Board OKs rezoning at 158-Farmington Road

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, June 23, 2021

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Beth Cassidy

Davie County Commissioners voted unanimously at their June 7 meeting to approve the rezoning of 159 acres off U.S. 158 and Farmington Road, to allow for an industrial park.

Several residents, including Lisa Motley and William Vaughn, spoke against the rezoning, citing traffic concerns and a lack of vision for the property.

Vaughn, an engineer and retired Navy captain, said, “You have the opportunity to make this into a showplace. This thing needs to be master-planned. You already have vacant industrial sites in the county. The conditions that make it ok for an industrial park also make it good for residential. Send it back and plan it properly,” he told the board.

The land, comprised of about 201 acres, is located at 2777 U.S. 158 and is currently zoned residential with a quality design overlay. It is owned by the Hanes family and the applicant for the rezoning is Wells Fargo Bank. There is one home on the property, which has been farmland for decades. In previous comprehensive plans, it has been identified as potential industrial. Approximately 36 of the 201 acres cannot be developed because it is wetlands and in a flood plain.

The planning board voted unanimously on May 18 to recommend approval of the rezoning.

Terry Bralley, president of the Economic Development Commission, told commissioners he has shown the site for 20 years as a potential industrial site, and Gildan considered locating there before settling in the Center community, where they spent $150 million on 20 acres, according to Bralley.

“It would take 500 $300,000 homes to equal that kind of investment,” he said, in response to those opposed to the rezoning who said the land would be better suited for housing.

Vaughn called Bralley more of an “industrial development” than economic development champion, saying on the day the planning board voted for the rezoning, Bralley was trying to fill two empty industrial sites in the county.

He said he and his wife got a late letter about an informational meeting on the proposed rezoning and that he presented at the planning board meeting a number of signatures on a petition that was simply set aside. He brought more signatures to present to commissioners.

“Sixty percent of the people at the meeting were against this. With an industry, Winston-Salem folks will come here to work and then go back to Winston-Salem with their paychecks and spend their money there. 158 is a housing corridor and we need to make it desirable for young families. It could be light commercial mixed use residential, with storefronts underneath and apartments on top…a planned walking community.”

Commissioner Richard Poindexter said industries help keep taxes low because homes create more of an economic burden on a county.

Don Vernon, of Pudding Ridge Road, told the board Farmington Road is heavily traveled by tractors, students and parents accessing the high and middle schools, and that traffic is consistently backed up in the mornings. What is needed more in the area, he said, is a place for residents to shop.

“Farmington is the largest township in the county. The median income is the highest in the county, but there is not even a single supermarket in Farmington township. There is a large tax base here that has to go elsewhere to shop. The planning board is supposed to be looking out for our community. I’d hate to see 158 end up like 601South going out of Mocksville, just a hodgepodge of businesses.”

Poindexter made a motion to approve the rezoning, and it passed 4 to 1, with Benita Finney voting against it.