Complaint-driven zoning upsets homesteader

The Town of Carthage voted on Sept. 20 not to rezone two separate residential R-20 properties to agricultural/residential/commercial RA-40-CZ based on complaints from residents. Also, the town postponed a public hearing on rezoning existing agricultural RA-40 property to R-20 CZ.

The disapproval from the town board for the two separate R-20 properties came after the town’s planning committee had approved ordinance-sized plans for the agricultural RA-40-CZ zoning.

Commissioner Don Bonillo said they listened to citizen complaints. Town Manager Tom Robinson said, “It’s on the agenda to tighten up zoning.”

Planning Director Kathy Liles said it was custom to keep animals in town in previous generations, and some areas in town limits are currently zoned RA-40.

The town board said it will allow ample time for existing livestock to be removed from Stephen Rastelli’s two residential properties.

R-20 zoning allows for beekeeping and chickens, but not for roosters, goats, sheep, horses, ponies, or cattle. No town zoning allows for pigs. RA-40 allows for livestock, except for pigs in town limits.

In the below video, Planning Director Kathy Liles explained conditional zoning to the crowd at the public hearing.


Rastelli was denied the zoning change for his newly purchased 10.02 acres and a separate 3.04-acre parcel where he resides. Rastelli said he was in the military and had moved to Carthage and wanted to grow his own food and sell eggs and fresh meat.

Rastelli’s 10.02 acres borders Summit Street and undeveloped lots along Maple Street in the Oakdale development. His 3.04 acres borders McNeill Street.

In the below video, Rastelli spoke on what he wanted to do with his property during the public hearing portion of the meeting.


Rastelli said he approached his neighbors about his agricultural plans, invited them to his properties to view his animals, and said they told him they did not care about his animals, then stabbed him in the back when he approached the town about rezoning.

During the public hearing, citizens said animals used to be allowed in the city, but it is not why they moved to city limits. Citizens said Rastelli’s plan to sell eggs and goat cheese would compete with existing businesses. Citizens said their property values would decrease, that animals smell, and if the town rezoned one property, it would open a door for others to apply for rezoning.

Residents with property neighboring the proposed agricultural zoning acreage filled the meeting room to capacity with citizens standing in the hallway. To conserve time, the board questioned those registered to speak about repetitive complaints they intended to share, and a total of six residents spoke instead of 18.

Charlene Barker and her husband, Ray Barker, and their two daughters, spoke during the public hearing on Rastelli’s rezoning application for agricultural use.


Also, a request to rezone David and Helen Barker’s property at 125, 145, 155, and 157 Barker’s Lane from agricultural RA-40 to R-20-CZ was postponed until next month. There will be a public hearing at the Carthage regular meeting Oct. 18 at 6:30 p.m. at the McDonald Building.

In new business, the town said it was looking for a new, local, part-time IT support employee.

The town adopted a resolution to sell bonds at a private sale to finance the cost of the Sewer Expansion Project. The project includes installing approximately 34,000 feet of 16-inch sewer force main and upgrading and replacing sewer pump stations.

Robinson reported on his tour of 12 Oaks in Holly Springs with container-shipping boxes converted into retail stations which carries the design plans of Little River. He said it had a strong homeowners association that kept the neighborhoods tidy and attractive. Wrought-iron fencing provided some privacy while keeping the views pleasant, and no sod of adjoining properties was identical.

Robinson said fire trucks do not travel between the structures in the 45-foot grass-lined separations but use fire hoses. He said they will continue to work on walking trail negotiations with Sandhills Land Trust.

Little River will begin construction of Phase 1 with 40 to 50 of the 200 homes.

Liles said an existing daycare, Sowing Seeds Education, at 427 Vass-Carthage Road that had been closed, wants to reopen under conditional zoning. The daycare is owned by Christopher Maxwell, and he wants to operate a nursery with future uses to include modular classrooms for grades through fifth grade. The board will hold a public hearing on the rezoning Oct. 18 at its regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the McDonald Building.

In old business, Liles said plans to rehabilitate the Tyson & Jones Buggy Building were not moving forward right away. They are looking at a 2015 market feasibility study next week with the school of government to discuss potential uses and a strategic plan. In 2015, there were no funds to improve the building, however, funds are available now.

The board approved an amendment for a common green space of 10 acres in Carriage Place Townhomes in lieu of a private clubhouse and pool. The original development plan was for 114 townhomes, and it will now be 115 townhomes.

Feature photo: Carthage residents fill meeting room to capacity September 20 to speak at a public hearing on agricultural rezoning.

~Article, photo, and videos by Sandhills Sentinel Reporter Stephanie M. Sellers. Contact her at [email protected].

Print Friendly, PDF & Email