Wednesday, 06 October 2021 17:09

Richmond County commissioners approve rezoning request

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Richmond County Planning Director Tracy Parris reviews a rezoning request with the Board of Commissioners during the Oct. 5 meeting. Richmond County Planning Director Tracy Parris reviews a rezoning request with the Board of Commissioners during the Oct. 5 meeting. William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Following a public hearing, the Richmond County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved a rezoning request from Samuel Dunn.


According to County Planning Director Tracy Parris, Dunn intends to open a convenience store on the property, located at 424 Midway Road, at the corner of Yates Hill Road, just west of Rockingham.

However, that would require the less-than-half-acre tract to be rezoned from rural residential to community commercial.

The property came under the county’s jurisdiction in 2020 after being released from the city of Rockingham’s ETJ, Parris said.

When it was under Rockingham’s jurisdiction, Parris said the zoning district went back and forth multiple times from residential to neighborhood business, previously serving as the site of a convenience store and a daycare.

“The last time it was zoned to rural residential, the owners were trying to convert it back because they were having trouble leasing it,” Parris said. “They wanted to convert it to a home because there’s mostly residential in that area.”

That attempt, she added, was unsuccessful.

“Our community commercial district is established for smaller businesses to come in and operate around rural residential areas,” Parris said.

Under the current rural residential guidelines, the permitted uses are site-built and modular homes, Duplexes and triplexes and manufactured homes. Apartments, condominiums and daycares are allowed with a special use permit.

A daycare would also require a special use permit under community commercial, as would a laundromat or drycleaner, gas sales operations, repair body shop and automobile service station.

In rural residential zoning district, a special use permit would allow activities contained within the building for recreation, amusement or entertainment, or a restaurant without drive-in service. However, those uses — in addition to a taxi-based operation, convenience store and the storage and display of goods outside of a fully enclosed building — are allowed in community commercial without a special use permit.

Parris said there are other tracts with similar circumstances that have been rezoned, including: the intersection of Rosalyn Road and Old Cheraw Highway in Cordova; the intersection of Biltmore Drive and Mill Road in East Rockingham; and Triple L Farms in Derby.

“So it’s that niche of meeting the services … if we rezone it community commercial,” Parris said.

For spot zoning, which Parris said this appears to be, she said it must be determined to be “reasonable and in the public interest.”

The Planning Board unanimously adopted a consistency statement recommending the change, according to Parris.

However, when the commissioners took a vote, there was a single no.

Commissioner Andy Grooms said he voted against the change because “it’s flip-flopped too many times.”

“I think we should leave it as it is,” Grooms added. “It’s hard when you have to open it up to everything.”

The board also voted to close an abandoned alley between Gibbons Street and Fuller Street, with the strip of land being absorbed by the neighboring property owners.

SANDHILLS RESOLUTION

Commissioners were also approached by Anthony Ward, deputy director of Sandhills Center, who asked for the board’s support in requesting approval from Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Mandy Cohen for additional board seats.

With the dissolution of Cardinal Health, two of the counties previously served — Davidson and Rockingham — have requested to realign with Sandhills.

Sandhills Center currently serves Anson, Guilford, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Moore, Randolph and Richmond counties and is currently at the maximum number of board seats allowed by state law. That would leave the two new counties without representation.

However, Ward explained, state law does allow for exceptions based on population and Sandhills would meet that with the addition of Davidson and Rockingham counties.

The resolution, which was approved by the commissioners, would add five new seats: two for Davidson County; and one for Rockingham County.

The board also:

  • Set a meeting time for the Board of Equalization and Review to hear property tax appeals - 1 p.m. Nov. 2, 2020
  • Approved the following municipal board reappointments:
    • Rockingham Board of Adjustment - Caroline Thomas Goodwin as an ETJ regular member; Tim Long as an ETJ alternate member
    • Hamlet Planning and Zoning Board - Belinda Whitley as an ETJ member