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Rezoning 10 acres in Camden approved

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

CAMDEN — The Camden County Board of Commissioners Monday, Nov. 4, approved the rezoning of 10 acres on N.C. Highway 343 North in a rural area about three miles south of South Mills from an agricultural and residential designation to a commercial one.

The 10-acre tract owned by Waverly Sawyer includes an existing office building at 872 Highway 343 North, which is located on about one acre, along with an additional nine acres next to the building.

The county commissioners at their regular meeting Monday approved Sawyer’s request to have the property rezoned from Working Lands to Highway Commercial.

The motion by Commissioner Ross Munro to approve the rezoning passed unanimously.

Commissioner Garry Meiggs asked to be recused from the vote because of family ties. Meiggs emphasized that he had no financial ties to the property but only family ties.

A motion by Commissioner Clayton Riggs to allow Meiggs to be recused from the vote passed unanimously.

The commissioners’ vote to approve the rezoning followed a public hearing on the rezoning petition.

The building at the site is the office of Sawyer & Associates, which has been “grandfathered” as a legal non-conforming use.

Dan Porter, the county’s director of planning and community development, told the commissioners that Sawyer had been approached by someone who wanted to lease the building for a retail sales business. Retail is not a permitted use in the Working Lands zoning district.

The Camden County Planning Board had recommended approval of the rezoning.

Porter said the rezoning is consistent with goals of the county’s land use plans, which call for commercial uses to be located on major thoroughfares with access to public utilities.

But the future land use maps call for the property in question to remain rural, Porter added. So the rezoning is contrary to what the future land use maps call for, he explained.

Munro asked Porter why the county shouldn’t rezone just the one acre on which the building is located.

Porter noted there was a concern about “spot zoning” if such a small tract were rezoned.

But Munro said there would be advantages to rezoning just a single acre, rather than adding 10 acres of commercial zoning in the midst of a rural area.

“There’a a history of a business there on that one acre,” Munro said, adding the building has a history of being used for business.

Porter acknowledged it was an option to rezone just the one acre.

Answering a question from Munro, Sawyer said he had no intention of putting anything else of a commercial nature on the rest of the acreage.

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