turn Lincolnton into another Cornelius.
Council member Roby Jetton made a motion to deny the first of the requests, but mayor Ed Hatley suggested tabling the matter for continued talks with the developer who might be able to address some of the concerns expressed by the speakers. Jetton withdrew his motion and the matter was tabled. Following the second hearing, which included mostly the same people making the same or similar arguments, council member Christine Poinsette made a motion--but she spoke softly and her motion was barey audible (having watched the video of the meeting again, it was noticeable that a member of the audience was also having difficulty hearing her motion). The second request was denied. [We erroneously reported it was tabled based on what we could hear Thursday evening. It was denied.]
In other action, the Council approved an Industrial Incentive Grant for Hodges International, the company that plans to renovate an old textile plant on Bonview Avenue. The agreement calls on Hodges Internaional to begin work on the project by December 15th. When completed, the $7.5 million investment will create some 75 new jobs paying an average of over $41 thousand. The City will give Hodges $24,828 annually for seven years.
The mayor and council also recognized Dale Punch for his efforts in creating the Hometown Heroes banners honoring veterans. The banners were created after those who chose to honor family members, ancestors, etc. who had served in the military paid $100 for each of the banners which now belong to the City. They were displayed for Veterans Day this year and will be displayed again in years to come. Punch undertook the project almost single-handedly on behalf of the local American Legion post and saw it through to completion. Punch says that he hopes a future effort will be made to honor more veterans with more banners, "but I've done my part; that will now be up to others to do." Mayor Hatley said the project was 'perhaps the best thing that has been accomplished during my time as your mayor.' Hatley said Punch is 'the kind of guy who, when you want to get something done, you can count on to see it accomplished.'
The Council also approved a resolution that will begin the process of annexing the former Boger City Fire Department. The City made that department a part of the Lincolnton Fire Department earlier this year.