Westover citizens sound off on zoning

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Westover Town Council came under fire recently from citizens concerned about changes in zoning regulations.

The council recently approved an ordinance clarifying the zoning regulations, adopting Highway 280 overlay regulations and Planned Unit Development guidelines as well as authorizing the issue of building permits for the replacement of existing grandfathered businesses or residences destroyed beyond repair by fire or natural disaster.

Expressing concerns about zoning regulations were residents Jerry H. Reeves, Denice Howard, Jeff Welborn and Catherine Scott.

The council previously approved a six-month moratorium on new Class A mobile homes in the town in areas other than those zoned rural residential and agricultural rural preserve. A permanent moratorium on manufactured homes in restricted areas was a part of a clarification approved by the council along with the 280 overlay.

Reeves expressed concerns about restrictions against manufactured homes. He said zoning regulations were changed before most people knew about it.

While he said a letter was sent after the fact, he contended that letters should have been sent before the council voted. And he questioned the effectiveness of places where information about the proposed changes was posted.

According to Reeves, everyone doesn’t go to water board, the store or

read local newspapers.

He also said the restrictions don’t tell if you can expand an existing mobile home.

He called the changes &uot;unfair.&uot;

&uot;I’ve got 20 acres of land here and my kid can’t put a mobile home on it,&uot; he said.

Reeves comments were followed by applause from residents who attended the meeting.

Howard also complained about the restrictions on mobile homes.

&uot;Why was a six-month moratorium put on mobile homes? Was it until language could be changed?&uot;

She asked why manufactured homes could not be allowed in residential neighborhoods, indicating she believed &uot;love and family make a home.&uot;

She also asked who on the council could dictate who could have manufactured homes or where to put them.

She told the council, &uot;If you want to live like Mt. Laurel or Shoal Creek, they will welcome you with open arms.

&uot;If you are pushing affordable housing out,&uot; it will lead to &uot;pushing some of our citizens out&uot; unless attitudes are changed about manufactured home, Howard said.

She also asked about upgrading existing manufactured homes or replacing them with new manufactured homes also.

Her comments were followed by applause as well.

Wellborn said he’s seen changes in Westover he doesn’t like.

And Scott spoke on zoning topics saying zoning ordinances were put in place &uot;with little citizen involvement.

&uot;Citizens of Westover do not believe there was adequate advertising,&uot; she said.

&uot;If someone wants to bring a business, let them have the burden of rezoning and variance,&uot; she said.

Councilmember Susan Wooten thanked members of the community for coming forward with their concerns.

Neither Mayor Mark McLaughlin nor members of the council responded to questions raised during the council session.

McLaughlin did indicate later, however, that existing (grandfathered) manufactured homes could be upgraded or replaced with new ones.

Despite the opposition of Wooten, the council went on to approve the purchase of 250 new brochures for the town at a cost of $1 each from RPC and to spend $50 on the printing.

Councilmember Annette Tyler announced that Gloria and George McKinnon were selected June Yard of the Month winners.

And Planning and Zoning Commission Chairman Michael Sampsell recommended that Paragon Engineering and Frazier Christy be selected as the town’s engineer. However, no action was taken at this meeting