04/04/07 — County OKs bid to add acres to salvage

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County OKs bid to add acres to salvage

By Andrew Bell
Published in News on April 4, 2007 1:45 PM

Ricky Young can expand upon his salvage yard off U.S. 117 South in Dudley thanks to a vote by the Wayne County Board of Commissioners Tuesday morning.

But the process taken to get to that vote was questioned by some commissioners.

Tuesday's meeting marked the second time the commissioners voted on a rezoning request by Young so he could expand his salvage yard. The commissioners voted against the measure in 2005. By law, Young had to wait until last fall before he could submit another rezoning request.

That request, which was recommended to the commissioners by the county planning board last November, was the topic of a Feb. 20 public hearing.

During that meeting, Jeanette and John Perry told commissioners Young has consistently violated county ordinances, blocked their driveway with junk cars and contaminated their drinking water with what they called his environmentally unsound practices.

Young has maintained that he runs one of the cleanest salvage yard operations in the state and is willing to conform to any ordinance that his business requires.

Tuesday's meeting agenda only called for the commissioners to take a vote on the issue, but Commission Chairman John Bell said he wanted to alter the board's agenda to allow the Perrys another opportunity to voice their concerns.

Commissioners Atlas Price and Jack Best said the Perrys were given their opportunity to speak to the board during the public hearing and they shouldn't be given another chance. Commissioner Andy Anderson agreed, saying it is not the board's "job to micromanage the situation."

Despite their concerns, Bell chose to give each person three minutes to restate his concerns or comments. But Bell, who manages the commissioners' meetings as chairman, allowed Mrs. Perry seven and a half minutes to speak and an additional minute to her husband.

During their allotted time, the Perrys said they have been coming to commissioners' meetings for nearly 20 years to complain about Young's salvage yard. If Young were allowed to expand his operations another two acres, Mrs. Perry said their home would be surrounded by junk cars.

Mrs. Perry also said that their own county representative, Commissioner J.D. Evans, never asked how the county could help their situation, but always asked how the Perrys could compromise with Young on the issue.

Evans chose not to vote on the issue since his name was mentioned without an opportunity to defend himself.

"If I'm personally accused of something, I wanted to clear it up before I made my vote," he said, adding that he wasn't given the chance.

Following Mrs. Perry's comments, Best called a point of order because Bell wanted to allow John Perry to speak even though Mrs. Perry used hers and her husband's allotted time. But Bell allowed John Perry another minute to speak.

During his rebuttal, Young said he would do what was needed to ensure his business complies with any laws.

"If I'm not in compliance, I will do so," he said.

Following a motion to approve Young's request by Commissioner Efton Sager, commissioners Bud Gray, Best, Price, Anderson and Sager voted for the rezoning request.

Bell's was the only dissenting vote, citing that the issue directly affects the future of the Perrys' property.

"Their property is more beneficial to Young than the Perrys. He should try to acquire their property rather than them having an ongoing feud with each other. The house is in the middle of his (Young's) property," Bell said.

Planning Director Connie Price said Young must now seek a special use permit from the county board of adjustment and approval of the site plan by the planning board before the rezoning request is finalized. The county will also ensure Young's property is in compliance with local ordinances, Price added.

In other business, the commissioners drafted a letter supporting a grant for the restoration of the Goldsboro Union Depot as a multi-modal transportation center.

The City of Goldsboro and the North Carolina Depart-ment of Transportation Rail and Public Transportation Division are seeking grant money to restore the historic depot, which could help revitalize the entire downtown district.

The commissioners agreed to support the city's efforts in acquiring grant money, but included a stipulation that the county is not financially obligated to the project.

The board also approved a schedule for the 2007 Board of Equalization and Review, which allows local taxpayers an opportunity to question the value of their personal property. The board of equalization will convene on May 1 at 8 a.m. and adjourn on May 15 at 8 a.m. All meetings will be held in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse on William Street.