Map of lake rezoning

This zoning map from Burke County shows areas around Lake James that are proposed to be rezoned. Commissioners are expected to hear rezonings next week.

Burke County commissioners are expected to hold public hearings next week on a large swath of land parcels around Lake James.

Letters were sent to landowners in the area in May about the proposed rezoning a total of 2,683 acres.

One of the public hearings on Aug. 20 involves multiple parcels totaling around 596 acres. The parcels are requested to be rezoned from the Planned Residential Mixed Use - Conditional District to Low-Density Conservation District.

Pete Minter, senior planner for Burke County Community Development, said the parcels were rezoned in 2004 to a “conditional” zoning district at the request of the developer Crescent Communities. Crescent Communities, at the time, was the real estate arm of Duke Energy.

At the same time, the county adopted a development plan that specified how the parcels were to be developed, Minter said. Crescent never pursued development of the parcels and have since sold them off, he said.

The Burke County Zoning Ordinance says that if progress toward developing the land rezoned under a conditional rezoning is not made within two years, the parcels should be rezoned back to an appropriate “general” zoning district, Minter said. That is what the rezoning petition would do, he said.

Another public hearing scheduled for the county commissioners meeting involves rezoning around 2,078 acres.

Of the 2,078 acres, 500 acres have nine parcels that are proposed to be zoned from the Planned Residential Mixed-Use District to the Low-Density Conservation District and four of the parcels would be rezoned from the Residential Three District to the Low-Density Conservation District, according to information from the county.

Another 120 acres along N.C. 126 would be rezoned from Planned Residential Mixed-Use District to the Residential One District. And 1,455 acres along N.C. 126 would be rezoned from Conservation Estate Lot Conditional District to Low-Density Conservation District. These parcels also would be removed from the specific development regulations of the 2004 Conservation District Ordinance, according to information from Burke County.

Since the land involved in the “conditional” district did not develop as it was supposed to, the current zoning of these parcels would no longer be compatible, Minter said.

Shane Prisby, operations manager for the Burke County Community Development, said because the planned development never took place, the county is petitioning to rezone all of the parcels back to general zoning districts that complement the existing zoning in that area as is consistent with the county ordinance.

Parcels already developed under the adopted zoning and development plan would continue under those approvals, according to information from the county.

During the county commissioners’ Aug. 5 pre-agenda meeting, the board decided to remove from the agenda a rezoning request from Landdaly LLC of one parcel of land totaling 1.55 acres from the Low-Density Conservation Zoning District to the Residential One Zoning District on Benfields Landing Road. 

The parcel is unrelated to any of the other two re-zonings, according to information from the county.

The Burke County Board of Commissioners will hold the public hearings at 6 p.m. on Aug. 20 in the Commissioners Meeting Room of Burke County Services Building, located at 110 N. Green St., Entrance E, in Morganton.

Sharon McBrayer is a staff writer and can be reached at smcbrayer@morganton.com or at 828-432-8946.

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