Zoning changes allows downtown China Grove properties to be consistent with other businesses

  • Posted: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 12:22 a.m.

CHINA GROVE — It’s been six months since a laundromat was operational on Main Street, but local some local residents have expressed interest in opening a business in the abandoned building. Before anyone could occupy the tiny building it had to be rezoned. On Tuesday, the town board approved a request to rezone the property, located at 802 N. Main St., from mixed residential to central business. A central business designation would also keep it in line with other businesses located a short distance in the downtown area.

Recently business owner Jesse Link was approved a zoning request for the new location of his barber shop, 404 N. Main St., be changed from light industrial to central business. The business is located in the former Tuscarora Yarns mill office. Once the site for South End barber shop was changed it only made sense to rezone surrounding property, including the former site of Tuscarora Yarns. The board approved to rezone the former mill site and the former laundromat to central business. The laundromat property is owned by Wallace Gaither.

Gaither told the board there’s always been a business at that location for more than 75 years. There was some concern among some board members about what could be placed on the property instead of a laundromat. The building, which is only 1,200 square feet, is located among a residential area, but is also across the street from a car wash.

Shane Stewart, with county planning and code enforcement, told the board some ideas were to have the building revert to a private residence. The problem was the building sits on the property line and doesn’t really conform to setback requirements so it is unlikely it could be used as a private residence. The building’s size and lack of adequate parking limits its use. Also if the zoning was left as mixed residential it would’ve limited what type of business could be established. The property should’ve been zoned business years ago, said Town Attorney Tom Brooke.

Now that it has been rezoned, potentially any type of business could be established. The inquiry came from Frank and Kym Reynolds who contacted the town planning board in November about the possibility of opening a pizzeria. The couple has tentatively decided to leave the business as a laundromat. The couple were not in attendance at the meeting. No one spoke during the public hearing regarding the zoning changes.

The board received information from David Hartigan, with Hartigan Management regarding Altec Industries would have to repay money because it did not meet full requirements for grant money it received as part of a 2008 project. The company, located at N.C. 152, received funds from an Industrial Development Fund grant and for a Community Development Block Grant where the company was supposed to create 15 jobs. Hartigan told the board the company was only able to hire 12. No one spoke during a public hearing held to discuss the issue. The company will have to partially repay the Industrial Development Fund grant in the amount of $5,130.59 and a full repay in full the CDBG funds in the amount of $160,318.39. He said this was in no way a failure because the company was able to provide 12 of the 15 jobs it committed and could still hire for those positions, but the timeframe to meet the grant requirements was drawing to a close.

Interim Town Manager Ken Deal said there is no town money involved in this process.

Contact reporter Shavonne Potts at 704-797-4253.

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