Statesville Planning and Zoning Board members had only one rezoning request to consider during their May meeting, and they chose to reject it.

Property owners, Zoom Property Buyers LLC, purchased the property located at 3419 Taylorsville Highway and did what they considered to be cosmetic restorations. Since they purchased the property with cash, co-owner Cesar Escobar said they had no reason to attempt to secure financing. It wasn’t until they listed the property for sale that they realized that the property was zoned B-5 Commercial. That meant a prospective buyer would not be eligible for residential financing.

“We are asking to rezone it to R-15 zoning to allow us to sell it to someone who can secure financing for it,” Escobar explained. “We have already completed the work on the property.”

But empathy was in short supply for new board member Lori Brown and other board members.

“Across the street from this property is an active railroad line,” Brown explained. “It is active Monday through Friday. This is just one of my concerns about this property.”

Brown went on to also explain that the property is surrounded by commercial property and what they were asking for is the equivalent of spot zoning. Even though that is legal, Brown said she didn’t believe it was in the city’s best interest.

“We should have integrity in defending land use and plans for future land use,” Brown explained.

Assistant Director Herman Caulder explained to the board that the 2045 development plan adopted by the city included that area in a residential Complete Neighborhood district, but that wasn’t enough to persuade the board to approve the request, despite the staff recommendation to do so.

“What is the greatest and best for this property is what we need to decide,” board member Mark Tate explained. “This property is on the main highway and I think that should be used for commercial use.”

Brown moved to reject the request, which was seconded and passed, with three members in opposition. The planning board’s decision is not binding; the city council could still approve the rezoning request.

“I think we are staying true to what we are charged to do,” board member Roger Bejcek explained after the vote. “We are charged with making some tough decisions and that’s what we did tonight.”

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