Landowner Wins Approval Over Protests By Neighbors, School Employees

A Corinth Holders couple has won approval to rezone their property despite strong protests from residents in an adjacent subdivision and a number of employees at Corinth Holders Elementary School.

A total of 33 people signed a petition asking Johnston County Commissioners not to rezone a 2.3 acre tract of land at the intersection of Highway 96 North and Lake Wendell Road across the road from the public school and next to the Corinth Place subdivision.  Another 10 letters were submitted to the board all opposed.

Many of the subdivision residents signed the petition along with numerous teachers at the school.  Some fear a potential community gas station and grill at the sight would be dangerous, expressing concerns about a possible gas explosion near the campus and subdivision.

Lloyd and Diane Murphy appeared before the County in July 2016 attempting to have the property rezoned for a dollar store but were rejected because of concerns it would not be a good fit for the area. The Murphy’s had to wait at least one year to request a new rezoning.

This time, the Murphy’s did not request a Special Use Permit for the property, just the rezoning, but opponents contend the site could be the future home of a community-type gas station and grill.

At the Nov. 6th commissioners meeting, more than a dozen people attended the hearing, many of them residents in the Corinth Place subdivision.  Karen Blackman, a nearby property owner, said she loves the neighborhood but is concerned a gas station would increase traffic.  Wesley Davis who also lives nearby was in favor of a neighborhood store saying he has to drive 10 miles to refuel his vehicle. He would only have to drive one mile if a gas station was built on the property.

Whitney O’Toole, a resident in Corinth Place, said a gas station could attract criminals and “undesirables” near the elementary school.  Deborah Abshire said, “I do not want a gas station in my back yard.”

Lloyd Murphy said growth is coming to Corinth Holders and the Corinth Place subdivision was one of the examples.  He said Highway 42 near Clayton was at one time unpopulated. Now it is filled with homes and businesses.

Before making a motion to approve the Murphy’s rezoning request, Commissioner Vice Chairman Ted Godwin said the board was sensitive to resident’s concerns in the neighborhood. The rezoning was approved 6-to-0.

Murphy has 2 years to request a special use permit for the property or his rezoning permit is voided. Opponents will have another opportunity to express their concerns if and when Murphy submits plans for the property.