BY KARISSA MILLER
Neighbors on Robinson Road are hoping the Iredell County commissioners will deny a developers’ request to rezone a piece of property from residential agricultural into Highway Business Conditional District (HBCD).
Bruce Kososki of Northlake Developers LLC wants to use a portion of the property for a contractor office with indoor storage and construct to two other buildings at the corner of Robinson Road and Crusoe Drive. The property must be rezoned for this use.
According to Kososki’s presentation, the planned improvement calls for 8,400 square feet of mixed-use office and inside storage facility fronting Robinson Road.
An additional 12,000 square feet of mixed-use office and inside storage facility connected by a new DOT access road would be constructed along the southern border of the property.
“Our intention is to contrast as aesthetically pleasing as possible using brick, stone, stucco or cement boarding siding,” Kososki said.
The plan also calls for paved parking and professional landscaping.
“Our intention is to build only single-story structures to be as unobtrusive to the area as possible,” Kososki said.
The developer said that there would be around 40 or so staff members coming into the facility and would be entering on a “reverse commute.” There would be no access to the facility on Crusoe Road since that is a private road, he added.
Among 26 directly affected landowners, only three have expressed reservations, the developer said.
He said that with the future widening of Highway 150 that access into Robinson Road will be improved with these turnouts. There are other commercial corridors that surround the area.
Several neighbors spoke in person at Tuesday’s public hearing and others provided input via phone on Tuesday.
“I have lived there for 20 years on Robinson Road. What isn’t mentioned and not recognized is it’s a dead-end road and a closed community,” said Mark Woods, a neighbor who spoke in opposition to the proposed plan.
“It’s an exceptionally rural community. It’s a beautiful quiet neighborhood. I realize that it’s on the front end of Robinson Road, but you cannot get in and out of Robinson Road on (Highway) 150. It’s impossible,” he added.
Woods said the Mooresville area is becoming overcrowded and jammed with small businesses.
Karen Sullivan said the trees in the area provides a buffer against the sound of nearby traffic. With the trees gone, the increased noise level is a concern. She said that her other concern is that she walks that road every day.
“I can only imagine people rushing into work and out. It’s not their neighborhood—they aren’t going to consider that,” Sullivan said.
“We don’t even know what’s going in on the building behind the warehouse,” she added.
Kelly Pressley, a neighbor who lives directly behind the development, said she’s against the proposal.
She said Robinson Road is peaceful place. She homeschools her kids and she doesn’t worry about them running outside to play.
With the proposed development, she’s concerned about the traffic and how it may impact her family.
Susan Elkin owns two four-acre properties near the planned development. She said Robinson Road is a community neighborhood.
“The development of this land will raise property values. I just can’t see that. Who wants to live across the street from an office building and a storage building?” she asked.
David Rogers also voices his objections. “The word that keeps coming into mind is encroachment. There needs to be a good reason to make a change. I don’t understand the reason for asking for this change now,” he said.
Some neighbors said they are worried that Kososki will construct a mini-storage unit on the back part of the development in the future.
Vice Chairman Tommy Bowles said the property could become part of a housing development or used in some other way that the neighbors oppose.
“It’s a very hard decision on this piece of property. I didn’t really hear a compelling testimony to refuse this piece of zoning tonight,” he said.
Bowles said it sounds like Kososki has a plan for this property. “Even though it’s not residential like you guys want it to be the commercial is the lesser of two evils as developing residential.”
Chairman James Mallory said several compelling issues were raised during the public hearing.
“When you move into an area and base it on an expectation on the zoning ordinance … that’s a pretty heavy lift for everyone,” he said.
He acknowledged the neighbors concerns about encroachment.
“We live in a capitalist society and people purchase properties to make a profit. We have a desire to provide appropriate commercial opportunities for people,” Mallory said.
However, he said that mini-storage facilities are a completely different issue. “It invites a lot of traffic in and people in and at all different hours,” he said.
Commissioner Gene Houpe asked if it was possible to put conditions on the rezoning, including a prohibition against a storage unit.
Planning Director Matthew Todd said that the applicant would have to agree to any conditions.
No decision was made on Tuesday. Commissioners are expected to vote on the matter on September 22.
“We are allowing further input (from neighbors) and opportunities for you to make any changes to it,” Mallory told Kososki.