China Grove planning board approves recommending conditional zoning for auction business

Published 12:05 am Thursday, August 11, 2022

CHINA GROVE — The China Grove planning board held a courtesy hearing Tuesday for the conditional zoning of two areas and unanimously approved submitting recommendations for the two items to the board of aldermen at upcoming meetings in September and October.

Assistant Town Manager Franklin Gover showed a presentation outlining the request of JJ Kane Auctioneers to allow construction of a new vehicle and equipment option business. With the business being a sister company to Altec Industries, the new auctioneer lot would be on 17 acres at 640 Rock Lane in China Grove. It includes a proposed a small office along with customer and employee parking areas in addition to a storage area for the vehicles auctioned.

Residents of Timberfield Homes heard of the zoning request last week and had concerns they brought to the board. A petition was turned into China Grove Town Hall on Tuesday morning with signatures from several homeowners voicing the concern about the requested zoning. Howard Lane Trustee Property is listed as the current owner. At Tuesday’s meeting, every chair was filled in the council room.

The housing development is west of the property proposed for rezoning with a 30-foot right-of-way buffer between it and what is requested to be JJ Kane Auctioneers.

Much of the public concern was about traffic issues along U.S. Highway 152 since it’s near I-85 and Jesse C. Carson High School. According to Timberfield Homes resident Barry Thomas, he and other community members wanted to see a traffic study in the property area.

Mark Burns, another homeowner in Timberfield, said, “You (China Grove) share conditional use (with Rowan County), but I would offer the idea that as you all consider that the land certainly be annexed, consider and remember what Rowan County has done these many years: sought to maintain a substantial, rural residential buffer.”

Butch Bivens, vice chairman of the planning board, said what is being discussed is a preliminary plan. More research and detailed plans will be put into place if it is approved by the board of alderman, including a traffic study.

“That all is part of the process,” he explained. “This is just the first step.”

He also said China Grove’s council members will offer another opportunity for discussion at September’s meeting.

“Everybody says that ‘this is the beginning,'” said Phillip Wentz, another resident of Timberfield. “That’s true. If we wait until the beginning is gone, the momentum and the project and everything is going to be so strong that it’s going to be very much more difficult to stop. So the best time to stop it is at the beginning.”

Other traffic concerns focused on congestion at Carson when the school day starts and ends, along with an increase in diesel fumes.

Increased light pollution from the lamps requested on the proposed property was another worry expressed by the community members.

“We would like any light projected on our facility for security reasons,” said JJ Kane Auctioneers representative David Van Veldhuizen. “But there are a lot of other things we can do besides lighting to help those security reasons and minimize that lighting that would go out to any neighbors or adjacent properties.”

JJ Kane Auctioneers operating hours would be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and all auctions are held online.

“COVID kind of changed our industry a few years ago,” Van Veldhuizen explained. “All live auctions have gone away. All these auctions take place online.”

The online process would involve having one auction the fourth Tuesday of every month. Customers will have approximately 14 days to pick up their winning bid item, which will be on site.

Van Veldhuizen added the company will work to keep as much natural vegetation in the barrier between the properties.

“I think some of these proposed conditions are realistic,” said Bivens. “JJ Kane is saying that they think can work with some of those so I think what we’re getting to recommend to the board is that they proceed forward with some of these discussions and conditions to get them in the process.”

The conditions listed before the board made a motion to approve for recommendation were:

• The rezoning is not effective until the certificate of approval defining mutually agreed upon conditions is signed and notarized.

• Considered saving a buffer/trees, with 30 to 50 feet combination of shrubs and fence.

• Limit (light) pole height to 30 feet.

Additional conditions were proposed:

• Maintain existing 50-foot wooded area as buffer.

• Privacy fence on inside of buffer.

• Light poles no taller than 30 feet and placed within privacy fence.

• Lights fully shielded.

• Limited hours of operation (no late evenings or weekend hours).

In other topics discussed:

• The China Grove planning board made a motion to approve Mount Hope Church Road Apartments for multi-family conditional zoning. The proposed site is on Propst Road and is 18 acres with another seven acres for park and natural preserve.

Representative Mike Shalati said bringing this to Rowan County is important because it offers affordable housing for families and brings more revenue to the county by offering a place for those to live when getting a job.

When a concern of traffic was brought during the hearing, he said his team will be “fully compliant to the department of transportation” to dictate what is adequate.

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