Graham city council members turned down a request from one of their former members this week who sought to rezone a half-acre lot at 200 South Marshall Street, across from the post office from office and institutional use to B1, central business district.
While the request had won the endorsement of the city’s planning board, council members expressed repeated concerns with the lack of parking that would be guaranteed for a combination of an office building with retail space on the first floor.
Kimrey described the likely tenants for the retail space, as he had to the planning board, as potentially a coffee shop, small bakery, or a deli sandwich shop.
Kimrey described the potential building as 75 feet x 100 feet, possibly two stories high with three to four retail spaces on the first floor. It was noted, however, that there is no height limit within a central business district zone.
City council members kept returning to the issue of parking.
Council member Bobby Chin, a former member of the planning board prior to Kimrey’s request, received assurances that there would be off-street parking.
But Kimrey did not state a number for how many parking spaces he felt he would be able to include on the site, and mayor Jennifer Talley expressed concerns that B1 zoning, once granted, would not require him to furnish any.
Concerns were expressed that those visiting any of the businesses might attempt to use the post office parking lot across the street, an adjacent dentist office parking lot, on-street parking (even though none is provided on either of two sides of the corner lot).
Talley suggested that “conditional zoning” would be a better fit, with specifications for how much parking would be included on Kimrey’s site, so that neighbors would be reassured about future parking. “It’s difficult for us to do a blanket B1,” she summarized. “People are scared of what might happen,” she added.
Kimrey portrayed that he had consulted with adjacent and nearby property owners, who he told the council were “comfortable with, even supportive of” his plans.
But Curt McVey, 104 East Harden Street, who owns the car wash across the street, challenged that interpretation of his conversation with Kimrey, “Your representation about our conversation on the phone is not what I recall.” He added, “I don’t see how you can go B1 on this site.”
After the public hearing, councilman Ricky Hall said, “I cannot support [the rezoning without some parking specification].”
Talley’s motion to deny Kimrey’s rezoning request was passed unanimously, 4-0.
But, after the vote, Talley encouraged Kimrey to come back with a revised proposal that would address the parking issue.
Read coverage of earlier planning board consideration (Dec. 30, 2021 edition): https://alamancenews.com/planning-board-oks-expanding-downtown-zoning-to-lot-across-from-post-office/