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Planning board suggests denial of business zoning in China Grove

CHINA GROVE — Following a discussion about keeping a defined business district, the China Grove Planning Board passed on a business rezoning to the town’s board with a recommendation to deny.

The property discussed measures half an acre at 316 South Main Street in China Grove. It’s currently zoned Town Residential. The property owner, James Starnes, requested rezoning the land to Central Business District. The property has been zoned as residential since 1948, according to Rowan County tax records.

Starnes, who attended the meeting, said the layout of the house would work well for office space. He mentioned a doctor’s or lawyer’s office as possible options.

“For residential renting, people aren’t looking for four bedrooms, gigantic living rooms, den, kitchen because the rent gets kind of high,” Starnes said. “If it was rezoned commercial business, I could see where a professional of some type would like it as office space.”

A primary concern raised by multiple planning board members during the meeting was that the rezoning would be just outside of the town’s intended business district.

“We’ve talked for a long time about trying to restrict the expansion of the business district North and South at Church Street and then Patterson,” Planning Board Chairman David Morton said. “We really have three [business] properties South of Patterson — the medical practice, Main Street Mission and laundromat — but trying to stabilize it at that … I would oppose this rezoning.”

Part of the discussion included that if a few exceptions were granted then it would amount to business creeping out of the intended business district.

Initially, planning board member Linda Williams motioned that the board approve the rezoning, saying that the location was undesirable for residential use.

“With the train coming through and as loud as it is, you couldn’t give the houses on Main Street away,” Williams said.

Her motion didn’t receive a second.

Franklin Gover, the town planner for China Grove, suggested  potentially tabling the rezoning and returning at a later meeting with a conditional use permit application.

Instead, planning board member Clyde Richards made a motion that the board recommend denial of the rezoning to the China Grove Town Council. The motion was seconded by planning board member Harry Corriher and subsequently passed.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246

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