City of Marion rezones five lane land for apartments

A section of land along the five lane will be marketed so apartments and other multi-family homes can be built there.

During the regular meeting on Tuesday, the Marion City Council held a public hearing for the rezoning of the 24.75 acres of land along the five lane which is located across the road from the Harvest Drive-In and Moondoggy’s Diner. W. Clark Lisenbee, who operates Main Street Car Wash and Storage, and Thomas Gibson and his wife, Susan, asked for that land to be rezoned from the old R-2 Neighborhood Residential and C-2 General Business zoning districts to the new zoning of R-4 Multi-Family Residential zoning district.

What this new zoning means is that multi-family housing like apartments could be built in that location, according to Planning Director Heather Cotton.

Lisenbee was present Tuesday for the public hearing. He told The McDowell News that he doesn’t plan to build apartments or multi-family housing himself but rather market the property for others to do so.

“There’s so many developers that would like to (build on that site),” he said.

After hearing from Lisenbee and Cotton, the Marion City Council enthusiastically voted to approve the rezoning.

“We need more housing,” said Mayor Steve Little.

“We need it. I’m thrilled by the possibility,” said Mayor Pro Tem Billy Martin.

This is not the first time the City Council has rezoned that property in hopes that apartments would be built there.

In March 2011, the City Council agreed to change the old C-2 general business zoning to the R-2 general residential zoning, which would allow for apartment complexes, duplexes, triplexes, mobile homes and mobile home parks.

At that time, Cotton said a company from Raleigh asked for the land to be rezoned. This company applied for the rezoning in order to build a 48-unit apartment complex at the site. The firm’s site plan, which was submitted to the city, called for four separate apartment buildings and an office. The complex would be called Marion Hill Apartments.

The original rezoning in 2011 was to provide the potential buyer with the ability to receive N.C. Housing Finance Agency housing tax credits. That project was not awarded the tax credits, which is based on a competitive statewide process, and the Marion Hill Apartments did not become a reality.

But others are interested in building apartments there.

“Multi-family residential development interest in the property, along with adjacent properties, has continued since that time,” said Cotton in a memo. “Collectively, the property owners would like to make the area more attractive to potential developers by rezoning multiple properties to the R-4 Multi-Family Residential District and increase marketing efforts.”

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