Wednesday, July 17, 2024

114 West Elm Street
Graham, NC 27253
Ph: 336.228.7851

Graham planning board deadlocks twice, then votes down ETJ industrial zoning


A very divided Graham planning board ultimately recommended against a request to rezone 67 acres in the city’s extraterritorial jurisdiction near the Hawfields-area industrial park for light industrial use.

The industrial park includes existing industries as well as vacant land that is considered to be future industrial development for the North Carolina Commerce Park, which is a joint venture of Graham, Mebane, and Alamance County government.

However, the area being considered for rezoning is across the street, less than 100 yards, from another industrial project by the same company making the request that is in the industrial park.

Buddy Seymour with Greensboro-based Windsor Development Group said the company is seeking a tenant for its second building in the industrial park (with about 300,000 square feet), beside the first it built of a similar size which was leased for an Amazon distribution center.

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While there had been ongoing speculation about the possibility that Amazon would expand its operations into the second building, Seymour told The Alamance News he had nothing to report.

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This 297,000-square foot shell building has been largely completed, but developer Windsor Development Group is still looking for a tenant. The building is the same size as, and located beside, a similar building built by Windsor that was ultimately occupied by an Amazon distribution center.

Instead, he told the planning board the developer is seeking a tenant for the building.

He also indicated that the largest possible warehouse that he could envision on the property requested for rezoning is 790,000 square feet, more than twice the size of each of the two his company has built across the street in the industrial park.

According to the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina (EDPNC), which works with the governor’s office and N.C. Department of Commerce to lure new companies to set up operations in the state, the proposed warehouse could span up to 788,550 square feet. It is being marketed as a build-to-suit property for a warehouse/logistics company or tenant.

The planning board heard from Greg Massey, an adjoining property owner, who asked that wider buffering be included beside newest Windsor project, and that there be no tractor-trailer parking adjacent to residential property.

Greg Massey

However, planning board members explained that because the request was for a “straight” rezoning, the board did not have opportunities to include any form of “conditions” or added requirements on the rezoning.

Massey also suggested that the rezoning request was putting the “cart before the horse” and urged the board not to approve rezoning “without knowing what’s going to be there.”
An initial motion by the board’s chairman, Dean Ward, to pass the requested rezoning failed on a 3-3 vote. Voting in favor were Ward and planning board members Tony Bailey and John Wooten. Voting against were planning board members Michael Benesch, Eric Crissman, and Chad Huffine. Planning board member Jerome Bias was absent.

Next came a motion to deny the request, which failed on another tie vote with the reverse voting lineup: Benesch, Crissman, and Huffine in favor with Ward, Bailey, and Wooten opposed.

The board discussed whether to forward the rezoning request to the city council without any conclusive rezoning recommendation, but a subsequent motion to recommend denial of the rezoning passed unanimously, 6-0.

See earlier story on the original plans for the same site, which includes preliminary site plans:

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