Council to consider rezoning request

Published 12:57 pm Friday, January 9, 2015

Washington’s City Council, during its meeting Monday, is scheduled to consider a request to rezone 6.49 acres along Slatestone Road near Washington High School from residential (R9-S) to office and institutional.

The Planning Board, after a unanimous vote last month, is recommending the request be approved. Fortescue Investment Group (444 Stewart Parkway, Washington) wants to build a child-care facility on the property, which is on the south side of the Washington High School site, according to a city document. The City Council has final say on rezoning matters.

Robert M. Leggett and Belinda Gail Leggett of Greenville submitted the application for the rezoning, according to the document. Robert Leggett spoke briefly but provided no details about the proposed child-care facility.

The request ran into opposition during the Planning Board’s meeting in December.

Louis Martin Jr., who lives adjacent to the 6.49 acres, opposed the request. He voiced concerns that some of the permitted uses in an O&I zone are not compatible with the adjacent residential area. Martin also said he was bothered by not being notified (by letter) of the request until the Thursday before the Dec. 15 meeting, saying it was insufficient time.

Martin said the property currently serves as buffer between the high school and the Slatestone Hills subdivision in which he lives.

“This 6.49 acres or so asking to be rezoned to O&I is a very major change. … When you look at the permitted development and the special-use permit, there is some major usages there that are not consistent with adjacent subdivision uses,” Martin said at the December meeting. “My concern is, and my neighbors’ concern is, that this rezoning of the complete 6.49 acres to O&I opens the door to a lot, a very lot, of incompatible usage adjacent to an existing subdivision, single-family dwellings, that has been there almost 45 years.”

One of the possible uses in an O&I zone is multi-family dwellings, Martin said, indicating such use would not be compatible with the single-family dwellings already in the area. He also expressed concern that other permitted uses such as banks and restaurants would not be compatible with the adjacent residences.

Martin said he and some of his neighbors have no objection to the 6.49 acres being used by its owner in ways that “would not contribute to reducing the intent of the original R9-S zoning to our neighborhood or his property.”

Last month, Board members Dot Moate and Rawls Howard expressed concerns about Martin not receiving notification of the meeting in a timely manner.

“I’d be upset, too,” Moate said.

At the Dec. 16 meeting, board members made it clear that opponents of the request can voice their concerns when the City Council conducts its public hearing on the matter Monday.

Howard and Moate said they believe request makes sense because it falls in line with the city’s comprehensive land-use plan. Moate said O&I is a proper zoning classification for the 6.49 acres.

The council meets at 5:30 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers in the Municipal Building, 102 E. Second St. To view the council’s agenda for a specific meeting, visit the city’s web­site at, click “Government” then “City Council” heading, then click “Meeting Agendas” on the menu to the right. Then click on the date for the appropriate agenda.



About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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