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China Grove planning board clears up zoning for four downtown land parcels

CHINA GROVE — Downtown parking became the topic of conversation during Thursday’s planning board meeting, as members voted to clear up confusing zoning on West Centerview Street.

The China Grove Planning Board, by a 3-2 vote, approved the rezoning of two land parcels on Centerview Street from town residential to commercial business and another two parcels from commercial business to town residential. Two houses sit on the parcels approved for residential zoning. A warehouse and two-story building sit on the parcels approved for a commercial business zoning.

Planning board members were considering the multiple rezonings as part of a request from local business owner Alexis Nunez, who wants to move his staffing company to the two-story building. The top floor of the two-story building would be an apartment. The staffing company had started construction on the two-story building without obtaining proper permits first, said Town Planner Franklin Gover.

Only one of the four parcels — the one housing the two-story building — was specifically requested to be rezoned. Board members sought to match zonings with the actual use of various buildings with the other parcels.

Board members David Morton, Rodney Phillips and Butch Bivens voted for the rezoning. Richard Deal and Clyde Richards were opposed to the rezoning. As reasons for their opposition, Deal and Richards mentioned parking concerns and the fact that the three other parcels hadn’t been requested for a rezoning by the property owners.

Richards said the zonings made sense, and he supported the idea, but “you can’t go out here and change the zoning to someone’s property and not let them have their input.” He said it would have been better if the property owners had a chance to speak during Thursday’s planning board meeting.

The allowed uses for the properties that weren’t requested as part of the rezonings wouldn’t change, according to Gover. The three non-requested parcels would be considered legal, but non-conforming, Gover said.

Parking on Centerview Street and downtown China Grove as a whole, however, was a more significant topic among board members and members of the public who spoke during Thursday’s meeting.

China Grove business owner Demian Stewart pointed to the number of parking spaces on Centerview Street as a potential problem, unless a common solution is found. Less than 10 parking spaces are situated on one side of the narrow West Centerview Street. Stewart, who owns property near the approved rezonings, said the spot could fill up quickly and cause problems for passing traffic.

“If the proper parking is put in, I don’t see anything wrong with it,” Stewart said. “We are definitely a pro-business community.”

Morton said an adequate amount of parking is a concern for all of downtown China Grove.

A representative of the staffing company who spoke at the meeting said a nearby property owner had volunteered parking space if needed. The company representative said nearby residents shouldn’t expect a significant amount of traffic. Only three or four employees would actually work full-time in the office, the representative said.

Because of construction work already completed on the building, Stewart said he was also concerned about the structural integrity of the two-story building.

Board member Phillips initially made a motion to change only the two-story building and the nearby warehouse to the commercial business zoning. After discussion, he amended his motion to include the residential parcels. The motion was seconded by Bivens.

Next the rezoning will head to the China Grove Town Council during its October meeting. The town council could overrule the entire rezoning or choose to only change the classification of certain parcels.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.




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