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Hope Mills may want to consider overlay zoning to guide development, town planner says  


HOPE MILLS —The planning director told the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners on Monday that it may want to consider establishing an overlay zoning district to help guide development in the town. 

 The discussion came up after the Board of Commissioners approved the consent agenda, which included back-to-back zoning requests related to two tire businesses: Discount Tire and Mavis Tires.  

 That prompted smiles and laughter from some on the board.  

 Some board members expressed concerns about the influx of vape shops, gas stations and tire services that recently have popped up in Hope Mills.  

 The town can’t legally tell a landowner what kind of business he or she can put on the property if the land is zoned for its use, said Chancer McLaughlin, director of Planning and Economic Development. 

 McLaughlin told the board that establishing an overlay district may be a solution to help guide growth in the town. He said he had been working on the language for such a district. 

 Overlay zoning is a regulatory tool that creates a special zoning district over existing zoning. It can include additional or different regulations that apply within the district. 

 “An overlay is a mechanism in zoning that allows the city to put a boundary on map in a particular area that helps groups like businesses,” McLaughlin said. 

 An overlay would allow the town to say, “it’s not that you can’t have that vape shop, you just can’t have it right here next to these rows of restaurants,’’ McLaughlin said hypothetically. 

 “It would help the town be more deliberate in its planning,” he said. 

 “Without the overlays, the businesses can come in wherever they want,” McLaughlin said. 

 “This helps with the quality of life in Hope Mills,” he said.

McLaughlin told CityView TODAY that the quality of life in Hope Mills is what helps drive the department’s decision-making. 

“I’m always asking myself is this business or subdivision good for Hope Mills? Will it make people want to move here?” he said.  

Commissioner Grilley Mitchell and Mayor Jackie Warner agreed with McLaughlin about the overlay zoning and said they were looking forward to what McLaughlin would present to the board.  

Mclaughlin said the department was not trying to hinder any proposed business and its right to exist, he was trying to suggest a tool that would help the town be more deliberate in its planning. 

Jason Canady covers Hope Mills for CityViewTODAY. He can be reached at jcanady@cityviewnc.com. Have a news tip? Email news@CityViewTODAY.com.

Hope Mills, Board of Commissioners, zoning, overlay district, planning