The town council voted unanimously to approve an applicant’s request for a conditional use rezoning of a piece of land on the southwest corner of Jones Sausage Road and East Garner Road.
The project was previously a light industrial site, or I-1, district. It will now become heavy industrial, or I-2, with conditional use. The site is approximately 18.54 acres. Under a light industrial site, whoever wanted to buy one of the lots could build a number of things there. Among those things that could be built was a prison, jail, or detention facility, bar or nightclub, a theater, restaurants, ambulance or even a fire station.
By rezoning the land with conditional use, it eliminates some of the type of businesses or establishments that can be built there.
“The developer is agreeing to restrict out some of the allowable uses,” David Bamford, senior planner, said. “Uses they don’t want to have on there and uses the town doesn’t want to see.”
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Under the new designation, some uses wouldn’t be allowed, such as a prison, he said. The area to the east of the land is East Garner Elementary School.
“It takes away some of the concerns with some of the high intense uses,” Bamford said.
What can go there is a trade/vocational school, government facility, broadcast tower, medical office, other offices, telecommunications facilities, car washes, banks, barbershops or hair salons.
Barry Partlo, the applicant and president and CEO of Agri Supply, owns the office buildings across the street. He said he wanted to do the same for the new land. He proposed developing the property into a nine-lot commercial subdivision. He will put each lot up for sale for businesses.
He said his intended purpose was to bring more businesses to the area near White Oak.
East Garner Road and Jones Sausage Road are considered major thoroughfares. According to 2013 N.C. DOT traffic count data, the road has an average of 6,800 trips per day on the south side of East Garner Road and 12,000 on the north side.
Under the proposal, there are four improvements a developer must make. Garner Road will be widened to allow for a left turn lane into the project heading west; A dedicated right turn lane onto Jones Sausage for traffic heading eastbound must also be built. That dedicated right turn lane will continue south on Jones Sausage to serve the project entrance; A left turn lane will be provided into the project for northbound traffic on Jones Sausage.
Mayor Pro Tem Ken Marshburn asked if the changes would further complicate traffic problems near East Garner Middle School on Jones Sausage Road. In October, there were two wrecks coming out of the entrance to the school. Parents had expressed concern about it because those coming out of the school were having trouble seeing around cars entering the school during peak hours.
Councilman Gra Singleton said with the dedicated right turning lane he didn’t foresee it having a negative impact on the traffic.
“This will make some more improvements to that intersection that everyone will benefit from,” he said.