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Council OKs zoning change over objections

James Gianforti voices his opposition to the zoning change before Tabor City Council Tuesday. Seated to the far left are, from left, consulting planner Michael Harvey and developer Steve Shuttleworth. (Deuce Niven, TLT)


     Objections from four neighbors to a proposed 92-home subdivision just east of Tabor City did not persuade the Tabor City Council Tuesday to deny zoning amendments that appear to pave the way for the project.

     Council’s vote minutes after a nearly half-hour legislative hearing on the proposal came on a motion from council member Nelson Lee, a second from Mayor pro tem Lamont Grate, and was unanimous.


     Objections voiced during a community meeting on March 1 focused on the plans from Developer Steve Shuttleworth of Carolina Beach to develop the 47-acre tract owned by Jonathan Kyle Cox of Tabor City.

     But those plans, consulting planner Michael Harvey of n-Focus said during the hearing, were not the issue before council.

     State law regarding zoning has seen significant change in recent years, Harvey said previously. Shuttleworth and Cox, jointly, have asked the town to change the zoning of the property across from Tabor Landing Apartments from agricultural use to mixed use, change that would allow for a variety of residential and commercial uses including single family, duplex, and multi-family residential uses.

     Shuttleworth was present but did not speak during the hearing Tuesday. During the March 1 community building he laid out plans for a community of 92 homes likely priced below $400,000 and likely governed by a home owners association.

     Speaking in opposition to the zoning change were:

  • James Gianforti, a resident of AJ Lane whose property abuts the proposed development. Retired from the military and still employed by the US Army at Fort Bragg, Gianforti said he’s lived in “high density areas” and chooses to live in here “because of the unique charm of Tabor City and the outlying area.” He added that the rural area “allows me a certain peace to keep certain things at bay.

     “After hearing the proposal and talking to residents, we vehemently oppose and object to his proposal in its entirety.”

  • Dan Hassell described himself as “a refugee from Little River and North Myrtle Beach,” and said he made the Tabor City area his home to get away from crowded living and traffic headaches that could make a trip of two three blocks into a 20 minute excursion.

     “Since 2009 thousands and thousands of high density development have been built,” Hassell said, “all the way out here. This is another one that is potentially going to cause more people and more traffic.”

     Hassell said the community, as it is, has a quiet charm. “It’s a family oriented area that I think is extremely well run.”

     He said the community has a “Mayberry kind of feel…that I think is worth saving.”

  • Worth Ward, a Tabor City area native, said he has lived in the Raleigh area and came back for more quiet living. He said his issue was less with the proposed development, and more about what else could come if the houses are never built.

     “There’s no guarantee, things are changing,” Ward said. “A year ago a house  would have sole like hotcakes. Now I’m worried about what happens if nobody buys them.?

  • Emory Cox called Tabor City “a very charming town,” and that the proposed “high density development out there, it will look like a sore thumb.

     “I grew up in Myrtle Beach,” Cox said, “and now it’s just a bunch of vinyl villages. It looks ugly as homemade sin. I live in a brick house. I don’t want a vinyl village next to me.”

     Cox said 92 homes on the 47 acre tract, with streets, sidewalks and other amenities, would create “houses where you can jump from rooftop to rooftop. I don’t see where it fits with the character of this town.”

     For more on this story see today’s Tabor-Loris Tribune in print and online.