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Officials: Bodies belong in cemeteries

FRANKLINTON -- Town commissioners approved a text amendment that would allow residents to bury loved ones on their property.

They also approved a rezoning that could grow the town, bring a new store to the area and provide a residence for those with special care needs.

Each decision was approved by unanimous vote during the Aug. 20 meeting, but they did spur some dialogue.

The town maintains both the Fairview and Evergreen cemeteries, but Town Manager Gregory Bethea advised commissioners that a resident requested permission to use their own residence for a loved one's final resting place.

The text amendment does not allow a resident to bury a body on their private property -- unless they already had a family burial ground on record.

But, it does allow someone to bury cremated remains on their private property, as long as the practice is recorded via survey.

"We don't expect it to be used very often, but this does allow for those unique instances when people want to do that," Bethea said.

The decision to change the text amendment was unanimous, but Commissioner Dr. Phil Meador expressed some consternation.

"I think we respectfully want to comply with landowners' wishes if they want to bury someone on their property," Meador said. "I think, after [the resident is] gone, beforehand, they should ask, how is [the plot] going to be kept up? Is it going to be kept up?

"If it's not kept in the family, it won't be respected, so, I think it's respectfully, something that we can do to accommodate [residents], but I think, personally, it's a bad idea.

"I think it'd be better if they were buried in a cemetery that the town or that someone in perpetuity is going to take care of."

In other business, commissioners agreed to rezone just more than 37 acres along Howard Harris and Cheatham Street -- the second phase of the Essex subdivision -- from Mixed Use Development to Planned Development.

Theoretically, the change would help clear the way for a planned 101 single family detached homes, 91 town homes and almost two acres of recreation area.

The project, Bethea explained, "continues a really quality development for us."

He also noted that it is consistent with the town's 20-year plan to promote compatible development patterns.

The decision to rezone was unanimous.

The rezoning is not the ultimate approval of the project, though.

Developers still have to be approved for water allocation, which is handled by the county's Utility Advisory Committee and the county's Board of Commissioners.

When completed, Bethea and town officials said, the expectation is that the project would be annexed into town limits.

• As the town's Board of Adjustment, commissioners approved a special use permit that would allow Trifecta Holding Company LLC to combine four parcels at Mason, Elm, and Sterling streets to build four duplexes and a single family adult care home on the attached property.

The decision was unanimous.

• Commissioners discussed plans to combine and rezone three lots on Lane Store Road and N.C. 56 to develop grocery/convenience store.

"A neighborhood grocery meets two of your 20-year-plan development goals; to spur quality employment and commercial development," Bethea told commissioners. "It's conveniently located to benefit residents and allows a compatible mix of residential, commercial and industrial activity and provides basic goods and services within walking distance of homes."

The decision to rezone the property from Residential Single Family High Density to Mixed Use Development was approved.


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