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Wilson city staff initially recommended denial of a rezoning request near Greenfield School but ultimately agreed to support the change with limits to the property uses.
Ron Sutton with Herring Sutton & Associates submitted the application to rezone about 17 acres on the 3500 block of N.C. 42 from rural agricultural to general commercial. Denton’s Landscape Contractors operated at the site until 2012, and Affordable Home Improvement used the site for storage for a few years, but Seal Coat Services in Sims recently purchased roughly 40 acres, including the 17 acres set to be rezoned.
“As indicated on their application, there are several businesses within the immediate area,” Janet Holland, Wilson land development manager, told the planning board Tuesday. “These are typically professional offices and some services with a showroom, but the hours of operation tend to be more 9-to-5ish with a few variations.”
Holland said some of the permitted uses in general commercial — such as a hotel, alcohol beverage store or indoor amusements — would have hours that would not be conducive to the adjacent duplexes and triplexes.
“Prior to submitting this request, the current owner contacted the person who owns the second-biggest tract out here and was informed to ‘do what he wants to do,’” said Sutton. “He owns all those duplexes and triplexes, but he had no objection to the rezoning request.”
Several planning board members noted that the owner of the residential development does not live there and asked about imposing some restrictions on noise as part of the rezoning.
“To my recollection, situations where the planning board and city council have placed limitations such as operating hours on a conditional-use rezoning was in highly contested rezoning cases,” said Sutton, noting restrictions were negotiated with the neighborhood when he represented a developer interested in the lot on Raleigh Road Parkway next to Buffalo Wild Wings. “Reasonable conditions can be placed on it and we understand that, but traditionally it has occurred when neighbors raise concerns. I’m looking behind me, and I don’t see any residents in opposition of this request and the biggest adjoining property owner indicates he doesn’t have any problem with it.”
Holland added she had received calls from two residents concerned about noise, but no one showed up at the planning board meeting. Planning board members — except Charlie Pat Farris — voted in favor of the rezoning to a general commercial conditional use but allowing small equipment repair or rental, vehicle services and self-service storage. The rezoning request will have to be approved by the city council at the Jan. 16 meeting before it goes into effect.
Sutton said the property owner wants the land rezoned to allow for development. The owner also plans to use the remainder of the 40 acres as a tree growing operation.
“With the floodplain and such, that is the highest and best use of the land,” he said.