For over an hour during the Iredell County commissioners meeting on Tuesday night, the residents and property owners of Robinson Road let their feelings be known regarding a proposed rezoning.
“It is a very special, special street. It feels like a rest from the rest of the world,” said Judy Curtis, a Robinson Road resident. “Anything that encroaches on that isn't something that any of us signed up for when we moved here.”
Curtis’ remarks were echoed by 10 other speakers who are fighting against the rezoning of an 8-acre plot near the intersection of Robinson and Highway 150, near Big Daddy’s Restaurant. The land, currently zoned for agricultural-residential use, is under consideration for a new small business development by Northlake Development.
Under the proposed plan, a portion of land on the property will be cleared to build a pair of small business office spaces, but residents are concerned about the developers plans to potentially build a small self-storage facility on the back half of the property.
Bruce Kososki, the representative from Northlake Development at the meeting, stated that there were currently no plans to build any kind of storage facility on the property, but the commissioners pointed out that there was nothing blocking Kososki, Northlake or prospective future buyers of the property from changing their current plans if the rezoning request were to be approved.
They could, however, add a condition to the rezoning that would prohibit a storage facility from being built on the property.
Alongside the concerns over the planned buildings, all of the residents shared a concern over the added traffic stress the new business could cause on an already tough intersection, citing the high number of accidents that occur from cars turning off of Robinson onto N.C. 150.
They also were against the removal of the forested area that currently occupies the space, calling the area a natural buffer from the noise of traffic on N.C. 150 as well as expressing concerns for the wildlife that calls that area home.
Kososki tried to ease the concerns of the residents by saying that the conditional rezoning permit only currently allows usage of up to 24% of the property for business use, meaning that much of the property will remain wooded.
He also argued that, if his request were to be denied and the property remained zoned residential, a builder could come in and clear the entire property for housing, eliminating the buffer anyway.
The residents were unswayed, though, some even calling into question the trustworthiness of Kososki and his company when it comes to what they ultimately plan to do with the property. In reference to this, they cited a previous meeting where the developer only revealed his full intentions for the property after much questioning.
This fight has drug on between the two parties since June, when the proposal was first brought before the county, ultimately leading to the residents of Robinson Road to create a petition on change.org. As of Wednesday afternoon, 138 people had signed the petition opposing the rezoning and development of the property.
The commissioners will vote on the proposed rezoning at their next meeting on Sept. 15.
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