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  • The Mount Airy News

    Major rezoning goes down painlessly

    By Tom Joyce,

    30 days ago

    Rezoning proposals have triggered some of the biggest controversies in Mount Airy over the years, but the latest one has gone through without a hitch.

    This is despite the fact 14 parcels with a dozen different addresses and six owners were involved, ranging from a convenience store to the city public works building, a state license-tag office, a day-care center, a salon and other entities.

    These form a diverse array around the Riverside Drive-East Pine Street intersection.

    Historically, that location has been zoned M-1, for industrial use. But last Thursday night, the Mount Airy Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to alter the zoning classification to B-2 (General Business), more befitting of its character.

    “It’s not really an industrial area — it’s a commercial area,” city Planning Director Andy Goodall explained before the decision, which tweaked an earlier view of it as a manufacturing corridor before major offshoring and industry closings locally.

    Along with making the zoning in the area more applicable to its business character, Goodall said the change will correct some situations there in which present uses are non-conforming under the industrial tag.

    One property owner has inquired about whether possible future uses of it would be allowed under B-2, which the city planner says is the case.

    “Have any of these property owners asked to not to do this?” Mayor Jon Cawley inquired of Goodall, who replied that none had.

    A notification effort accompanied the rezoning process, which included not only owners of property involved, but holders of property adjoining theirs.

    “There were probably about 35 letters sent out,” Goodall said.

    Council members commended the planning director for such steps, suggesting that this kept the major rezoning plan from drawing possible opposition.

    Included in the move were:

    • The Mayberry Mart/Marathon convenience store at 335 E. Pine St. and another site at 423 E. Pine St. with the same owner, Hutchens Petroleum Corp. of Stuart, Virginia;

    • Properties owned by East Pine Mount Airy LLC at 330, 334, 336 and 338 East Pine, occupied by a day-care facility, transmission shop and used-car dealership;

    • Sites at 137 Riverside Drive and 120 N. Gilmer St. owned by Red Oak Development LLC, where a state Division of Motor Vehicles license plate facility, a hardware wholesaler, a salon and an auto sales office are located;

    • Two governmental facilities, the city Public Works Department headquarters at 440 E. Pine — containing three parcels in all — and that of Mount Airy City Schools, 351 Riverside Drive.

    • Vacant retail/office property at 420 E. Pine St. owned by Grand Investment Properties LLC of Pilot Mountain;

    • An empty sliver of land in the 300 block of East Independence Boulevard which is owned by the city government.

    A precursor for the latest rezoning was that several months ago of property within the same cluster at 333 E. Pine St., on the corner of Riverside Drive and East Pine Street where an Exxon station operated years ago.

    In December, Mount Airy officials approved a request from Jessica Cockerham to have its zoning altered from M-1 to B-2 to accommodate a barber shop Cockerham is opening there, involving a vacant rundown building being unfitted for that new use.

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