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Hope Mills to hold public hearing on proposed moratorium for some businesses


HOPE MILLS — The Hope Mills Board of Commissioners on Monday will hear from the public about a proposed moratorium on some businesses while town staff work on drafting an overlay district policy.

The board meets at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

The public hearing on the proposed moratorium is one of five on the board’s agenda Monday night. The others are related to zoning cases.

Chancer F. McLaughlin, the town’s Planning and Economic Development director, approached the board last month about a moratorium. That’s when the board voted to hold a public hearing. He told the board in June that overlay districts are a way to guide development.

“Over the past year, staff has noticed a trend of particular uses being requested that could potentially create an issue of saturation,’’ according to a staff report in the agenda materials.

In some instances, multiple uses of the same business types can have a negative impact on the area, the report stated.

“Without a proper system of checks and balances, cities and towns are left open to trends that could be detrimental to positive growth,’’ the materials state. 

Town staff is asking for the proposed moratorium to include the following businesses:

  • Motor vehicle parts and accessory sales.
  • Motor vehicle repair and/or body work.
  • Motor vehicle rentals.
  • Motor vehicle sales, new and used.
  • Retail establishments primarily tied to smoke shops and vape establishments.

The staff is asking for a six-month moratorium while it works on developing an overlay 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.

Also on Monday, the board is expected to hear an update on the public safety building project from its architect and consider a change order for $74,735. 

As previously requested by the board to the staff, this change order included a detailed explanation of the items covered. 

In recent months, board members have expressed frustration with the building’s architect, Scott Garner, over the project’s frequent change orders. Specifically, the last change orders were presented without many details and on short notice. Some board members requested a more detailed explanation and time to review the changes.

This will be Garner’s ninth change order request. The last change orders were for $10,879 on May 16 and $66,102 on June 20. In addition, Garner asked for $9,775 for the removal of a modular trailer. The trailer had already been hauled away and asking for the funding was a formality, Town Manager Scott Meszaros told the board.

All of the changes are paid out of the contingency fund. Garner has told the board that a financial project of this size and undertaking will experience these types of changes. He has said the changes are accounted for with the contingency fund. Garner also has said that although the change amounts may seem large, they were small compared with the overall operating budget. The town has budgeted just over $17 million for the new public safety building.

In other business, the board will consider authorizing Meszaros to approve a change order with DK & Sons Construction Co. Inc. for asphalt paving and storm drainage at the Thomas Campbell Oakman Chapel. 

On March 7, the board approved a contract with DK & Sons for the construction of a stand-alone restroom to service the chapel, according to a memo from Parks and Recreation Director Lamarco Morrison in the agenda materials. The parking lot paving was not part of the original project because funding was not identified.

However, in order for the facility to receive a Certificate of Occupancy, the existing gravel parking must be paved and meet all Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, the memo states. The town approved $47,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding for parking lot improvements at the Thomas Oakman Chapel that includes asphalt paving, according to Morrison’s memo.

The staff is recommending that the town manager be authorized to approve the change order for the asphalt paving, ADA improvements and storm drainage for an amount not to exceed $41,000.

Public hearings

The board is scheduled to hold public hearings on several zoning cases, including:

  • Rezoning 14.87 acres west of Elk Park Drive.
  • Rezoning 7.3 acres at the northeastern intersection of South Main Street and East Patterson Street.
  • Rezoning 10 acres at 4221 Black Bridge Road.
  • The initial zoning for 82.5 acres east of the intersection of Rockfish Road and Waldos Beach Road and west of Camden Road and Wipperwill Drive.

Those who would like to speak must sign up with the town clerk prior to the start of the meeting.

The board also plans to go into closed session to discuss a personal matter.

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, moratorium, overlay district