Almost everyone who spoke during Monday night’s Mebane planning board meeting prefaced his or her remarks by saying how much they like, support, and/or shop at Kenyon’s Meat Market, now located in a strip center along NC 119.
But they were not so unanimous in agreeing with the meat market owner’s plans to relocate his business to a now-vacant lot along South Fifth Street near Foust Road.
Darrin Kenyon was requesting that a 1.55-acre lot at 1204 South Fifth Street, that runs between South Fifth Street on the front and Foust Road on the back side, be rezoned from office and institutional use to B-2, general business.
Kenyon outlined that he wants to build a freestanding new location for his meat market, which has been located for the past 13½ years in a strip shopping center at 1915 South NC 119.
But it was the request for unilateral business zoning that gave pause to some who are otherwise fans of his business.
Lori Oakley, a planning board member who doubles as a planner for nearby Person County, quizzed Kenyon on whether he had considered a site-specific plan that would take place under a conditional zoning designation, rather than the straight business designation.
She and others noted that if Kenyon’s plans fall through, the zoning redesignation would allow potentially unappealing business options to be built on the rezoned property.
But Kenyon and his wife explained that the additional cost of getting engineered drawings prepared for a future location that might be several years in the future was cost prohibitive for their small business.
They said that the current lease in the shopping center where they are located runs until May 2023.
The area proposed for rezoning is in some degree of transition because of construction of the new NC 119 bypass which has chopped up some of the previously residential area.
The lots on both sides of Kenyon’s proposed acreage is zoned residential, although there are other lots nearby that are both business and office and institutional. The address is one lot removed from the current Troutman Family Dentistry office at the corner of South Fifth Street and Foust Road.
Planning board member Kurt Pearson noted that while “business zoning is sort of creeping that way,” he was also troubled by the open-ended nature of the B-2 zoning request.
Two residents of Foust Road also spoke up to raise concerns about the truck traffic that would likely affect their street.
Kenyon said that deliveries are made mostly by box trucks, although he acknowledged as many as twice-a-week deliveries from tractor trailers.
Danny Walker, 106 Foust Road, said traffic, on both Foust Road and South Fifth Street is already busy; inasmuch as Foust Road intersects with South Fifth Street “in a sharp curve,” he also questioned how well trucks delivering to Kenyon’s would be able to maneuver in the area.
Wilma Crisp, 110 Foust Road, immediately beside the proposed lot, said, “I support Kenyon Meat Market from a distance, but not at my door.” She presented the planning board with a petition from 16 residents voicing concerns over the proposed rezoning.
It was ultimately Larry Teague who made a motion to approve the requested rezoning. That motion was initially tied, 3-3, supported by himself, Gale Pettiford, and Kevin Brouwer; voting against were Oakley, Pearson, and Judy Taylor. Board chairman Edward Tulauskas ultimately broke the deadlock, voting in favor of Teague’s motion for approval.
The item, and the accompanying controversy, will be forwarded to the city council, which will consider the request at its next meeting on November 1.