WENDELL – Johnston County Commissioners rejected a request to turn a four acre parcel of land into a parking and storage facility. The property, located at 16810 Buffalo Road, just north of Turnipseed Road, is in the Wilders Township less than a half mile from the Wake County line.
The land is owned by Bobby Taylor. The rezoning application was made by Stephen Allen. Allen requested the land be rezoned from Agricultural-Residential (AR) to General Business – Conditional Zoning (GB-CZ). During his Feb. 7th presentation, Mr. Allen told commissioners the facility would be visually appealing and compatible with surrounding land uses.
An adjoining property owner, Herbert Case, said Taylor’s property was not a good location for parking and storage. Case said the proposed facility was just feet away from his residence and his daughter’s home. He said traffic on Buffalo was “terrible” and the intended use would only add to congestion in the area.
Case said that particular section of Buffalo Road was straight and drivers often sped through the area. “It is an accident waiting to happen,” Case stated.
Later in his presentation, Case asked Commissioners, “How many of you would like to live next door to a storage facility?”
Taylor, the property owner, said the plan was to move the driveway for the storage facility to the opposite side of the property farther away from Mr. Case. Taylor said tall trees and bushes would be planted to shield any adjacent property from lighting.
“You set rules for people not to go in there and do mechanical work and stuff like that. You don’t allow that when you’re a property owner or a business owner. You make sure of that. The hours will be set hours. It will not be open 24 hours a day. We’re planning on hours between 5:30 and 6 o’clock AM open, to about 9:30 at night,” Taylor stated.
Three emails were sent to the board prior to the meeting, all opposed to the rezoning.
Leon Cobb, another property owner in the area was in favor of the rezoning. “We all would love to see our corner of paradise stay like it is but it is changing… About the best neighbor other than a mini storage I think would be a graveyard because when it shuts down I don’t see any of the trouble happening that we hear about or talk about. I don’t have a problem with Bobby (Taylor) putting a storage unit there. Bobby lives there. He is not going to be putting up with a bunch of stuff. I had rather see the money stay in our community than somebody in Raleigh build a storage unit down the road and the money leave our community.”
In December 2021, the Johnston County Planning Board heard the rezoning petition and recommended denial.
Chairman Butch Lawter ask County Attorney Jennifer Slusser the requirements to approve the rezoning. Slusser stated there were two requirements. The first was consistency with the Comprehensive Plan. The second was whether the rezoning was in the public interest.
Commissioner Fred Smith said, “It is always tough to talk about the person’s use of their property because I really believe in freedom and the ability to use your property. But this is totally inconsistent with this neighborhood. It is not in the best interest of this neighborhood. I don’t see how I can vote for this.”
Commissioner Patrick Harris made a motion to deny the rezoning request. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Ted Godwin. The board voted unanimously to deny the petition.