Annexation, ABC Store struggles in Mocksville

Published 9:19 am Thursday, March 29, 2018

Mocksville Town Board members are expected to talk about the annexation of property along Koontz Road for a 66-unit apartment complex when they meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday, April 11 at town hall.

It will be the third time the request has gone before the board, with member Amy Vaughan-Jones requesting it be sent to the planning board first for their opinions.

Earlier this month, she suggested the town table all projects until a comprehensive plan is finished. “I don’t have the vision. Does it fit? I don’t know,” she said.

Board member Rob Taylor said the property is already zoned for multi-family uses such as apartments, and developers could go ahead with the project without being annexed.

Town Manager Marcus Abernethy said it would be “bad policy” to extend sewer to a site without annexation, although there are several developments outside the town limits that receive sewer services, and those residents pay twice the in-town rate.

Board member Brian Williams said curbing all development is a bad idea, as the comprehensive plan could take up to a year to develop. He said a past board decided the property was suited for multi-family uses, and he sees no reason to change that decision.

“What’s the rush?,” Vaughan-Jones asked.

Abernethy said the planning board was set to discuss the matter in March, but had no idea the information the town board was looking for.

Vaughn-Jones acknowledged a “misconnnect” between the town board and planning board, and said she wants to be sure the town can provide mandated services to the annexed area. “This board, we’ve been reacting. That’s all we’ve done. Let’s move forward with a vision in place.”

“It’s fair to let people play by the rules that are in place,” Williams said.

Board members also discussed at their March meeting an inter-local agreement on a merger with the Cooleemee ABC board.

Vaughan-Jones objected to an agreement reached with the Cooleemee board by Mayor Will Marklin and Abernethy. It would create a new ABC board with three members from Mocksville, and two from Cooleemee; but until the end of the year, the board would have three Cooleemee members.

Profit sharing would start once the Mocksville store opens at 50/50 for the first five years, transitioning to 70/30 in favor of Mocksville for all liquor-by-the-drink sales after that. Store profits would remain with the individual locations.

The Mocksville store would be located along the I-40 corrider.

Marklin said the agreement was a part of negotiations.

“Mocksville needs to make sure Mocksville is protected,” Vaughan-Jones said, referring to three members from Cooleemee on the board until the end of the year. The set-up time for the Mocksville store, which should happen during that time period,  is critical, she said.

“Mocksville could stand on its own.” She suggested more negotiations to make the board 3-2 Mocksville from the start.

She said she also disagrees with the profit-sharing agreement.

Mocksville voters agreed on an ABC store some three years ago, causing board member Brent Ward to say “this is dragging on forever.”

Board member Eric Southern asked when the Mocksville store could open. Abernethy said that hopefully, before Christmas.

The board is expected to vote on that – or an amended – agreement on April 7.