Last month, Graham’s planning board members expressed hesitation about whether a proposal to rezone approximately 40 acres along Cherry Lane near I-85/40 was appropriate for what is now a largely residential area.
The planning board ultimately split 3-2, voting to recommend denial of a proposed rezoning requested by Jeffery and Jeanne Eichinger, who own the acreage for which they sought the rezoning.
But last week, Graham’s city council had no such reservation, voting unanimously to allow the Eichingers’ 40 acres to be rezoned for light industrial use.
The council also consumed less time than the planning board had in reaching the opposite conclusion.
The Eichingers and their real estate agent, Glenn Patterson, said last month that they did not have a specific industry, or buyer, in mind, but believed that the acreage was more suitable to industrial development. The acreage is across Cherry Lane from properties that have been designated as part of existing or future Hawfields-area industrial park, formally known as the North Carolina Commerce Park.
But planning board members worried about whether the site, on the far northern tip of Graham (before crossing the interstate highway) did not lend itself to easy access for tractor trailers that would either have to traverse the largely residential Cherry Lane to get to Jimmie Kerr Road’s access to the interstate, or go in the other direction (toward Mebane) and use the Trollingwood-Hawfields exit, also through residential areas.
Jeffery Eichinger told the council via Zoom teleconferencing last Tuesday that light industrial is “the most natural fit” for their property. He and his wife need to move out of the area to care for family, he told the council. He said they had considered residential, but had been told that their property is too far from water and sewer lines to be economical for a residential developer.
Eichinger acknowledged that truck traffic would likely increase, but insisted that Cherry Lane “has plenty of capacity” that can accommodate more traffic than it currently has. He also said that truck traffic would likely go through the industrial park (on Governor Scott Farm Road and Ralph Scott Parkway) rather than traverse the entirety of Cherry Lane to Jimmie Kerr Road.
And even if 18-wheelers used the road, he quoted the DOT engineer as saying that the road can accommodate all types of vehicles.
Council member Melody Wiggins said the rezoning was a “good project. It’s inevitable that we would see this,” she said, noting that it is across the road from an area zoned for the industrial park.
The rezoning passed unanimously, 5-0.
See earlier coverage during planning board consideration of the rezoning:
Planning board recommends against industrial rezoning along Cherry Lane: