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    Minutes of 02/14/2006 Board of Adjustment Meeting [adopted]

Regular Meeting
Wake County Board of Adjustment
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
9:00 am, Room 700
Wake County Courthouse
316 Fayetteville Street Mall
Raleigh, North Carolina

Members Present (9): Mr. A. Thomas Anderson, Mr. James Compton, Mr. Billy Myrick, Mr. Art Odom, Mr. Ronald Raxter, Mr. Tim Sack, Ms. Genevieve Sims, Mr. John Welch, Mr. Jeffrey Willis

Members Not Present (0): None

Staff Present (4): Mr. Keith Lankford (Planner III), Ms. Brenda Coats (Planner II), Mr. Joe Mangum (Planner I), Ms. Angel Kropf (Secretary to the Board)

County Attorney Present: Scott Warren (Deputy County Attorney)


Item 1, Call to Order: Chairman Raxter called the meeting to order at 9:01 a.m. with nine (9) members present.

Item 2, Approval of Minutes of January 10, 2006 meeting. Chairman Raxter asked if there were any additions or corrections to the minutes. Ms. Sims asked staff to review the minutes as it concerned the playground area in Item 4 to see if the playground area was already existing or would be built. Mr. Myrick made a motion that the Board adopt the minutes as corrected. Mr. Odom seconded the motion. All members present voted aye. So ordered.

Chairman Raxter stated for the benefit of anyone in the audience who had not attended a meeting of the Wake County Board of Adjustment, that the meeting is a quasi-judicial proceeding. Anyone wishing to present testimony and/or evidence will be asked to come forward and be sworn or affirmed. The petitioner will be given the first opportunity to present testimony and/or evidence. Anyone wishing to speak in favor or opposition will present testimony and/or evidence. The petitioner will then be given an opportunity to respond.

Mr. Keith Lankford and Ms. Brenda Coats were sworn to present testimony for staff.

For the record, staff member Mr. Larry Morgan and Board members A. Thomas Anderson and Jeffery Willis were present on the site tour on Monday, February 13, 2006.

Item 3, BA SU-2044-05:

Petitioner: David Neill, Smith Moore, LLP
Landowner: Martha B Liles and Clarice Holder Bryan
PIN: portion of PIN 1619.01 35 9499
Location: Northern side of Rand Road, west of its intersection with Benson Road.
Zoned: Highway District (HD), Residential - 80 Watershed (R-80W), and Resource Conservation Overlay District-2 (RCOD-2)
Land Area: 20.42 acres

Item No. 3 heard at the regular meeting of the Wake County Board of Adjustment held on Tuesday, February 14, 2006, was a Special Use Permit, Petition No. BA SU-2044-05. The petitioner is David Neill, Smith Moore, LLP. The landowner is Martha B. Liles and Clarice Holder Bryan. The property is located on the northern side of Rand Road, west of its intersection with Benson Road. The following members of the Board heard and decided this petition: Mr. Raxter, Mr. Anderson, Mr. Myrick, Mr. Odom, and Ms. Sims.

In this case the petitioner requests special use permit approval to change the use of an existing residential building to a community building with an 850 square foot addition, and associated parking.


Documentary Evidence: Staff report, PowerPoint slide presentation and videotaped presentation of the site; Special Use Permit Petition; Statement of Justification; Preliminary Special Use Permit Site Plans; Vicinity Map dated 12-28-05; six photographs: (1) Northeastern view down NC Highway 50 from entrance to site on left, (2) Southeaster view across NC Highway 50 from the entrance to the site, (3) Southwestern view down NC Highway 50 towards its intersection with Rand Road from entrance to site on right, (4) Northwestern view from property towards existing farm house on site, (5) Southwestern view of rear of farm house from property, and (6) Northwestern view towards rear of property from driveway at rear of farm house.

