Auto repair shop gets OK from board

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A long-standing service station is back in use, but neighbors in the Broad-Kenan Historic District are less than enthused.

“I remember that being a service station back in the ’60s, but I can tell you the place never appeared the way it appears now,” Charles Freeman said. “I pass by it almost daily, and it is just not well maintained.”

Kendrick’s Auto Center at 216 Raleigh Road Parkway was the subject of vocal complaints from nearby residents at a Tuesday Board of Adjustment meeting. The property was leased in July and opened for business in August by business owners Wade and Reginald Best, taking the place of Gerald Blount, who ran a service station on the property through 2014. Blount had obtained a special use permit to operate since 1999, so the Board of Adjustment met to consider issuing a special use permit to the owners of Kendrick’s.

“The property has been under the same use for the 60 or 70 years, so it is nice someone is putting a similar operation there,” said board member Bill Shreve.

Neighbors felt differently though, expressing frustration with cars being stored on the property for extended periods of time, disruptive noise and business operating at all hours of the day and night.

“I’m not arguing against auto service, but I am against the level of service he has,” said Diane Webb. “I’m happy he has the level of service he does, but a vigorous service like that belongs on U.S. 301 or Hines.”

Kimberly Van Dyk, a homeowner near the shop and Wilson’s planning and community revitalization director, said some of the problems such as a rusted light and crumbling fence pre-date the current business. She noted that if the permit were granted, she’d like to see buffers — fences and shrubs — put on the three sides of the property aside from the road frontage.

“I’m not opposed to people making a living, but I think they can do something to make it nicer for all of us in the neighborhood,” said Pam Landers.

Shreve asked Wade Best if he would be willing to abide by a limit of 10,000 gross vehicle weight on cars to be serviced, limiting hours of operation and keeping the number of vehicles on the lot to 15. He agreed, and Shreve added a recommendation that the permit be granted for one year with all the board members approving the motion.

“I was surprised because no one had come and talk to us before now,” Wade Best said Wednesday. “I understand what they said about cleaning up, but it isn’t as dirty as they were talking about. I think it does need a little cleaning.”