Williamston Town Council looks at property sales, zoning 

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During their meeting Monday, Williamston Town Council approved the sale of property on Rector Road, funding for trail expansion design, amended the purchasing policy and made changes to the zoning ordinance.

Council approved first reading on an ordinance allow the sell of five acres of town owned property on Rector Road. The property was purchased about 10 years ago for a proposed “drip irrigation” land application waste water treatment system which didn’t materialize. The town originally paid $55,000 for the property. Mayor Rockey Burgess said the town is working on a deal to sell the property for $65,000. After fees, the town will receive approximately $58,000, he said.
Council approved funding of $8,500 for design of a trail expansion to the Mineral Spring Trail. Alliance Engineering will provide a detailed site plan with wetlands, surveys and other information required for a future grant application. Mayor Burgess said Mineral Spring Park is the number one asset of the town and he believes the trail system will also be a great asset for growth and “will make a huge impact”.
Burgess said trail expansion will likely be done in phases with the first being from Brock Lane to the Veterans Park. A new residential housing development is being planned for property on Brock Lane. The expanded trail will allow access to the Veterans Park and Mineral Spring Park area.
Council unanimously approved a change in the purchasing policy to allow for a bid appeal process for vendors.
Council unanimously approved an expansion of the town’s planning commission from five to seven members. The expanded planning commission will include a member from each ward, two new at large members and the chairman who is also an at large member. The expansion will ensure that the commission has a quorum when meeting so that decisions can be made on important issues that may come up.

Council approved a new R-7 category for the zoning ordinance. The planning commission recommended the new a classification. Planning Commission Chairman Marion Middleton Jr. said the new classification, which allows 7000 square feet lots, will allow developers to build larger homes on smaller lots on property at Middleton Blvd. and Minor Street.

The property is already laid out for the smaller lot sizes, he said. The norm for single residential homes is 10,000 sq. ft. The lots are expected to sell for approximately $23,000 each. He said R-7 will allow more rooftops on the same amount of land, which benefits the town with tax revenues and developers with lower cost per unit.

“We are not rezoning property (which is already residential) Middleton said. “Other than adding a new classification.”

The town’s zoning ordinance currently has R1, R2 and R3 classifications. R3 is 10,000 sq. ft.
Any zoning changes will require a public hearing.

Council approved a change in the zoning ordinance to allow the new R-7 classification for properties to be developed on Brock Lane.
Middleton said, “The planning commission has authority when a reasonable request. If it benefits the overall plan and the town we will sign off,” he said.
Middleton said the new classification allows setting aside green space. He said the town is ready for future development with ordinances and zoning. “We are ready,” he told Council. “Developers are coming to us to make sure any changes are ok.” Any small changes can be brought to the zoning administrator, which is the mayor, he said.

During comments, Mayor Burgess said that a developer is interested in a town owned lot at 105 W 2nd street. The town was gifted the property which had a burned out house on it. The town has approximately $6,000 in the lot. The house was demo’d by the town at a cost of approximately $5,500 and there was an appraisal done for additional $500. Burgess said the lot will probably sell for $8,000. “This is a step forward to revitalize the mill village and will be put toward improving another property.”
Councilman Chris Alexander, who was instrumental in moving forward with the project, said he was excited “that it turned around so quickly.”