August 13, 2018

MEMO TO:        Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

FROM:             Frank A. Rush, Jr., Town Manager

SUBJECT:       Proposed Rezoning – McLean-Spell Park – from Residential Multi-Family (RMF) to Government (G) - (Summary & Suggested Motions)

The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to consider the proposed rezoning of the McLean-Spell Park property from Residential Multi-Family (RMF) to Government (G) at the August 13 meeting.  A public hearing has been scheduled for the August 13 meeting, and appropriate public and adjacent property owner notices have been filed.  Following the public hearing, the Board may formally consider the proposed rezoning.

The McLean-Spell Park property consists of ~ 30 acres, and is bounded by single-family homes and vacant residential lots on Live Oak Street (to the west), Sound Drive (to the north), Coral Court and Archers Creek Court (to the east), and by the Town Government Complex and Bogue Banks Water Corporation to the south.  The property has been zoned RMF for many years, and the current zoning primarily allows single-family homes, residential duplexes, and multi-family housing.  With the most intense development permitted, the property could sustain up to 237 multi-family residential units. 

As you know, the Town recently acquired this property (with significant Federal and State grant funding) for parks and recreation purposes, and also to specifically prohibit future development of the site.  All Town-owned properties are currently zoned Government, and the proposed rezoning would also add this new Town property to the Government zoning district.  The Town Government Complex, located directly adjacent to the south, has been zoned Government for many years. 

The attached memo from Josh Edmondson, Town Planner, includes a list of all permitted uses in the Government zoning district.  This list includes typical government facilities, however, the Board should note that the future development of McLean-Spell Park will be further restricted as a result of deed restrictions and easement requirements placed on the property by Federal and State grant funding partners.  The most significant restrictions on the property are as follows:

  • the property must be used as a public park in perpetuity,
  • no significant buildings may be constructed on the property (small storage buildings, restroom facilities, etc. are permitted),
  • no features (antennae, lighting, towers, wire, etc.) taller than 50 feet above ground level are permitted on the property,
  • approximately 20 acres of the property must be maintained as a natural area,
  • approximately 10 acres of the property may be developed with active recreation facilities in the future (potentially including athletic fields, tennis courts, pickleball courts, a dog park, skatepark, or any other outdoor recreation amenities desired by the community in the future),
  • total impervious coverage on the property is limited to 10% of the total land area, or approximately 3 acres (for sidewalks, impervious walkways, small buildings, shelters, tennis courts, skate park facilities, etc. that may be constructed in the future), and
  • any new park features must be at least 50 feet from the banks of Archers Creek. 

Thus, many of the permitted uses in the Government zoning district would not be permitted under the deed restrictions and easement requirements. 

Additionally, as discussed with the Board in recent months, the Town is seeking to prevent motor vehicles from entering the ~ 30 acre park property, and is working to install a new pedestrian bridge from the Community Center parking lot across Archers Creek to McLean-Spell Park.  I am hopeful the new pedestrian bridge will be completed in the coming weeks.  Park visitors will then be able to park at the Community Center and walk into the center of the park, where any future active recreation facilities are likely to be located.  Park visitors will also be able to utilize existing restroom facilities adjacent to the Blue Heron Park tennis courts, and I am hopeful that this will delay or negate the need for public restrooms within McLean-Spell Park in the future.

Josh Edmondson and I look forward to discussing the proposed amendment at the August 13 meeting.