Testimony: Ms. Coats entered the staff report for BA SU-2044-05 into the record and stated that this is a request to change the use of an existing residential building to a community building with an 850 square foot addition, and associated parking. The petitioner is David Neill, Smith Moore, LLP. The landowner is Martha B. Liles and Clarice Holder Bryan. The property is located on the northern side of Rand Road, west of its intersection with Benson Road. The property is zoned Highway District, Residential-80 Watershed and Resource Conversation Overlay District-2 and consists of 20.42 acres. The site is located within the Non-Urban Area/Water Supply Watershed in the Swift Creek Land Management Plan. There are environmental features on the property. It contains FEMA map area as well as flood soils. The site plan shows the existing accessory structures that will remain on the property to be used as they are currently being used. The only change on the property will be the residential structure that will have an addition and the associated parking. Access to the site will be from an existing improved driveway off of Highway 50. There will be a DOT permit required for that. The proposed hours of operation will vary, however there will be no activities taking place after midnight. There will be two employees on site at the time that any event is taking place.

Ms. Coats stated that the Swift Creek Land Management Plan restricts the impervious surface coverage on the site to 6%. The Highway District zoning, which is where the structure is located allows up to 30% impervious. Once they reach 30%, they are required to provide stormwater management. Swift Creek is more stringent and is limited to 6%. The site does meet the more stringent Swift Creek Plan. The proposed use is consistent with the Wake County Land Use Plan and the Swift Creek Land Management Plan. The parking required for the site is 12 spaces, based on the seating capacity. They are proposing 75 spaces. The site plan complies with the all buffer requirements. There is one sign proposed for the use, which will be located at the driveway entrance outside of the right-of-way. The thoroughfare plan does not show any improvements for Benson Road and none will be required. The use will be served by individual well and septic.

Mr. Myrick asked about recombining the parcel. Ms. Coats stated they were recombining the parcel to meet the impervious surface limit requirements. Mr. Myrick asked if they owned more land surrounding this parcel. Ms. Coats answered that they did. Ms. Sims asked if this was an additional condition. Ms. Coats stated condition number 4 covered this requirement. Ms. Sims pointed out that the condition in the PowerPoint was not the same condition in the staff report, but the one in the PowerPoint made sense.

Mr. David Neill, 2800 Two Hanover Square, Raleigh, NC stated the was an attorney with Smith Moore and was representing the property owner, Martha B. Liles. He stated he thought this was desired by the property owner. The proposal is for a community building, as defined by the Zoning Code. This is a historic preservation effort. The farmhouse was constructed in 1860, by the first Parker Rand. It was part of the Rand Farm and Rand Plantation. It then became part of the Rand Mill. Lake Benson used to be Rand Mill Pond. After the destruction of the Mill by a fire, the City of Raleigh took it over. The site has stayed in the family line from the King of England to John Rand down to Martha Bryan Liles. This is their family site. The combined acreage is over 170 acres on both sides of Benson Road. The site is already a recorded subdivision for the west side. It has been divided into 7 or 8 lots. The proposal would be to combine two of those existing 10 acre sites into a 20.42 acre site. It is a recombination, not a subdivision. He stated that as far he knows, they won't need to move any property lines, they just need to take an eraser to the one in between. The remainder of the site will continue as its current use, which is an active farm use. This has been designed to be a fit in this community. A low-intensity use, respecting that this is a transition between the county and Garner. To make sure this would fit with the harmony of the area, they had a neighborhood meeting. They notified the neighbors on the outside rim of the larger tracts. There was attendance from four neighbors, plus the applicant at the meeting. They also received two phone calls from adjacent property owners. The support for the project was unanimous in strong support. There was a concern that areas like this are open to one use, turning it into a subdivision. They hope this project will preserver the use as a farm and a historic preservation act.

Mr. Tony Tate, 5011 Southpark Drive, Durham, NC was property sworn. He stated he was a Landscape Architect and Land Planner. He stated Ms. Liles approached him with this project a few years ago. Her main intent was to maintain the site in its existing state. He stated there were trees, cows, and rolling farmland they wanted to preserve. They will try to retain the existing gravel driveway and maintain a few parking spaces off of the driveway. There will be a larger parking lot down to the front of the site. The zoning line in the back requires them to keep everything towards the front of that line. They would have liked to put the parking lot in the back, but that wasn't possible. They are under 6% impervious and are not trying to disturb the property any more than necessary. There are some floodsoils on the site, but not anywhere near the house and parking area. They are just trying to keep the area looking like it does as much as possible. There will be an 850 square foot addition to the house, which will be in the same keeping of the architectural style of the existing house.

Mr. Sack asked if the driveway and parking lot was going to be paved. Mr. Tate answered that it would remain gravel. Mr. Neill stated the gravel driveway would be widened to accommodate a request from the Fire Marshall. He stated the 850 square foot addition would be a replica of the wing already in existence on the house. The look will balance the house.

