Troutman Council rejects Limelights rezoning request
BY DEBBIE PAGE
At its Thursday night meeting, Troutman Town Council members rejected, without discussion, Limelights rezoning request to move from light industrial to conditionally zoned office and institutional, even though staff recommended the change.
LIMELIGHTS OCTOBER REQUEST
The council voted 5-0 to table Limelights rezoning request in October pending completion of the town’s revision and updating of the Unified Development Ordinance.
David and Tracy Garland, owners of the Limelights Hair Salon location, added two interior Airbnb units and one “tiny house” unit in February, which has led to conflict between the town and the Garlands since.
Former Town Planner Erika Martin reviewed a detailed timeline of communications, discussions, letters, a refusal to stop Airbnb operations, $2,700 in accrued fines, and a September request to the Planning and Zoning Board for rezoning, which received a unanimous recommendation from that entity.
Referencing the draft of the town’s Strategic Master Plan draft, Martin then recommended the property be zoned residential to allow Airbnbs in that area, which is planned as a “scenic gateway” transition between the Exit 42 commercial district and the downtown area.
However, the change to residential to accommodate the Airbnbs would eliminate the salon use.
The Garlands' original plan approved by the town for the property included adding a total of five “accessory buildings” for “office” use, but they decided to create Airbnbs instead, which is not in compliance with either past or current town ordinances.
Martin also noted the requested OI zoning is not proposed for that area nor found on future or existing plans.
Council member Paul Bryant made the motion to table the zoning request until after the revised UDO and Strategic Master Plan were approved. He also included in the motion that the Garlands could continue renting interior Airbnbs until until a new settlement of issue.
However, the motion also prohibited the Garlands from renting the “accessory building,” zoned for office use, as of November 1 until a resolution is reached, holding the accrued fines “in abeyance” until the zoning request is settled.
However, Bryant warned if the Garlands continued to rent the tiny house, the couple could be liable for all fines. The Garlands agreed to tabling the request and said they would adhere to Bryant’s motion, which passed the council unanimously.
LIMELIGHTS REQUEST REJECTED
However, at this past Monday’s pre-agenda meeting, Bryant noted that the Garlands had broken the agreement, pulling up on his tablet the Airbnb site detailing rental of the outbuilding.
After council unanimously untabled the October request Thursday night, Town Manager Justin Longino recommended accepting the conditions listed by the Garlands on the rezoning application as well as a town stipulation that a resident manager or manager must be onsite 24/7 to comply with town ordinances governing short-term rentals.
“This would allow oversight of the property that could potentially lead to issues commonly associated with transient lodging,” said Longino.
The council quickly dispatched the matter, with Council Member Sally Williams making the motion to deny the request, which was unanimously upheld without discussion.
Williams then proposed the consistency statement for the vote, saying the council denied the request "due to the inconsistency with the Unified Development Ordinance, Future Land Use Plan, and (because) its location prevents it from being in the best interest of the public.” This motion also passed unanimously.
Since the public hearing on the matter occurred in October, no opportunity for public comment was scheduled. Garland was present for the vote and seem to signal a desire to speak, which was unrecognized by the council.
IN OTHER BUSINESS:
► District Court Judge Deborah Brown officially swore in new Council Member Jan Huffman (above), who was joined by her family for the ceremony.
► The council unanimously approved a budget amendment of $25,000 for an 8-inch water line to run from the Children’s Hope Alliance area under Highway 21 to the Calvary Chapel Church area. A 2-inch water line will run from the east side of the highway to the church building.
► A contract with Stantec to conduct the Southwest Bypass study was approved 5-0. The town received $100,000 in Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO) funds to help fund the study, with the council committing $25,000 to the project.
► Bryant was appointed as the Centralina Council of Government delegate, with Huffman tapped to serve as alternate.
► Mayor Pro Tem Paul Henkel was chosen as Mayor Teross Young’s alternate to the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization.
► Matthew Weber was selected to fill the inside Board of Adjustment seat vacated by Huffman through May of 2022.
► The council recognized Iredell Charter Academy students (above) for scholarship, musical achievement, and community involvement.