By Yustin Riopko
WAXHAW – Planning has begun for a new public services and parks and recreation facility near the intersection of Kensington Drive and Waxhaw-Marvin Road.
Waxhaw purchased the 17.4 acres in June and the board of commissioners voted to incorporate it into town limits Aug. 25.
Town Manager Jeffrey Wells called 4220 Waxhaw-Marvin Road a ‘doughnut hole property,’ since it is already enclosed on every side by Waxhaw land.
Parks and rec currently resides in the Town Annex Building at 321 N. Broome St. That property is one of a handful the town intends to sell off once parks and rec is packed up and moved out.
The town set aside $175,000 in its capital plan reserve this year to afford preliminary work for the new facility. That includes surveying cost and topography studies, as well as architectural and site design.
Wells estimated a summer 2021 groundbreaking for the project and a final cost of around $2 million.
Before next steps can be taken, commissioners will have to approve a zoning reassignment request from the town itself. When the land was purchased, Union County had it zoned for medium-density single-family residential development. Commissioners will decide as soon as Sept. 22 whether to switch that to office/institutional/specialty use, or OIS.
Waxhaw Senior Planner Blair Israel said the rezoning would be consistent with the town’s 2016 future land use plan, which anticipates the area being used not only for housing, but also for schools, parks and other related public facilities.
According to Town Attorney Charles Buckley, this rezoning is different than typical conditional rezoning petitions brought by private developers.
“With the conditional zoning, where it’s a legislative decision, you can consider what the applicant’s petition is calling for,” Buckley said. “But on a straight zoning like this, you have to consider all the possible uses that may be put to in that zoning category.”
For that reason, Buckley reminded commissioners it isn’t the parks and rec center they’ll be voting on as early as the next meeting, just the rezoning.