A new Hardee’s restaurant will be built in the rapidly growing Cleveland community. In a 6-to-1 vote, the Johnston County Board of Commissioners approved a petition to rezone land at the intersection of Cleveland Road and Cornwallis Road, across from Cleveland Elementary School.
The NC DOT will require the developer to install a turn lane on Corwallis Road and a right-in right-out lane onto Cleveland Road.
Commissioner Patrick Harris said he had spoken to a number of residents in the area who had concerns about the restaurant locating at such a busy intersection. He recommended waiting until improvements were eventually made to Cleveland Road before approving the request. “If you have traveled that road really anytime of the day it is congested. There are a lot of concerns that I share with those folks (including) more traffic in that area and the public safety part as well.”
Commissioners said they had received dozens of emails from residents about the rezoning In one email, a resident said she had lived in Cleveland for 17 years and her husband and child were involved in an accident at the intersection. “Please don’t put a Hardees at that intersection at Cleveland Elementary School. It’s dangerous enough coming in and out of there as a produce stand.”
Another resident emailed commissioners saying, “Seriously are you kidding me? What is the matter with all of you? Let me guess you don’t live anywhere near this intersection. Probably haven’t drove by there in forever! What rotten people to approve this! There is a SCHOOL right there and 1 right down the road!!!”
Another citizen wrote, “I support Hardee’s being built on the corner of Cornwallis and Cleveland Road.”
Commissioner Larry Wood said he agreed with Commissioner Harris about the congestion but added another business without the reputation of Hardee’s could locate in the same spot and cause trouble.
Commissioner Tony Braswell said he had received emails both for and against the rezoning. He said the board must be consistent in what they do.
Commissioner Ted Godwin said the emails he received were probably 9-to-1 against.
Harris said the site was a “dangerous and congested corner.”
Chairman Chad Stewart questioned whether the board should approve anything else until improvements are completed on Cleveland Road.
Commissioner Butch Lawter said traffic was an issue. He said the solution for the Cleveland area was to form their own local government and incorporate.
Chairman Stewart agreed saying the rules commissioners have to go by are for the entire county. “We can’t set different rules for different areas or the county. That is where a local government would come in handy.”
Commissioner Harris made a motion to deny the rezoning requesting stating it was not in the best interest of the public. The motion failed due to the lack of a second.
In a motion by Commissioner Braswell and seconded by Commissioner Godwin, the board voted 6-to-1 to approve the request. Harris cast the only no vote.