By Mike Barnhardt
County commissioners delayed for 30 days a zoning resolution final week that might briefly put Farmington Meat Processing out of enterprise.
Michael and Nikki Lengthy had utilized to have .45 of an acre rezoned from residential agriculture to neighborhood enterprise. The request got here after a neighbor had complained to the county’s zoning division that the enterprise shouldn’t have been there within the first place.
The choice to delay got here after County Legal professional Ed Vogler obtained a letter on Friday previous to Monday’s assembly. The letter, from an legal professional representing two close by property house owners, claimed that the rezoning could be spot zoning and in opposition to the county’s personal tips. The enterprise is positioned on the finish of three personal drives. “That brings some considerations to me in our zoning ordinance, and I believe … till we are able to get some additional info …,” Vogler stated.
Commissioner Benita Finney stated the Longs had been following county tips since they opened. “That is sudden,” she stated.
County planner, Adam Barr, first contacted the Longs in January after receiving the grievance. The county’s ordinance, he stated, would enable on the market of farm merchandise produced on the farm by the Longs, however not for the sale of out of doors merchandise. The shop sells all North Carolina made farm-based merchandise.
“It’s thought-about a bonafide farm,” Barr instructed commissioners. “As I’m certain you’re conscious, that standing does exempt it from a number of native zoning laws.”
The zoning request was instructed, Barr stated, to get it extra in step with what the enterprise is and what the Longs anticipate it to grow to be.
The county’s planning board really useful unanimously that the rezoning be authorized.
George Marthinuss stated he filed the primary grievance, stating the enterprise is on an unpaved, personal street shared through personal easement with a number of property house owners.
“This isn’t concerning the Longs, or their enterprise, it’s not concerning the grant from the state or whether or not they say they helped with the meat provide chain throughout Covid. It isn’t about whether or not Mr. Lengthy helped the highschool biology division. The one factor, the one factor that that is about is whether or not a fraction of a parcel needs to be modified from RA to NB,” he stated. “With out regard to the Longs, altering would enable many enterprise makes use of from eating places to dry cleaners to retail, in the course of a rural neighborhood with no public street.”
His spouse, Sharon, additionally spoke, saying the couple moved to the realm as a result of it was peaceable and distant.
“It’s one automobile or truck after the opposite, and that may go on all day lengthy, so long as the shop is open,” she stated, estimating as many as 20-30 further autos a day on the street when the shop is open. “It has already modified the character and the character of the neighborhood.”
One other close by property proprietor, Ken Stanberry, stated the county ought to do extra to assist households keep on the farm.
“We assist Michael and Nikki as they develop their agri-business,” he stated. “I hope county commissioners see Michael and Nikki’s endeavor as one designed to assist Davie County residents pursue financial alternatives, grow to be higher stewards of the surroundings and improve their high quality of life.”
Michael Lengthy stated he has just about maintained the street easement that results in the enterprise. “I assume my neighbors forgot that when winter time rolled round and we had snow. I acquired on the tractor and I scraped the street for them.” He put in pipes to stop street flooding. “It’s an easement,” he stated of the street. “All people’s welcome.” He stated he’s seen a number of autos on the street of people that weren’t clients or residents.
“We’re making an attempt to do one thing good for the county, supply one thing that noone else does. We’re simply making an attempt to do factor.”
Eric Taylor, one other landowner, additionally spoke in favor of the rezoning. “You’re proscribing one thing that got here approach earlier than any of us … making an attempt to make a dwelling on a chunk of property that we actually don’t need any person else telling us what we are able to do with.”
Nikki Lengthy stated they obtained permits, and adopted instructions from officers alongside the best way.
“On a busy day, we would have 20 automobiles,” she stated. “On a gradual day, we’ve one.”
She stated she understands that the site visitors bothers a neighbor who doesn’t assist preserve the street.
The letter that Vogler referred to was written by Bradley C. Friesen, an legal professional representing close by property house owners George and Sharon Marthinuss and Jonathan and Shanda Sechrest.
He wrote: “The proposed rezoning is against the law spot zoning … The encircling space is overwhelmingly rural residential, whereas the proposed rezoning is neighborhood enterprise, which is inharmonius … The detriments to the adjoining landowners are extreme.
“The candidates are impermissibly working a retail retailer in the course of a RA zone, which has predominantly residential use. Rezoning the tract as a way to treatment the candidates’ violation will not be an affordable foundation for a zoning map modification.
“This restricted entry is incompatible with entry by the hearth division, which a retail retailer must have. The standard overlay requires a evaluation of entry components, which are supposed to cut back site visitors issues within the neighborhood. The proposed zoning map modification merely exacerbates the present entry issues and is incompatible (with zoning).”
As a result of the request was for a basic use rezoning, the board has to contemplate all companies that could possibly be positioned on the property, not simply what’s there now, Friesen wrote.
“The query earlier than you will not be concerning the Longs or their enterprise. The one situation is whether or not this fraction of a parcel in the course of a residential neighborhood with no public street entry needs to be rezoned to neighborhood enterprise.”
Freisen additionally disagreed with planning director Andrew Meadwell, whom he stated instructed planning board members that the enterprise as is just about qualifies as “agri-business” and is permissible underneath state regulation.
“This isn’t appropriate,” Friesen wrote. “Davie County’s definition of agribusiness doesn’t embrace retail retailer. ‘Agriculture’ includes the sale of merchandise “raised on the premises,” which the candidates’ enterprise clearly exceeds. The relevant North Carolina statue equally defines agriculture as together with the sale of sure merchandise ‘produced on a farm’. It’s merely incorrect to say that the proposed retail retailer is an agricultural operation and due to this fact that it could function freely on this location.”
Friesen supplied an answer, pointing to the county’s personal complete plan, which states: “Restrict rural space industrial improvement to native comfort shops, farm provide shops, and usually accepted rural retailing institutions and require them to be clustered close to street intersections.”
“The answer,” he stated, “is to not undertake an unlawful spot zoning map modification, however somewhat to discover a appropriate location – adjoining to a street and congruent with the excellent plan – for the Longs’ enterprise.”