Rezoning decision delayed; board grapples with buffers

Published 5:32 pm Tuesday, June 13, 2023

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By Mike Barnhardt

Enterprise Record

County commissioners last week delayed for a month a decision on whether to rezone property at 4748 US 601 North.

Jordan Budd had requested the 2.65 acres be rezoned from residential-agricultural to highway business special use with conditions – a mini-warehouse storage facility. The vacant property was last used as apartments, and before that was a non-conforming service station. A portion of the lot backs up to the Dollar General property on NC 801.

Commissioner Benita Finney asked for more specifics.

“You don’t have any plans to put a buffer from the buildings to the roadway, you’re just going to put as many buildings as you can on that piece of property?”

“No ma’am,” Budd replied.

“Well, that’s what it kind of looks like,” she said.

Budd said there are some natural buffers in place, and he planned to do some grading in the front. He said that neighbors he talked with were also concerned about buffers.

“I share those concerns,” Finney said, “because on the drawings right here, your buildings are going to be almost up to the roadway. Even though I know this is not a sightly site at this moment, it’s not going to look any better if all they have to look at is a row of buildings and garage doors.”

Budd said the closest building is expected to be 75 feet from US 601. Exact locations will come through the permitting process, but the facility will be fenced with a code for those renting spaces to enter. No flood lights are planned, per another concern of neighbors, he said.

“We want to do whatever will make the neighbors happy,” Budd said. About 200 units would be built using natural, subdued colors. “The goal is not to pack it in like sardines, but to really do a nice facility – not have an obnoxious facility. It will blend in well.”

Two residents spoke in favor of the proposal, two were concerned.

“You really need to consider approving this man’s request,” said Brandi Koontz, attorney. “There’s no valid or viable reason not to.”

Farren Shoaf, a real estate agent who worked with property owner Dot Westmoreland, said the proposed use is a lot less obnoxious that what was there for years. “What he is trying to put there is about a low of an impact as you could have. This property checks all the boxes and meets all the criteria to be commercial.”

Sue Driver said she has lived near the property for 40 years. “I’m concerned. Dollar General closes, but this could be open around the clock and that’s what concerns me.”

Corey Albright has lived adjacent for some 20 years. “I don’t see the need to replace one eyesore with another eyesore. Storage places are just places for junk.” He said there are self storage facilities within five minutes in every direction from that site. “I like my peace and quiet, and I’d like to keep it at that.”

Finney asked about and was told there would be no outside storage.

The board delayed their decision, but asked zoning director, Johnny Easter, to reword the conditions to include a buffer at the front of the property and to the north, and to limit the number of hours it could be accessed.

Commissioner Richard Poindexter noted that while there are multiple storage facilities in the county, they are located at or near the towns, and not out in the country.

“Those don’t have berms, they don’t have buffers. But out in the country, that’s a little bit different.”

“I support this project,” said Commissioner Terry Renegar. “It is low impact. We’re asking that man to commit to something we can’t quantify and I don’t think that’s fair.”

Because Budd requested a rezoning with conditions, the board can come up with it’s own conditions to add to what Budd had already agreed upon.

The board is expected to make a final vote in July. As the public hearing on the matter was closed, another will not be scheduled for that meeting.