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Cornelius News

New hearings for developments approved; sign rules updated

The QT project caught Smithville by surprise

Aug. 22. Cornelius commissioners unanimously approved rules calling for a new public hearing during the town’s conditional zoning approval process. The new hearing will come early in the process, within the 30-day waiting period after the applicant completes the required community meeting. The effect is more public input before new developments get under way.

“This is a great addition to town law and fills a missing piece in our conditional zoning review process,” said Mayor Pro Tem Woody Washam before the vote.

The issue came to a head several months ago when neighbors expressed concerns about the new QT project on Catawba Avenue a few minutes before the town board voted approved the project.

Town Planning Director Wayne Herron said there was a consensus among staff members that a new hearing earlier in the review process made sense. “This additional public hearing will allow for more public input,” he said. “However, no additional time will need to be added to the current conditional zoning process and no additional advertising costs will be incurred.”

Also at Monday’s meeting the town board:

· Modified the local law on campaign signs so that the town law is now the same as state law. This means candidates’ signs can now be erected 30 days prior to the start of early voting and must be taken down within 10 days of the election. The previous town law only permitted the signs 30 days prior to Election or Primary Day.

· Approved an amendment to the Automobile Sales District on Hwy. 21 which will permit auto rentals as a permitted use in the district. The impetus for the change came from an application which would see the Hertz rental facility move to larger facilities on the west side of Hwy. 21, but was prohibited by the current auto district rules.

· Awarded a $1.98 million contract to Garanco, Inc for the construction of a new Public Works facility off Star Creek Drive, in the southeast section of the town. Garanco, based in Pilot Mountain, was the lowest responsible bidder for the job. Construction work should begin in September.

· Appointed Keith Eicher as Planning Board chair for the next year.

· Passed an ordinance which will allow the Town to erect signage and regulate parking related to customer parking for such services as park and ride, and CATS bus stops. There were no specific regulations which previously addressed this issue in the town code.