DOBSON — The Surry County Board of Commissioners has given its blessing to a proposal to rezone a parcel of land on U.S. 21.
The rezoning will allow for the construction of a paint and body shop, but it didn’t come without an opponent.
In his proposal, applicant Michael Maher asked to rezone the 2.2 acre parcel from rural/agricultural use to general highway business use, which allows for the construction of paint and body shops.
County Planner Kim Bates told the board that the planning board had unanimously approved recommendation the proposal. The planning board serves in an advisory capacity to the commissioners, but its vote is non-binding.
“The property is now vacant, and planners unanimously approve,” he said.
Bates told the commissioners Maher wants to “do specialized auto finishing,” on the property.
Nearby resident Joshua Ring, who told the commissioners he does paint and body work himself, said he opposed the proposal due to noise, hazardous waste and environmental issues.
“They want to do powder-coating, which produces hazardous waste,” Ring said.
He also told the board he was worried about runoff into nearby streams, which run through the property.
“There is also concerns about noise issues,” he said. “Auto finishing creates a lot of noise.
Board Chair Eddie Harris noted Maher was not present at the hearing, and Commissioner Larry Phillips told Ring that while he sympathizes, no evidence had been presented that would refute the county planners’ recommendation.
“In the absence of some clear evidence to the contrary, in the absence of facts about noise, pollution and waste, it’s just a concern,” he said. “And a concern isn’t a valid way to regulate property and approach property development in the county. I’m going to vote for it.”
Harris said he knew of several nearby businesses that already engage in auto repair and similar work.
“I’m going to vote against it,” he said, however, “primarily because (Maher) isn’t here to address the application.”
On a motion by Commissioner R.F. “Buck” Golding and with a second by Commissioner Paul Johnson, the motion was passed 4-1, with Harris opposing.
Keith Strange can be reached at 336-415-4698 or via Twitter @strangereporter.