Underpass Road rezoning gets county approval

Published 1:33 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2023

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By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

County commissioners approved an Advance rezoning earlier this month on a 4-1 vote.

Miller Tree Company had requested that 6.22 acres be rezoned from agriculture-residential to highway business commercial with special conditions. The property is triangular shaped and is bordered by railroad tracks and Underpass Road.

Owner Jake Miller had originally requested a rezoning for the business for property on NC 801 at Hillcrest Drive. He withdrew that petition and bought the most recent property. His business is now based at his home off Bailey Road, which also borders the property in question.

“We’ve met with many of the neighbors, we’ve talked with them,” he said, and the conditions will include additional buffers beyond what the county requires.

Miller said the property has been for sale for 10 years, but noboby wants it because of the limits placed by the odd shape.

“I want to have a nice property,” he said. “I’ve invested a lot of money in equipment. We were recently in one of the shows for arborculture in Raleigh. Our truck was the marquee site for the company.

“I would hope that you would allow me to use my property for the best interest of me and my employees.”

Only one other person spoke during the public hearing, Alber Russell of Bailey Road, who wondered why the NC 801 rezoning request wasn’t approved.

“Why would ya’ll pass up a great opportunity for these guys to have a place on 801?” Russell asked. “There’s nothing sightly about commercial property.” The 801 site, he said, was across from anther commercial site.

The commissioners heard the request for the rezoning on NC 801, and sent it back to the planning board for further discussion.

“I asked the planning board,” Russell said. “They chuckled and said ya’ll made the decision.”

Board Chair Mark Jones said the commissioners had little to do with the most recent request, that it was just deferred. Commissioner Benita Finney, who cast the only dissenting vote, said that Miller had withdrawn the original request.

Russell replied: “I know ya’ll have probably made up your minds up, that is fine and good.”

“What else could go there,” Miller asked. “Nobody else wants it. As a member of the community, I’m concerned with what is going to happen. I’m trying to do things the right way.”

Commissioner Richard Poindexter made the motion to approve the request, and mentioned a railroad equipment yard adjacent to the site in question. “What the railroad keeps at their place is more of an eyesore than any local business could create.”

Commissioner Terry Renegar made the second. “They’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do.”

Commissioner Brent Shoaf asked Miller to be vigilant in keeping “lush” vegetation as a buffer from the road to the business.”