Opposition to rezoning a 13.4-acre parcel to B2 (general business) near the Ridgecrest subdivision off U.S. 421 West was voiced Monday evening during a public hearing on the requested change, held as part of the Wilkesboro Town Council meeting.

The vacant parcel, now zoned R20 (suburban residential), is in the northeastern corner of the intersection of U.S. 421 and North Holiness Church Road. It’s adjacent to lots with homes in Ridgewood and is in the town’s extra-territorial zoning jurisdiction.

The parcel is owned by Indecro Development LLC, with a Crumpler (in Ashe County) address. Indecro is managed by David Jolly. The J.C. Faw estate owned the land when it was auctioned off for $88,500 in December 2019.

In his Dec. 19 application requesting the rezoning, Jolly said the parcel “was advertised as commercial when it was purchased.” He said he wanted to sell it as commercial property.

Realtor Eric Huffman, representing Jolly during the meeting via Zoom, pointed out that there are two commercial B2 properties (parcels 1500609 and 1505555) on either side of the main entrance to Ridgecrest, and “I can’t see this hurting it any worse than that does. He (Jolly) wouldn’t put anything in there that would downgrade the development.”

Ridgecrest residents Scott and Amy Killian asked the council to deny the request. “We have two young children, and this definitely scares us,” said Amy. “We feel we have a great, safe neighborhood, but businesses that could be put there could make us feel unsafe.” Scott added that they would likely sell their home if the rezoning moved forward.

Wilkesboro’s B2 zoning allows for a broad range of commercial, office and service uses, including, as cited by the Killians, bars, clubs and adult establishments.

Brian Minton, a resident of Ridgecrest for 36 years, said the rezoning would lead to the devaluation of his and other homes there. “I’m not against development, but this is not the place for commercial development. It should be left residential as it has for many, many decades.”

Tyler Ward, a Realtor and Ridgecrest home owner, said he was concerned about increased traffic, loitering, safety issues and home values going down if the rezoning is approved.

Wilkesboro Ken Noland said he received 27 letters from Ridgecrest residents opposed to the rezoning.

The parcel lies in a “special planning area” with good potential for business development, according to Wilkesboro’s comprehensive plan, which was last updated in 2007-08. The Wilkesboro Planning Board recommended that the council approve the rezoning.

Andrew Carlton, Wilkesboro’s director of planning and community development, said that if the parcel is rezoned and developed, “we do have standards in place that ensure some type of screening in place to create a buffer (of trees or shrubs) between those non-compatible zones.”

Councilman Andy Soots expressed concern that the town could not enforce lighting or sound standards because the parcel is not in town limits. Councilman Jimmy Hayes agreed with Soots, adding, “It’s bothersome that any of these permitted (B2) uses could be put there. Right or wrong, that is unfair in my opinion to the residents at Ridgecrest.”

To allow for more comments, the public hearing was recessed until Monday, June 8 at 5:30 p.m. Until then, public comments may be submitted in writing to townclerk@wilkesboronc.org or to Wilkesboro Town Hall.

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