Faith approves rezoning for multi-use commercial building connected to Faith Academy

Published 12:10 am Sunday, June 16, 2024

FAITH — The members of the Faith Board of Aldermen voted on Tuesday to approve a rezoning that would allow for the renovation of a proposed multi-use commercial building beside the Faith Academy Charter School.

The application, which was submitted by local developer Darrin Brown, asked for the property located at 3725 Faith Road to be rezoned from I-1, light industrial, to B-3, general business. Brown was not listed as the owner, but said that he had an agreement to purchase the property from current owner Intertape Polymer Woven USA that was contingent on the rezoning.
Brown said that his hope for the property was to turn the building on it into a commercial building that would hold businesses such as El Patron, who caters for the academy, and Flip City Gymnastics which directly complement the school, which he helped construct.

“The things that we’re trying to attract are uses that are going to directly complement and add to this great thing that the school has already done and is doing for this community. That is the catalyst for what’s going to happen here and moving forward. I had a really vested interest in getting (the academy) here, so I definitely don’t want to do anything that detracts from that,” said Brown.

Some of the discussion during the public hearing for the rezoning centered around the building’s proposed proximity to the school. Several residents, including Daisy Bost and Colton Laws, said that they were hesitant about the possibility of additional traffic next to the school, which already has significant traffic struggles, and the potential for alcohol-related usages to be added to the building.

“My concern is what I’ve seen happen around us with (strip) malls that are no longer operating therefore become places of not-so-welcome activities. I guess what I’m trying to say is that this whole town needs to stay a safe, community-minded place,” said Bost.

The planning board’s recommendation for the application was approval with the condition of removal of alcohol-related businesses from the allowances. However, Zoning, Planning and Code Enforcement Officer Sam Henline said during the meeting on April 9, where the rezoning idea was initially presented, that the aldermen could not place a restriction that applied to Brown’s property but not the other B-3 properties throughout town.

Laws asked Brown if he would theoretically allow El Patron or another suitor to place a full-service restaurant that would serve alcohol in the building if approached. Brown said that he likely would not, because his main concern was about the charter school’s compatibility with usages.

“If I can fill the space with other things, likely not. I’m already to the point of having to make space allocations with the requests that have been made for uses that I feel like are extremely positive for the community,” Brown answered.

As for the traffic concerns, Brown said that because Faith Road was a state road, he could not speak to what he directly could do to address the issue. However, Mayor Pro Tem Dale Peeler added that the state had approved a roundabout at the Byrd Road and Faith Road intersection that could help alleviate some of the congestion at that all-way stop sign. Mayor Randall Barger said that he knew that the N.C. Department of Transportation had flown drones over and around the school property during the highest-traffic hours.

At the end of the discussion, the aldermen unanimously answered yes to the four questions that make up the required findings of fact for the rezoning. Those four are whether the rezoning is consistent with the town’s adopted land use plan, whether the rezoning is in harmony with the surrounding area, whether the zoning is reasonable and whether the rezoning promotes the public health, safety and welfare of the town.

With those four questions answered in the affirmative, the aldermen voted unanimously to approve the rezoning. Alderman Gary Gardner was excused from the meeting due to a health issue.