Thursday, December 1, 2022

In split vote, Southport delays action on 50-foot height change until August

After voting in May to retroactively amend its Unified Development Ordinance to accommodate improper procedure taken in a $650,000 land deal with Southport Marina, Southport considering changing business height restrictions at the request of the business.

Southport Marina offered to buy the city's 2.5-acre former waste treatment plant for $650,000, a price the city's mayor and manager believe is a good deal. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna Ferebee)
Southport Marina offered to buy the city’s 2.5-acre former waste treatment plant for $650,000, a price the city’s mayor and manager believe is a good deal. (Port City Daily photo/Johanna Ferebee)

SOUTHPORT — Southport Board of Aldermen voted 3-2 at its meeting last week to delay taking action on a proposed text amendment that would increase the city’s height restriction limit in its business district.

The board will review the amendment again at its meeting in August.

Related: Fifty-foot commercial buildings in Southport? Leaders to consider text amendment for marina

Southport Marina submitted an application for a zoning text amendment to raise the city’s height restrictions by 10 feet to 50 feet in the business district. The marina recently offered to purchase, and the city accepted 5-1, Southport’s former wastewater treatment plant for $650,000.

Aldermen Karen Mosteller was the lone “nay” vote on the deal. The sale should close in late August following a due diligence period and should help repair the city’s struggling fund balance. In May, Southport voted 5-1 to retroactively amend its Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) to remove a provision that required the city’s Planning Board to review the disposal of public assets.

The amendment was crafted to make right on the board’s improper procedure in the Southport Marina land deal, in which the proposal did not go through the Planning Board before the board took action. Again, Mosteller cast the lone “nay” vote.

“A retroactive change to Article 3-10 in the UDO, to facilitate one decision, will eliminate the procedure put in place to help provide guidance for Board of Aldermen when considering the acquisition and disposal of public properties,” she said at the May 9 Aldermen meeting.

Last month, though it appeared on the agenda, the item was moved to this month’s meeting.

Mosteller, Robert Tucker, and Rick Pukenas voted on July 11 to defer taking action on the height restriction amendment. Aldermen Lora Sharkey and Marc Spencer voted against delaying the vote; Aldermen James Powell was absent.

Southport Marina intends to construct a 50-foot dry storage structure, effectively duplicating its existing 50-foot storage facility, approved in 2008.

The proposed text amendment, if approved, would apply to all business district properties. This zoning can be found along South Howe Street with some small pockets near the waterfront. In May, Southport’s Planning Board recommended denying the amendment.


Send tips and comments to Johanna Ferebee at johanna@localvoicemedia.com

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