Elkin commissioners opted not to vote on a proposed rezoning issue for property near the CC Camp Road and U.S. 21 interchange during their December meeting after an adjacent property owner’s family members spoke out on the issue.
Adjacent property owners were sent letters from the town making them aware of the request to rezone property at 111 Van Eaton St. from R-20 Residential to B2 Highway Business and alerting them of the public hearing required for the rezone. But the daughter and son of Katie Smith Hurt, who owns the property directly west of 111 Van Eaton, which is owned by Daniel Hayes, said Hurt never received the notice from the town.
Planning Director George Crater said he wasn’t aware the notice did not reach Hurt, or her children, who are powers of attorney, until the Friday prior to the Dec. 11 town meeting during which the commissioners’ public hearing was held.
Elkin’s planning board had discussed the topic of the rezone prior to the Dec. 11 town board meeting, and unanimously recommended the rezone to the commissioners.
Four parcels adjoin the 111 Van Eaton property, Crater explained. According to Surry County Tax Maps, those properties adjacent, with the exception of Hurt’s residential property, are owned by Murphy Oil USA Inc. and PET LLC, a company registered with the NC Secretary of State as being operated by Fred Eidson, Jack Partin and the Rachel Boyles Trust.
PET LLC had petitioned the town and received approval to rezone property at 124 Van Eaton St. in October of this year.
While property owner Hayes is the petitioner for the 111 Van Eaton rezone, Mr. Wilson, Hurt’s son, alleged that the rezone was being requested because Hayes was selling his property to Jack Partin with PET.
“They’ve been after my mother’s property for years, so they can build businesses on it so you bring more revenue to the town of Elkin,” said Wilson, when he was asked multiple times by Mayor Sam Bishop and the commissioners if he was in favor of or against the rezoning. “You’re not looking at who you hurt, who you’re going to uproot, you see.
“We as a family have been living at that property for years, and now all of a sudden over the years people has been bugging us about and we said we didn’t want to sell, and we continue to be bugged about it,” he said. “Only thing we’re asking is that we don’t want you to try to come in on our property until we decide whether or not we want to sell.”
Wilson said, “Jack Partin has been after our property for years.”
Crater said he wasn’t aware whether there was a purchase contract between Hayes and Partin for the 111 Van Eaton St. property adjacent to Hurt’s land, but said Hayes was the one requesting the rezone.
“The property belongs to Danny Hayes at this time,” Crater said to the board.
“Jack Partin is buying it,” Wilson said. “It comes down to Jack Partin is buying the property, Jack Partin wanted it rezoned because they want to build, the way I’ve understood and heard, they want to build a Hardee’s on one side and something else on the other end.
“To me, something is not coming out truthful. Why would the property owner selling it ask to have it rezoned?” asked Wilson.
Bishop said that the property owner is in his right to make that request.
“If what you’re saying is true, then he might have a contract that has contingency in it that required the owner presently to obtain the rezone,” said Commissioner Terry Kennedy.
When point blank asked again by Commissioner Skip Whitman if Wilson, speaking for his mother, the property owner, favored the rezoning, Wilson said, “I’m against it.”
Wilson said the trash that is left at the Murphy Express and the noise from the service station were the primary reasons he was against the rezone of the adjacent property at 111 Van Eaton St.
When the public hearing closed, and it came for time for the commissioners to make motions on whether the rezoning met the land use requirements for B-2, the commissioners failed to make any motions.
“I feel the planning board needs to have more conversation with the family,” said Commissioner Cicely McCulloch.
Whitman said, “This is the first time I’ve had a rezone with the adjacent landowner saying they are not in favor. There is no doubt if we rezone, it’s going to impact their lives.”
Wilson told the board, when asked, that they did not receive a letter prior to the planning board’s discussion of the rezoning, so Bishop said he wanted to give the family an opportunity to talk with the planning board.
“I think they need the opportunity to revisit the case,” Whitman said, agreeing.
Bishop told Hurt’s children that they would have a chance to discuss the matter with the planning board at its next meeting, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Jan. 29 at Elkin Town Hall.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.