From our friends at
Seen this sign?
It’s located on the edge of Duke Energy’s Riverbend plant in Mount Holly, N.C., about 12 miles from Uptown Charlotte. It’s a rezoning notice. It’s hard to spot, and you can’t read it unless you make the effort to stop, get out of your car and walk to it.
Thanks to Twitter user @hotcakes_33, a resident of the nearby Stonewater community, for pointing it out.
Here’s what it says, in case you can’t read it in this image:
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING BEFORE THE MOUNT HOLLY CITY COUNCIL & PLANNING COMMISSION
The City of Mount Holly City Council will hold a public hearing on April 14, 2014 at 7:00 P.M. at the Mount Holly Municipal Complex, located at 400 East Central Avenue. The purpose of this hearing will be to consider an application, submitted by Duke Energy Carolinas, LLC, for rezoning of a three tracts of land, comprising 423 total acres, located on Horseshoe Bend Beach Road between Hwy 16 and Holdsworth Drive, Tax Parcel ID #s 217776, 217767 and 175022, from I-3 (PID 175022) and R-1 Gaston County to H-1 Heavy Industrial. Also, the Mount Holly Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on consideration of this rezoning on April 7, 2014, at 6:30 P.M. at the Mount Holly Municipal Complex. All interested parties are encouraged to attend both hearings where an opportunity to be heard will be given. For more information, please call the Planning Department at (704) 827-3931.
I asked Judy Rozzelle, who owns property adjacent to Duke Energy’s property, if she’d heard anything about this, and she said she hadn’t. She contacted the planning department and this is what they told her:
I called Mt. Holly planning dept. he said Duke Power was supposed to do this 14 years ago and put it off until now by paying Mt. Holly payments, but this is the year they have to do it. I asked about my graveyard and he said it was safe.
The same Twitter user who shared this image of the sign has also shared thiswith Coal Ash Chronicles:
Kevin Parsons contacted Erin Culbert at Duke and received the following response:
On August 1, 2000, Duke Energy entered into an annexation agreement with the City of Mount Holly to agree to annexation on June 30, 2014. This involved payment of fees in lieu of property taxes until the agreed upon annexation date. This agreement involved essentially two properties—the Riverbend Steam Station site and about 22 acres that includes the powerhouse and dam of the Mountain Island Hydro facility. The company agreed to annexation of the boat ramp/recreational access area near Riverbend at that time, in August of 2000.
We have recently been working with Mount Holly on the required filings to execute this agreement. Part of this effort involves some clean-up of zoning to achieve more consistency since the Riverbend site currently falls in several zoning categories. The recreational access area portion of the site across the road that we consented to annexation in 2000 is under three zoning categories. Because these are already within Mount Holly, this is not proposed to change.
The station property itself is currently governed by Gaston County zoning of I-3, and because we will now be under city zoning, we needed to apply for City of Mount Holly zoning classification H-1. Both of these are industrial classifications, and this is a procedural step with no intent to alter our operations.
This same zoning change affects the Mountain Island dam as well. The Mount Holly Zoning Board will hear this request on Monday night (April 7), and the City Council will act on the recommendation the following Monday night (April 14). Both meetings will be at 7 p.m. in the Municipal Complex.
As you know, the plant retired last year and is in the decommissioning process. Duke Energy recently invited the City of Charlotte to enter into a due diligence process to determine if the Charlotte-Douglas Airport is a suitable location to relocate the ash to enhance future economic development opportunities at the airport. We continue to be committed in closing the ash basins at Riverbend and our other retired plants and will keep neighbors informed as plans develop.
So, what does this mean for the Stonewater community and other nearby neighborhoods? Good question … and a good reason to attend these public meetings.