Three public hearings on zoning and other issues and a proposal to make the city’s aerial fire truck available to county school sites will be part of Thursday night’s Mount Airy Board of Commissioners meeting.
The board also will consider other business, including giving special recognition to Odell’s Sandwich Shop, and hold a closed session relating to matters of economic development.
Its meeting in the Municipal Building begins at 7 p.m. Thursday.
Fire Truck Issue
The matter involving Mount Airy’s ladder, or aerial, truck stems from a desire by the Franklin Volunteer Fire Department — which covers areas outside the municipality — to increase its fire-suppression capabilities.
Specifically, Franklin fire officials cite the presence of four schools within its district, including North Surry High, Meadowview Middle, Gentry Middle and Franklin Elementary.
An agreement to be considered Thursday night calls for the Mount Airy Fire Department to respond with its aerial truck, when available, on an as-needed basis to areas of the Franklin Fire Department District. This includes the “predesignated” school sites, as well as “any predetermined location” within that district, under the wording of the pact.
Mount Airy bought its 100-foot platform truck in the fall of 2011 at a cost of $759,000. It replaced an older vehicle that had become unreliable and posed safety hazards to firefighters.
Fire officials have said it can be used to battle blazes not only at multi-story buildings such as the hospital, but in cases involving one-story, spread-out structures — including schools — where its maneuverability would be a plus.
The commissioners will consider authorizing a contract for the outside use of the truck during Thursday’s meeting.
Zoning Ordinance Hearing
One of the public hearings scheduled Thursday night would affect residential group development in the city. A proposed amendment seeks to allow more housing units to exist on designated acreage than are presently permitted.
City planners have recommended that the number of dwelling units allowed per acre be increased from five to 12.
They say the higher density conforms to the Vision Plan, a long-range land-use planning document adopted by Mount Airy officials in 2001, which calls for the 12 units per acre designation.
A planning official has said that the change would allow more people to live in a space and help avoid sprawl.
While the higher density is recommended in the long-range Vision Plan, Thursday’s hearing was triggered by the Edgewood Place apartment complex near Walmart. As plans were being prepared for the 56-unit project, it was learned that present density regulations in Mount Airy’s zoning ordinance would not permit such a development.
Old Ridge Road Rezoning
Another public hearing Thursday involves a rezoning request for property at 251 Old Ridge Road near Flat Rock.
Owners Lane D. Edwards and Tonya W. Edwards are asking that the city change the zoning of the one-acre site from a residential classification to B-2 (General Business).
This is sought to accommodate an expanded auto body repair and paint shop there, which would include adding on to an existing building and the creation of five to six jobs within about five years, according to the rezoning petition.
A petition signed by other property owners in the area who support the rezoning has been submitted to city officials with documents related to the request.
Stonebrook Drive Closure
The third hearing relates to the proposed closure of a portion of Stonebrook Drive, located off Parker Road in northern Mount Airy.
Petitioners for the move include property owners Richard David Johnson and his wife, Jill Chatham Johnson, who reside on Pine Creek Trail, along with an entity known as Chemlaw Properties, also listed as an owner.
The proposed closure stems from the desire by the owners of the site, which includes four lots in Cedar Creek Estates, to revise the properties into three lots. This would involve the removal and closure of a portion of Stonebrook Drive which is surrounded by land owned only by the petitioners and not deemed a necessary access for anyone else, documents show.
Action could be taken Thursday night on all three matters to be addressed during the public hearings, based on the board’s agenda.
Among other business Thursday, the city commissioners will:
• Recognize Odell’s Sandwich Shop as part of an ongoing program to honor older local businesses;
• Consider appointments to the city Tourism Development Authority;
• Recognize Mark and Shasta Brown for volunteer efforts during Mount Airy’s annual tree-lighting ceremony before Christmas;
• Receive an annual fire department report;
• Hold a public forum during which citizens may speak on any municipal government topic.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.