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The North Wilkesboro commissioners delivered a final denial of a proposed new asphalt plant off Old Brickyard Road at their Sept. 8 meeting.

The board voted unanimously against rezoning the proposed site of the plant to general industrial conditional, which allows asphalt plants, after hearing arguments for and against it in a public hearing. It now is zoned rural residential, which doesn’t allow asphalt plants.

Jefferson-based Tri-County Paving Inc. asked the commissioners to rezone 43.09 acres in the center of a 60.74-acre parcel for what the company said would be a state-of-the-art, natural gas-powered plant producing asphalt.

Tri-County President Lucian Jordan said the easternmost 17 acres of the parcel would be left undeveloped as a “buffer” between the plant and Villages of Wilkes, a retirement community with seven single-family residences, and Wilkes Health & Rehabilitation, a skilled nursing facility.

Tri-County hasn’t yet purchased the property.

In addition to the rezoning, the company also needed but hadn’t yet requested an air quality permit from the state.

Collin Brown, an attorney representing Tr-County, earlier said a site zoned for industrial use directly south of Old Brickyard Road in Wilkesboro’s ETJ might be sought if the North Wilkesboro rezoning was denied.

Wilkesboro Town Manager Ken Noland said Thursday that he hadn’t been contacted by Tri-County officials.

Brown and Jordan both said earlier that asphalt plants aren’t popular but are necessary. Jordan estimated that the proposed plant would generate over $20,000 in annual tax revenue for the town.

Villages of Wilkes representatives and others spoke against the rezoning request Tuesday night and in town planning board meetings on Aug. 13 and July 9, citing noise and air quality concerns.

At the Aug. 13 meeting, the planning board voted unanimously to recommend that the commissioners reject the request after also holding a public hearing.

The property is in the town’s extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ).

In Tuesday’s meeting at the Stone Center on Cherry Street, Harry Padgett, whose mother is a Wilkes Health resident, and Villages homeowner Shirley Camenzind reiterated opposition they voiced on Aug. 13.

Attorney Sarah Beason, representing Tri-County, told the board that the asphalt plant’s benefits outweighed its risks. Padgett and Camenzind disagreed.

Commissioner Michael Parsons’s motion to deny the request was seconded by Angela Day. Bert Hall, Debbie Ferguson and Andrew Palmer also voted for the motion.

At the Aug. 13 meeting, local businessman Cam Finley said his plans for building 200 residential units south of Old Brickyard Road would not proceed if the plant was approved.

Finley said this include apartments, houses and townhomes.

Twin City Paving Co. has an asphalt plant directly west of Tri-County’s proposed plant site.

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