It’s Bo time in Rockwell: Aldermen approve construction of new Bojangles

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, April 12, 2023

ROCKWELL — Residents who “gotta wanna needa getta hava Bojangles” are in luck.

With a unanimous vote during Monday night’s meeting, the town of Rockwell Board of Aldermen approved a request to grant a special use permit for the construction of a restaurant with a drive-through window, which will eventually become a Bojangles, located at 216 W. Main St.  as you enter downtown Rockwell.

In a packed meeting, Rockwell residents were given a chance to speak for or against the request.

Jay Stake, who lives across the street from where the new restaurant will be built, said he wasn’t for or against the new Bojangles, but had concerns about what traffic will look like after construction and if it will increase the amount of car wrecks in town.

“Through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there’s been 86 wrecks per year here in Rockwell and they say when you put a restaurant like this near an intersection, the wrecks go up 40 percent, traffic increases 98 percent of the time, and I just want to make sure because you have a fiduciary responsibility to us, the taxpayers. Are we just going to absorb that or are there going to be additional fees that Bojangles has to kick in to offset and make sure we’re not taking it in the shorts,” Stake said.

Jeanette Luc had similar traffic concerns, but also questioned if approving the request was the best use of the land. She asked if adding another restaurant is really what Rockwell needs.

Addressing those concerns, Mayor Pro-Tem Chris Cranford said the town does not own the land, so whoever is the landowner has the right to build whatever they want. He also brought up the fact that the lot where the Bojangles will be located has been vacant for three years.

“There hasn’t been anybody knocking down the doors to bring something else there and the folks who own the property have the right to sell it to whomever they want as long as they go through the proper qualifications like what we’re talking about today to approve that,” Cranford said. “There’s been a lot of comment ‘I want this, I want that.’ Well those folks should have purchased the property and tried to get that group to come. If everybody felt like that in all these little towns there wouldn’t be nothing there.

“We’re growing with our residential housing, yes it will bring more traffic to town and it doesn’t matter where you go there seems to be more traffic. It’s something we got to live with. We’re growing. It doesn’t matter what type of restaurant it is, it’s going to be a benefit to the town because it’s better than a vacant lot sitting there.”

Kaher Ahmad also spoke against the new Bojangles but his concerns were about the board recently approving the same request from local coffee shop, The Morning Glory, which will now see more competition when Bojangles comes to town.

“The town of Rockwell just gave approval for a local coffee shop to open up called Morning Glory and now Bojangles is pretty much going to steal some market share from a local entrepreneur in our town, so that’s why I’m against it,” Ahmad said.

Speaking in favor, Dale Yontz said she was excited about Bojangles coming to Rockwell because they support local schools and will help Rockwell grow even more as a town.

“I am all for Bojangles because I know what they do for the communities, I know what they do for the school systems, and to me it’s going to be welcoming. Rockwell needs to grow, so start with a North Carolina-based company to come and be in our neighborhood. It doesn’t matter what we have there, there will be problems with traffic.”