Friday, March 1, 2024

NIMBY: Attempting to thwart construction, Carolina Beach resident applies to rezone her neighbors’ properties

According to the rezoning request, the purpose of it would be to prevent duplexes from being built (Port City Daily/File)
According to the rezoning request, the purpose of it would be to prevent duplexes from being built (Port City Daily/File)

According to the applicant, she does not think duplexes belong on her street and has requested a rezoning of 25 properties she does not own; she has also asked her neighbors to help pay for the rezoning fee.

CAROLINA BEACH — Usually when rezoning requests are submitted to a local government it means someone has plans for new development.

Usually, these requests are submitted by the owners of the property in question.

But in Carolina Beach, a rezoning request for 25 properties by resident Karen Graybush has been submitted to prohibit the construction of duplexes in the area — despite the properties being owned by 22 different owners off Sumter Avenue.

The land in question currently has 16 homes on it along with seven vacant lots — but a building permit to construct duplexes on several of the lots prompted the rezoning request.

“A building permit has recently been applied to build duplexes on three of the vacant lots. The 25 lots in this area are owned by 22 different property owners. Ten properties meet the R-3 minimum lot size of 12,000 sq. ft. These properties have the potential to be subdivided to meet the R-1 5,000 sq. ft. minimum lot size. Fifteen of the properties meet the R-1 minimum lots size and would be non-conforming if they were rezoned to R-3. Nonconforming lots can still be developed, but must meet the setbacks for the zoning district,” according to the town’s Planning and Zoning Board agenda.

Not in my backyard

According to the request, Graybush lives off Sumter Avenue and is a real estate broker who does not want duplexes in her neighborhood.

In a letter written to her neighbors in May, Graybush said, “There are not any duplexes on our street. Our street is a neighborhood of single-family homes. Our street dead ends to Lake Park Boulevard at Third Street, and is quiet and private and full of mostly full-time residents.”

She does offer the consideration to maybe not rezone the land in question and allow for duplexes but require strict covenants for anyone building on the land.

Graybush would be more inclined to have duplexes on her street provided they meet her standards.

“Duplexes that look like homes, and have storage/or garages, that allow for neat yards might be considered. Also allowing owner-occupied residents,” she wrote.

She also asked her neighbors to help her pay for the $625 fee to request the rezoning.

“The fee for this is $625. There are 38 owners of all of the properties on both sides of the street from Fourth to Eighth Streets. I am asking for $20 per owner to help in these fees. I would keep a list of the monies and refund monies if I received over the amount,” she said.

While it is not typical to see a rezoning request by someone other than the owner of the land, it is not forbidden.

“We do have a rezoning request from a citizen that impacts a number of properties in an area that are owned by other individuals … any person may petition the town for a change to the zoning map, even petitions submitted by parties other than the property owner(s),” Assistant Planning Director Jeremey Hardison wrote in an email.

However, according to town staff, the proposed rezoning is in direct conflict with the 2007 land use plan.

“The Landuse plan states that this area should include a predominance of single-family and duplex units. Density will be moderate with a minimum of 5,000 square foot lots and around 8.7 units per acre, with up to 15 units per acre allowed. Lot coverage will not be allowed to exceed 40%. New multi-family (3 units or more)residential development shall be prohibited,” according to the meeting agenda.

The Planning and Zoning Board will meet Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers.

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