Rezoning at Baltimore Rd., US 158 OKd

Published 9:09 am Thursday, December 14, 2017

County commissioners earlier this month approved re-zoning 4.79 acres off US 158 across from Baltimore Road from residential to highway business.

Board members tried to get representatives of the developers, Baltimore Re, LLC, to say what the plans are, even after the planning director told them that all uses in a highway business zoning have to be considered.

One of the contentions was the possible extension of Baltimore Road to I-40 for a new interchange, but that project, if it ever happens, is a long way out.

Planning Director Andrew Meadwell said there are no plans for engineering or funding for the project with the N.C. Department of Transportation. County commissioners earlier had asked for the new interchange.

Neal Cornatzer, one of the partners in Baltimore Re, said he had checked with state officials and the interchange is not part of plans for at least 10-12 years. He was also told it is unlikely such an interchange would be approved so close to the NC 801 interchange.

Planning board members, who recommended the rezoning to commissioners, decided they couldn’t hold a piece of property hostage on something that may or may not happen.

Cornatzer said the property would be developed with the possibility of a future road, and that a business zoning is the highest and best use.

Board member Mark Jones said he had some concern because the property is across from a church. Cornatzer said any development would be “tasteful.” “We have not determined 100 percent what the development will be.”

Because the property is in a quality design overlay district, there are more stringent requirements, such as buffers, landscaping, parking and lighting. All of that will come back to the county during a project review process, Meadwell said.

The request was approved unanimously.