For a second time, the Mooresville Board of Commissioners has denied a conditional rezoning request by property owners to build a 180-lot subdivision near the intersection of Shinnville Road and U.S. Highway 21.
In a 5-1 vote Monday, Commissioners Gary West, Lisa Qualls, Thurman Houston, Eddie Dingler and Bobby Compton denied the request by Shepherds Landing, LLC and 694 Parkway Plaza to rezone nine adjacent tracks of land from R-2, or single-family residential, to R5-CU, or single-family residential with a conditional use.
The rezoning designation would allow the property owners to add a 32 twin-townhome component to the property in addition to 148 single-family homes with a density of 2.8 units per acre, said Rawls Howard, town planning and community development director. The land size totals approximately 64 acres.
Commissioner Barbara Whittington cast the sole vote against denying the conditional rezoning request.
After the denial, Donald Munday, of Piedmont Design Associates, said he and the applicants would be discussing the project’s next step. “Most likely, we’ll be re-submitting,” Munday said. The applicants would not have to wait a year, the time limit the town requires for reapplication, because the project’s site plans will be different, Munday said.
Shepherds Landing and 694 Parkway Plaza had filed a lawsuit against the town of Mooresville in August 2018 after the Board of Commissioners denied the same rezoning request earlier that summer. The rezoning request had already been approved by the Planning Board in May 2018.
Board members stated then the rezoning request was inconsistent with the town’s comprehensive land use plan and said the request was not reasonable or in the best interest of the public.
Following this denial, representatives from the property owners returned July 2, 2018 to request a waiver on the one-year time limit the town requires for reapplication. The property owners said they showed they had voluntarily amended their plan to include additional traffic mitigation measures to alleviate worries of traffic congestion and road safety, including a left-hand turn lane into the subdivision, but none of the board members offered a motion to approve or deny the waiver extension.
The motion then died and no action was taken.
The property owners then filed the lawsuit. Their attorney said the Board of Commissioners’ decision to deny the conditional rezoning request was capricious, arbitrary and unsupported by competent substantial evidence, according to the lawsuit. But recently, an Iredell County Superior Court judge remanded the matter back to the Board of Commissioners where the plaintiffs could be afforded the opportunity to be “fully and fairly heard,” according to the order.
But on Monday, commissioners seemed skeptical and unconvinced by the group’s rezoning request because nothing had changed in the site plan since the board had denied it more than a year earlier.
Although the applicants’ representatives said commissioners could ask for certain conditions if they approved the rezoning request on Monday, including the elimination of the project’s twin-town home component, the submitted site plans showed the proposal with the twin-townhome component.
The applicants also said a proposed outdoor RV storage area was no longer included in the proposed project despite the storage area still shown on the submitted site plans.
“What I’m hearing is the RV storage isn’t going to be there anymore,” West said. “The townhomes may or may not be there, but we’re being asked to make a decision on a site plan that really isn’t accurate anymore. And the townhomes are outside of that quarter mile of the Village Center mode. Do you have a different site plan you can show us that might take into consideration some of the things you discussed?”
West later said he’d like to see a different plan with a lower density brought back at a later date.
Kevin Donaldson, the attorney representing the property owners, said because the matter was required to be heard again, the same proposal that was submitted in 2018 had to be re-submitted.
The same proposal didn’t suit other commissioners, either.
“You’re asking us to make adjustments,” Houston said. “You didn’t make any adjustments to try and help us on Shinnville Road.”
Donaldson said the developers tried to add a turn lane last year when they requested a waiver to be re-heard but none of the commissioners issued a motion to deny or approve the request.
The portions of property abutting U.S. Highway 21 and Shinnville Road were intended to serve as points of ingress and egress, the lawsuit said.
Neighbors opposed to the rezoning request came out in droves. All were concerned with increased traffic congestion on the two-lane Shinnville Road and the fact that the property owners were not required to put in a left turn lane into the development.
Michael Voss, who lives on Brook Glen Drive, said most people would be exiting onto Shinnville Road, a road with no shoulder, from the subdivision. “From a traffic standpoint, it makes no sense at all,” Voss said.
Most of the commissioners seemed unsatisfied with the rezoning request and the proposal’s site plan.
“When I look at your project, I don’t see a quality project,” Dingler said.
“If they want changes, they need to bring another plan,” Houston said. “That’s why I’m denying it.”