Planning Board Okays Plan for Visitor Center on South Main
By Duncan McInnes Sports Editor
As Appeared in the Kernersville News 7/15/2021
“The Kernersville Planning Board returned to in person monthly meetings at the Kernersville Municipal Council Chambers on Monday. The previous month’s meeting, the first live, in person meeting in a long time, was held at the Kernersville Fire Rescue Department located at 1180 NC-66 on June 14. Monday’s meeting was the first Planning Board meeting for the new Planning Board members Christina Welch and Scott Sapp.
One of the main items of interest at the meeting was voting to clear the way for construction of the Visitor’s Center and parking lot near Körner’s Folly. This required approving a Zoning Text Amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance, passing a rezoning recommendation and approving a site plan recommendation. The properties in question are located at 401, 411, and 413 South Main Street and contain a total of 2.52 acres. The Town of Kernersville owns approximately 1.24 acres of this property, and Körner’s Folly owns a 0.76-acre parcel and a 0.52-acre parcel. Planning Board Chair Jim Waddell and Vice Chair LuAnn Davis recused themselves from the Zoning Text Amendment, rezoning recommendation and site plan recommendation due to the project being a conflict of interest in their case.
A text amendment was approved on a 6-0 vote to allow buildings in the IP (Institutional and Public) District an additional 10 percent of impervious coverage under the zoning ordinance. In the rezoning case, Dale Pennington, the agent for owner’s petitioner, requested a Single Phase Conditional District rezoning from RS7 & RMU-S (Residential Multifamily, Unrestricted-Special Use District) to IP-C (Institutional & Public Conditional Use) for properties located at 413, 411, and 401 South Main Street. The requested uses for the properties are government offices; museum or art gallery. This request was upheld on a 6-0 vote by the Planning Board. The site plan recommendation was also approved on a 6-0 vote.
The Town of Kernersville and the Körner’s Folly Foundation currently have an agreement to build a visitor’s center at this site. One new 5,000 sq. ft. building is slated to be constructed to be utilized for a Visitor’s Center for the Körner’s Folly museum. The property will have associated on-site parking, an associated on-site outdoor sidewalk area and access to the adjacent museum property. Parking will be available for 47 cars and three buses.
Under the site plan, the Körner’s Folly Visitor’s Center will redevelop a “gray field,” a site previously developed but underutilized at the present time. The existing gravel areas will be removed on both the parcel owned by the Town of Kernersville and on those owned by the Körner’s Folly Foundation. The rezoning of all three parcels will not only enable the construction of the Visitor’s Center but will clean up the non-conforming residential zoning on the two parcels owned by the Körner’s Folly Foundation. The proposed IP-C zoning will enable the development desired for the museum while protecting adjacent residential properties.
The site is located in the Central Kernersville Overlay District (CKOD). The intent of the CKOD is to incorporate historical architectural design features to blend new construction with historic downtown Kernersville. Körner’s Folly is a grandfathered use within the RS7 zoning district. The proposed rezoning would allow for it to come into compliance and be complemented by the Visitor’s Center. The design proposed with this conditional use district is based on the Körner’s Folly architectural details. It will include a steeply pitched roof with flat wings, arched brick pilasters, brick corbels, and paired columns on brick piers as the support for a rear-elevation loggia.
The site will be connected to the sidewalk on South Main Street for additional pedestrian connectivity. The primary path between the Visitor’s Center and the museum will be a private path between the two buildings.
The next Kernersville Planning Board meeting will be held on August 9 at 6:30 p.m. at the Kernersville Municipal Council Chambers.”