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Zebulon subdivision plans include 377 homes

Town turns away internet cafe

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ZEBULON — A proposed subdivision off Pearces Road got another OK from the Zebulon Board of Commissioners on Monday when officials approved a special use permit for the site plan that included 377 homes.

The Pearces Road Subdivision would feature medium-density homes and a private greenway through the neighborhood. After the traffic-impact analysis, commissioners decided not to require a southern turn lane from Pearces Road into the subdivision.

As part of the plan, the developer would have to improve part of Pearces Road to three lanes.

Developer Adam Pike said the plans exceed those required by Zebulon’s zoning codes.

“We are providing two sidewalks on both sides of the street — only sidewalks are required on side of the street — along with additional parking scattered throughout the site to help with visitor who may come to the subdivision,” Pike said at a public hearing in September.

The commissioners unanimously approved the special use permit.

But the board denied a second special use permit requested by Landstar Investment Group to open an internet cafe on North Arendell Avenue, at the recommendation of town staff who pointed to an ordinance that requires the proposed building be brought up to code because it had been empty for more than 180 days.

“We’d want to see right-of-way dedication,” said town planning director Meade Bradshaw. “We’d want to them comply with the parking ordinance, landscape ordinance, lighting ordinance. And what they submitted did not bring that site up to compliance.”

The town’s planning board in September unanimously recommended commissioners deny the permit because the members of that board found the cafe could be a danger to public health or safety.

“In my professional opinion internet cafes are inherently dangerous,” Police Chief Timothy Hayworth testified before the planning board. “I have personal knowledge of the crimes that occur. These are cash businesses. There’s a large amount of cash on hand.”

Hayworth claimed security guards at other internet cafes have been murdered on the job during armed robberies.

In other business, commissioners on Monday:

• Approved the demolition of a home at 114 E. Lee St.

• Adopted a new Unified Development Ordinance.

• Agreed to a proposal from Steel Magnolias Garden Club to build a Blue Star Memorial Garden at the town municipal complex.