WAXHAW – Town commissioners will be responsible in August for deciding the new zoning for two parcels of county land annexed into town in July.

Since the zoning directly affects what can go on the two parcels at 2410 and 2412 S. Providence Road, residents from the Park Providence subdivision to the north and Providence Grove to the east showed up at commissioners' July 27 meeting to weigh in.

First, planning and inspections director Lisa Thompson presented the case.

Unincorporated, the land was zoned Union County R-40. The town's current petition is to rezone it Waxhaw Neighborhood Center. However, planning board recommended against the rezoning with a 4-2 vote, calling the request inconsistent with land use documents and citing increased utility demand on water, sewer and roadways as reasons.

Union County R-40 is a single-family residential zoning designation for 40,000-square-foot lots. To keep pace with that, some planning board members were leaning toward a Waxhaw R-1 zoning instead.

To decide, town leaders are referring to established comprehensive planning documents, like their 2016 Comprehensive Plan and 2021 Future Land Use Map passed in March.

Thompson said goals for the new map included creating jobs, building tax base, diversifying housing stock and developing the local economy.

"The Future Land Use Map designates the subject property as mixed use," Thompson said. "MU is targeted for a mixture of retail, office and medium-density residential housing choices that is walkable and convenient to neighborhoods."

Thompson added that mixed use parcels should be placed in strategic locations that "function harmoniously" with surrounding residential areas. She explained that mixed use zoning on the new land map coincides with the proposed neighborhood center zoning from the comp plan.

"NC zoning would serve as a good transition between the employment center just south of this property… to R-3 in the north," Thompson said. "Neighborhood Center zoning allows for smaller-scale offices, neighborhood-oriented retail and services, and a mixture of housing types."

One resident in Providence Grove, the neighborhood across the street from the annexed properties, asked town commissioners to "err on the side of caution" and stick to a more conservative single-family residential zoning, such as R-1. He said a park would serve the community there better than multi-family residential or small businesses.

"I know there's requirements for notification of what this is going to be rezoned for, but I would argue those are extremely ineffective," the resident told commissioners. "At the [planning board] meeting you had last Monday, I find it hard to believe not a single person in the adjacent property or the town had any input. The notifications are not reaching the people they're intended to."

In these situations, state statute requires town staff to run an ad for two consecutive weeks in a local paper, send notices to adjacent property owners, and place a sign at the property between 10 to 25 days of the public hearing, all of which was done. Simpson and Thompson explained that the way the dates line up, this typically means the public won't catch wind of a rezoning until after the planning board meeting but before commissioners have their hearing.

"There's no public comment during the planning board meeting," Simpson said. "They're sort of a work group."

Commissioners will decide what to do next with the rezoning Aug. 10.

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