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China Grove rezoning request dies with board taking no action

CHINA GROVE — A staffing company’s rezoning request effectively died Tuesday, when the town board decided not to take action.

The piece of property up for debate during Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting sits at 118 W. Centerview St. However, three other, adjacent pieces of property had been added to the request. Town Planner Franklin Gover said the adjacent pieces of property would make China Grove’s overall downtown zoning more consistent.

Only the 118 W. Centerview St. property — owned by Alexis Nunez, who intended to place his staffing company’s offices in the building — was a part of the original zoning request. The others were added during an August planning board meeting.

Without the added pieces of property — all three are houses, but one is labeled as a warehouse on tax records — Gover said the town could be the victim of a lawsuit over spot zoning. Town Attorney Tom Brooke said an entity suing the town over spot zoning — a business being in the middle of a cluster of residential zonings — would have a more specific reason. Brooke said the town couldn’t just be sued because a spot zoning exists.

The China Grove Town Board, when considering whether to approve or deny the rezoning, didn’t take any action. When Mayor Don Bringle asked for a statement of consistency — required for a property rezoning — no town board member responded.

Although the town board didn’t explicitly deny the rezoning, it failed because of the lack of action.

The China Grove Planning Board had previously approved the rezoning by a 3-2 count during its August meeting.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the warehouse property owner Bobby Power spoke against his land being rezoned. The warehouse contains bedrooms, bathrooms and a kitchen. It serves as a residence rather than a warehouse, Power said.

Power said he recently purchased the warehouse and never planned to use it as a business. The town board was considering changing the warehouse and 118 W. Centerview St. properties to a business zoning and two adjacent houses to a residential zoning — they are currently zoned business.

The current use of the warehouse property could remain a residence with a rezoning, Gover said. It would be considered legal, but non-conforming, Gover said.

Some board members contemplated whether changing the warehouse’s zoning to business would affect its tax value. Board member Mike Upright said the rezoning would increase property taxes.

“I’ve invested in China Grove and would like to invest a lot more in China Grove,” Power said. “If (the property) goes up in taxes, it doesn’t help me do that.”

He said the warehouse property was initially changed from business to residential zoning in 2006. Power said he was surprised the town board was considering a change again without his support.

Power was the only person to speak during a public hearing about the rezoning.

“I don’t want to go up on your taxes any more than I wan’t to go up on mine, but I understand the planning perspective,” said board member Steve Stroud. “I don’t see how just the zoning can make taxes go up.”

When the public hearing ended, town board members mostly focused their attention on the effect a rezoning would have on Power’s property.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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