memo-12-08-2015-13

MEMO TO:           Mayor Barber and Board of Commissioners

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

SUBJECT:           Rezoning of Parcels in the Village West Planning Area from Business (B) and Camp (C) to Village West (VW)

The Board of Commissioners is scheduled to consider 3 separate actions to fully implement the Village West zoning district in the area generally centered on Islander Drive, Reed Drive, NC 58, and Crew Drive.  This entire area is projected as Village West in the Town’s Land Use Plan, and the proposed Board actions on December 8 would formally rezone these parcels from the Business (B) and Camp (C) zoning districts to the Village West (VW) zoning district.

These actions are scheduled for Board consideration now in order to “clean up” the Town’s official zoning map prior to the initiation of the planned update of the Town’s Land Use Plan in 2016.  These actions are also motivated by the continued improvement in the local real estate market and the current availability of several parcels on the real estate market.  It is hoped that these actions will serve as a catalyst for quality development and redevelopment in this area of Emerald Isle.

Resolution Amending Land Use Plan

The attached map delineates the specific properties included in the Village West planning area in the Town’s Land Use Plan, originally adopted in 2004 and amended over time.  The attached resolution simply adds one additional parcel associated with Boardwalk RV Park to the Village West planning area.  The ~ 1.1 acre parcel is located on the east side of Boardwalk Drive (see attached map), and is currently vacant but is part of the allocated wastewater treatment area for Boardwalk RV Park.  The ~ 1.1 acre parcel is currently projected as Single / Dual-Family Residential in the Town’s Land Use Plan because it abuts a single family residential subdivision located on Janell Lane.

As Town staff prepared to present the proposed Village West rezoning to the Planning Board and Board of Commissioners, we engaged in significant outreach to the impacted property owners to determine their interest in being included in this initiative.  The main area of Boardwalk RV Park has been included in the Village West planning area since 2004.  When approached about the proposed rezoning, the owners of the Boardwalk RV Park indicated their agreement with formally rezoning the property from the current Business (B) zoning to Village West (VW) zoning, and also requested that the additional ~ 1.1. acre parcel be added to the rezoning.  This addition appears to be reasonable and logical.

The attached resolution amending the land use plan is required in order to proceed with also rezoning this additional ~1.1 acre parcel, and would need to be considered by the Board prior to considering the overall rezoning.

Ordinance Amending Chapter 4 – Use Regulations – of the Unified Development Ordinance – To Amend the Table of Permitted Uses and Special Uses in the Village West Zoning District

The attached ordinance amendment formally adds the following uses as permitted uses in the Village West zoning district:

  • car wash
  • storage facilities for rent
  • ice manufacture, storage and sales.

This amendment is proposed because these uses are currently in operation (and have been for several years) in the area to be rezoned to Village West, and this amendment would insure that these uses remain conforming in the future.

The attached ordinance amendment also formally changes the following uses from special uses to permitted uses in the Village West zoning district:

  • campgrounds and travel trailer parks
  • RV parks.

This amendment is proposed because the Holiday TravLPark and Boardwalk RV Park are currently in operation (and have been for several years) in the area to be rezoned to Village West, and this amendment would insure that these uses remain conforming in the future.

The attached ordinance amendment also formally adds “stone and granite sales” as a special use in the Village West zoning district.  Artisan Granite and Marble is not currently a permitted use in the Business or Village West zoning district, however, it has operated at that location for several years.  Because this use could be perceived as a quasi-manufacturing use, the attached ordinance amendment establishes it as a special use to provide additional protections if deemed necessary for any future expansion or new uses.

Each of these amendments is proposed because the Town seeks to make the rezoning to the Village West zoning district a cooperative effort with the impacted property owners.  If the Board is not comfortable with adding certain uses as permitted or special uses in the Village West zoning district, these uses can certainly be removed from the attached ordinance amendment or converted from permitted uses to special uses to provide additional protections in the future.  If the Board does pursue such changes, I recommend that the rezoning of the specifically impacted parcels be delayed until additional input can be obtained from the property owner.

Rezoning of Parcels in the Village West Planning Area from Business (B) and Camp (C) to Village West (VW)

Following consideration of the attached resolution amending the land use plan and the attached ordinance amendment, the Board may consider the formal rezoning of properties, as indicated on the attached map.

The ultimate vision for the Village West area is noted in the attached excerpt from the Town’s 2004 Land Use Plan.  Village West is envisioned as a tourism-centered, mixed-use area with a “village” feel that may include multi-story buildings located closer to the street and to one another.  Village West (along with the similar Village East area near Bogue Inlet Drive) was intentionally created with a goal of promoting quality development and redevelopment in the future in these areas, and Village West was cited as more of a tourism / entertainment area.

The attached handout notes the “Key Differences Between Business (B) and Village West (VW) Zoning Districts”.  The most significant difference is that VW zoning allows a mixture of commercial and residential uses in the same district, on the same parcel, and even in the same building.  There are also reduced building setbacks, smaller residential lot sizes, provisions promoting revegetation in areas previously cleared, and opportunities for multi-family residential development (stand-alone, or in conjunction with commercial development).  The VW zoning district allows up to 6 residential units per acre, either in a single-family or multi-family plan.  Building height limits in Village West are consistent with the rest of Emerald Isle – limited to 40 ft. mean roof height, with the potential to increase to 50 ft. with issuance of special use permit.

Importantly, in an effort to provide maximum flexibility for high quality development projects and also to promote the creation of significant public parking, access, or recreational amenities, inclusion in the Village West zoning district also qualifies the parcels for the Village West Conditional Overlay (VW-C) zoning district if desired by the property owner.  The VW-C zoning district can only be utilized with specific conditional zoning approval by the Board of Commissioners for a specific development plan, and can only be granted if the project creates significant public parking, access, or recreational amenities.  The VW-C zoning district would enable the property owner, subject to the conditions negotiated with the Town and determined by the Board of Commissioners, to deviate from the prescribed development standards (with certain limits on building height and residential density that are not negotiable) in the “regular” Village West zoning district, thereby providing greater flexibility and potentially higher quality development with a higher economic return.  For example, a project approved under the VW-C zoning could potentially include up to 10 residential units per acre (as opposed to 6 allowed in the “regular” VW zoning district), and might utilize further reduced building setbacks or vegetated area requirements. The key to the VW-C zoning is the provision of significant public amenities as part of the project and negotiation with the Town.  In simple terms, the VW-C zoning could be viewed as a “bonus” for the property owner.      

Additional Comments

The attached memo from Town Planner Josh Edmondson includes additional information about the proposed rezoning.  Public hearings are required prior to formal Board consideration of all 3 items, and have been scheduled for the December 8 regular meeting.  All impacted and adjacent property owners have also been notified via mail, notices have been posted on the Town’s website and in local newspapers, and signs noting the proposed rezoning have been placed in several locations.  For simplicity, we suggest that the Board conduct one public hearing to cover all 3 items.

The rezoning of these parcels to Village West will fully implement the planned rezoning initiatives contemplated in the 2004 Land Use Plan, provide greater flexibility for property owners in the Village West zoning district,  enhance property values, promote quality development and redevelopment in this area in the future, and will hopefully ultimately create a unique “village” environment consisting of both commercial and residential uses.  

Town Planner Josh Edmondson and I look forward to discussing the proposed rezoning with the Board at the December 8 meeting, and stand ready to answer any questions.