05/07/10 — Salvage yard's bid still faces opposition

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Salvage yard's bid still faces opposition

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 7, 2010 1:46 PM

A Tuesday morning public hearing before county commissioners on a rezoning request for a Dudley salvage yard was, for the most part, a replay of a hearing held last September.

And as they did after the first hearing, commissioners gave no indication as to when, or if, they would act on the rezoning petition by Ricky Young of Young's Auto Salvage.

Young wants the county to rezone an 11.98-acre tract on U.S. 117 Alt. South at Dudley from Residential/Agriculture-20 to Heavy Industry to expand the business. Even if the rezoning is approved, Young will still need a special-use permit.

Commissioners once again heard from homeowners John and Jeanette Perry who complained that their property is surrounded by the salvage yard and that they have to contend with runoff and an access drive that is often blocked by traffic. They also renewed their argument that the county needs to force the company to comply with existing ordinances.

Phyllis Lewis, speaking on behalf of her boss, developer Ray Best, provided the board with Best's plans to develop a subdivision near Young's property. Best did not mention the subdivision at the September hearing, but did voice concerns the expansion would harm his property values.

Ms. Lewis said a subdivision would mean that the salvage yard could not be located within 200 feet of the development.

Mrs. Perry said she did not want to stop Young from growing.

"But he is not in compliance with ordinances," she said. "We have a home surrounded by Mr. Young's auto salvage business. We cannot get in and out of our property and now you are talking about increasing the traffic."

Her husband told commissioners the request should "be turned down." He reiterated his wife's contention that Young's is out of compliance with county ordinances.

"It seems like he gets special treatment to me," Perry said. "We have water running over my property, and we can't get off my property. You can see the stacked junk cars from the post office (across U.S. 117 Alt). He does not meet the setback. Bring him in compliance."

He added that the business lacks handicapped access parking and is operating a sandpit on the lot.

Before the start of the hearing, board Chairman Jack Best asked County Planner Connie Price if Young's was in compliance.

Price said it was.

"I am surprised at the statement we are not in compliance," said Steve Wiggins, salvage yard manger. "We have complied with everything that has been asked of us."

Wiggins said there are handicapped parking spaces on the side of the building to allow easier access to the business.

As for Best's planned subdivision, Wiggins said it had surfaced only after Young had sought the rezoning.

Employees Willard Ray Herring Jr. and Tony Sauls said they were aware of the runoff issue and were working to curtail it. Also, they said they work to ensure the access drive area is clear.

"If that is not clear, I could lose my job," Sauls said.

Young added he has a vested interest in keeping the access drive clear so that traffic can get to and from his business.

He disputed Perry's claim of a sandpit on the property. Young said there was a pit, but that the dirt was used only on the property and was not sold to others. Perry said he had proof otherwise and offered to provide times and dates.

Young said he was fortunate to be in a position to be able to expand his business and in doing so be able to hire three to five new employees.

In other business Tuesday, commissioners adopted the Wayne County Farmland Preservation Plan prepared by the Lois Britt Agribusiness Center at Mount Olive College.

The plan is similar in nature to the county Comprehensive Land Use Plan. The goal of the plan is to understand the importance of agriculture in the county and to address challenges facing farmers and agriculture.

The plan makes a number of recommendations including encouraging commissioners to use sales tax options instead of increasing property taxes when additional revenues are needed.

It also seeks to develop an Enhanced Voluntary Agricultural District Ordinance. The county already has a Voluntary Agricultural District Ordinance in which people may place their farmland for a period of 10 years. The goal is to protect farmland from non-farm development. However, all it takes is a letter to withdraw from the program.

An enhanced program would lock the property into the district for 10 years.

Lorenda Overman, a member of the Extension Service's We Dig It speakers' bureau, gave a PowerPoint presentation on the program.

The We Dig It campaign, unveiled at last year's regional agricultural fair, promotes awareness about farming and agribusiness in the county.

The board approved a $337,366 funding plan for the Wayne County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council. No local funds are involved.

It includes $46,134 for Teen Court and psychological services; $85,503 for Connect Four; $45,250 for C-4 restitution; $157,153 for ADLA Structured Day; and $3,326 for Juvenile Crime Prevention Council administration.

A subdivision plat final was approved for a two-lot project on the north side of Nahunta Road, just west of Aycock-Coston Lane. Ed Radford is the owner/developer. Approval had been recommended by the county Planning Board.

Commissioners met with county attorney Borden Parker in closed session for about 30 minutes to discuss industry/business and matters requiring attorney-client confidentiality. No action was taken when the board returned to open session and the meeting was adjourned.