Rezoning request may advance plan on new Scotland school

By: By Katelin Gandee - Staff reporter

LAURINBURG- The Laurinburg City Council will consider a request tonight to rezone a portion of land that may be used as the location of a proposed elementary school.

Council meets at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at the municipal building.

The board could vote on the matter after holding a public hearing on a request to rezone nearly 30 acres off Old Johns Road. The property would go from a residential zone to office/institutional. The land is owned by Daniel P. Jones.

The Scotland County Board of Education in October identified the site — halfway between South Scotland and I. Ellis Johnson Elementary schools — as the location for the new elementary school.

The Laurinburg Planning Board voted to recommend the rezoning request in a 4 to 2 vote in January.

Before the vote, Planning Board member Charles Jordan asked if the site was the only one being considered for the new school. He was told that it was based on media reports.

But City Planner Mac McInnis said the Planning Board must make its decision on the rezoning request, not what the owner plans to do with the property.

The John’s Road location was one of nine sites chosen in 2016 by a site selection committee made up of former school board member B.J. Gibson, county commissioner Guy McCook, one parent from South Scotland Elementary School and I. Ellis Johnson Elementary School and several community members.

In November, the Scotland County Board of Commissioners voted to move $225,000 plus closing cost from the current expense fund to capital outlay fund to allow for acquisition of the land for the new elementary school.

The next step for the school board will be to hold public input sessions on the closure of South Scotland and I. Ellis Johnson elementary schools.

The students from those two schools will be moved into the new elementary school, which sits 3.3 miles from IEJ and 1.3 miles from South Scotland. The bus pickup the greatest distance for IEJ students will be 5.7 miles and 10 miles for South Scotland students.

In other business, the council will consider a request to close a portion on Main Street for the annual SpringFest April 27 and April 28.

The city would close a Main Street from Church to Railroad streets from April 27 at 1 p.m. to April 28 at 7 p.m.

The event will combine the Art Council of Scotland County’s Spring Arts Festival, the Scotland Memorial Foundation FundRun and the Laurinburg/Scotland County Chamber of Commerce Laurinburg After 5.

Council is also expected to set a public hearing for March 20 to consider a request for the conditional use permit for the carnival held at 1681 S. Main St. The carnival is planned for March 30 to April 8 and will be operated by Michael’s Amusement Park of Fayetteville, the business that has run the carnival in Laurinburg for the past 12 years.

The Planning Board voted unanimously to recommend that council approve the request. Board members did express concerns that the carnival not hinder people from parking at Captain Larry’s restaurant.

By Katelin Gandee

Staff reporter

Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-276-2311

Reach Katelin Gandee at 910-276-2311