The Wilkesboro Zoning Board of Adjustment has recommended against granting a rezoning request that would allow a freight trucking company to continue parking its tractor-trailers on property just north of the Oakwoods Road bridge over Cub Creek.
The zoning board voted Tuesday night to make this recommendation to the Wilkesboro Town Council concerning Lopez Logistics’ request to have the 2.7-acre parcel at 105 Oakwoods Road rezoned from R20 (suburban residential) to B2 (general business). Rezoning requires council approval.
Agustin Gutierrez Lopez petitioned the zoning board to change the zoning. Lopez owns Lopez Logistics and bought the 2.7 acres from Furches Evergreens Inc. in March. He attended the meeting and had his daughter speak on his behalf.
About 30 people from the nearby Forest Hills subdivision off Oakwoods Road attended a public hearing on the rezoning request during the meeting. A majority of those present spoke against the rezoning.
“They were opposed for a number of reasons—for the noise, the safety of the public crossing (Oakwoods Road), property values,” said Wilkesboro Town Manager Ken Noland, who facilitated the meeting in the absence of zoning board chairman Claude Faw.
“Everyone was respectful of the applicant, but most all the group spoke in opposition for various reasons,” said Noland.
The speakers also pointed out that changing the parcel to B2 would allow for a wide variety of business usages, similar to what is permitted along Wilkesboro’s U.S. 421 West commercial corridor.
Lopez’s request automatically moves to the town council, which isn’t bound by the zoning board’s recommendation. Unless Lopez withdraws the request, the council is expected on Nov. 4 to call for a public hearing on the matter.
In addition to recommending that the property not be rezoned, the planning board recommended that the town council review the zoning of the property directly on the other side of 105 Oakwoods Road, which is the eastern end of Cub Creek Park. He said the park property has been zoned B2 since before the town bought it in 2003.
Prior to selling the property to Lopez, Furches Evergreens operated Landscape Depot on the property. Furches Evergreens was able to operate the retail business on the property, which was still zoned R20 then, because it had been issued a conditional use permit by the town. This permit expired after the business remained closed for 180 days.
Andrew Carlton, Wilkesboro director of planning and community development, notified Lopez that the parcel needed to be rezoned in order for Lopez to park his trucks there. Carlton said on Thursday he has not spoken to Lopez since the conclusion of the hearing Tuesday night.