Stallings leaders halt downtown development for 6 months

STALLINGS – Leaders in Stallings adopted a moratorium ordinance for the downtown area at their meeting Monday, April 28, to restrict rezoning changes and development for the next six months.

After completing the downtown master plan for the area of town where Old Monroe Road connects with Potter and Pleasant Plains roads, town staff, along with the consulting firm Kimley-Horn and Associates, plans to develop a special overlay district for the area. The moratorium stops development in the area until that overlay district is adopted by the council. The moratorium also includes some residential properties along Aurora Boulevard.

“It would restrict property owners from submitting any development applications,” Town Planner Lynn Hair said at the meeting. All projects already approved and underway are allowed to continue moving forward while the ordinance is in place, she added.

The planning board recommended moving forward with the moratorium as opposed to other alternatives like down-zoning all of the properties in the downtown area or adopting a time limit ordinance because they did not want to put an additional burden on property owners or spend the additional time it would take to adopt an new ordinance.

“(The other options) would be cumbersome, and I’m not sure that would be good for those property owners,” Hair said.

Once the moratorium is adopted for a certain amount of time – Stallings council adopted one for six months – the town cannot extend the time period and will have to adopt a separate moratorium for any additional time needed to develop the downtown overlay district. Stallings also held a public hearing for the moratorium at the April 28 meeting, but no residents were present to speak on the issue.

“The town has drafted a downtown master plan and is in the process of drafting an overlay that will become part of the Stallings Unified Development Ordinance, giving the town the ability to develop properties in the designated area to the design standards drafted in the master plan,” read a memo from Hair to council. “… The planning board has recommended that a development moratorium be adopted by the town that will protect the area while the overlay language is being drafted.”

Stallings previously had an overlay district for the downtown area, but did not have a master plan in place, which made it difficult to utilize the overlay, Hair said at the meeting. Council decided not to include the overlay when the town drafted a new UDO. Staff said an overlay district could now be properly utilized to make it easer for new businesses to move into Stallings with a downtown master plan now in place.

Waxhaw recently adopted an overlay district for its downtown area in hopes of minimizing obstacles business owners had to overcome before moving into the town. The plan adopted by Waxhaw dictates building heights for certain areas, types of businesses that are allowed in certain areas of downtown Waxhaw and eliminates hefty fees for new development applications.

Stallings will host a public hearing to answer questions and hear concerns from residents, community members and business owners throughout town after drafting the downtown overlay district. The town is required to hold public hearings before any ordinance is adopted to the UDO.

 

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