Mr. Thomas Hester, 1620 Hillsborough Street, Raleigh, NC was properly sworn. He stated he was a real estate appraiser since 1981. He opened his own firm in 1988. He stated he did most of his work in Wake County. His firm appraises all kinds of properties, including subdivisions all over the county. He went over his process for evaluating sites. He stated he visited the site and the surrounding neighborhood. He stated he did not do a specific appraisal of this property and has not appraised any of the nearby, adjacent properties, relative to this project. He did look at the land use patterns. He stated it was his conclusions that this proposed use will have no negative effect on the nearby and adjacent properties.

Ms. Martha Bryan Liles, 2706 Dunhaven Drive, Garner, NC was properly sworn. She stated she was the property owner and wanted to tell the board about her plans for the site. She stated she grew up on the property. The root of this project was sentimental one. The house has always been a gathering place. When she told her aunt about her proposed project, her aunt told her that it was known as the party house. She stated she has deep roots in Wake County and when she was younger, her family was always gathering at the house. There are large rooms in the house and a front porch with rocking chairs. There is a large yard with many shade trees. She stated her father died in 1990; her mother died in 1997 and she was faced with what to do with the property. Her father felt strongly about the land and she has tried to honor her father's wishes. When she attended a wedding held at another historic property, she had the idea to turn her homestead into a place to hold gatherings. She started investigating the idea when the tenants stop renting from her. She did market research to see if it was a viable idea. Currently there wasn't a place in Garner to hold group meetings and she hoped that this would provide people a place to have weddings, reunions, and group meetings. She was amazed at the interest she received about her idea. She stated right now, there was no place to have a really nice event. By doing this, she not only gets to preserve the house, but also the land. This would allow her to keep the farm as a farm. She talked about people's admiration for the house and property. She has already received calls from people wanting to use the space.

Mr. Sack asked if there were any changes to the inside of the house. Ms. Liles said they were not planning on any changes that were not required. Ms. Coats stated that some changes may need to be made to accommodate the code.

Mr. Compton asked why the parking needed to stay in the front of the house. Mr. Tate stated he thought that the parking needed to stay within the Highway District Zoning. Ms. Sims asked why it needed to stay in the Highway District Zoning. Ms. Coats answered that Mr. Tate was correct and the parking needed to stay with the house use. If the parking was in the back, the parking could spill over into the R-80W and would require a variance and possibly a use variance.

Chairman Raxter closed the public hearing.


The Board of Adjustment shall not approve a petition for a Special Use Permit unless it first reaches each of the following conclusions based on findings of fact supported by competent, substantial, and material evidence. The Board of Adjustment must make positive findings on the following findings of fact from Section 1-1-11 (C) of the Zoning Ordinance in order to approve or deny this special use request:

(1) The proposed development will not materially endanger the public health or safety.
(2) The proposed development will comply with all regulations and standards generally applicable within the zoning district and specifically applicable to the particular type of special use or class of special uses.

(3) The proposed development will not substantially injure the value of adjoining property, or is a public necessity.
(4) The proposed development will be in harmony with the area in which it is located.
(5) The proposed development will be consistent with the Wake County Land Use Plan.

Staff recommends that, if the Board of Adjustment reaches positive conclusions on all the required findings, that it approve the request subject to the following conditions:

Ms. Sims made a motion that in the matter of BA SU-2044-05, the Board of Adjustment find and conclude that the petition does meet the requirements of 1-1-11(C) of the Wake County Zoning Ordinance and the special use permit be granted with the recommended staff conditions. Mr. Myrick seconded the motion. All voting members voted aye. So ordered.

Item 4, New Business:

Ms. Coats announced that Ms. Sims, Mr. Odom, and Mr. Raxter were all reappointed by the Board of Commissioners. She stated the board would be voting on officers at their April meeting.

Ms. Coats said there was scheduled to be two cases at the March meeting.

Item 5, Old Business:

There was none.

February 14, 2006

All petitions complete, Chairman Ronald Raxter declared the regular meeting
of the Wake County Board of Adjustment for
Tuesday, February 14, 2006 adjourned at 9:44 a.m.

Respectfully Submitted:

Ronald Raxter, Chairman
Wake County Board of Adjustment