Council sets public hearing for spot zoning request

Upholstery shop biz is ‘nonconforming use’

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

ROCKINGHAM — Members of the Rockingham City Council on Tuesday agreed to allow a spot zoning request for a County Home Road property ownerto move forward by setting a public hearing at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 10 at City Hall.

Henry R. Seals has requested to rezone approximately 0.63 acres at 190 County Home Road from Residential Duplex (R-8) to Neighborhood Business (B-1) in order to allow him to continue operating an Carolina Upholstery and Interior Designs at that location. Seals has operated the business from there for nearly two decades.

This image shows the area surrounding 190 County Home Road to be primarily residential. Property owner Henry Seals is requesting the city to rezone his parcel to ensure his current use conforms to the city's zoning map.

This image shows the area surrounding 190 County Home Road to be primarily residential. Property owner Henry Seals is requesting the city to rezone his parcel to ensure his current use conforms to the city’s zoning map.

John Massey, city planner, told council members that Seals’ primary concern is that if the structure were to suffer more than 25 percent of its assessed value or go for a period of six months or more without operating, “he couldn’t re-establish the business,” Massey said.

“The planning board reviewed the request last Tuesday,” Massey said. “They recommended unanimously to rezone.”

Seals also has two single wide mobile homes on the property. All three structures are nonconforming uses under the R-8 designation, Massey said.

In a move aimed at transparency, Massey alerted the Council to the concern of spot zoning, which “can be considered illegal.” Massey added, however, that state courts have held that “reasonable zoning” in spot situations is permissible.

“In this case, I think it is reasonable,” Massey said. “He’s been there for a number of years.”

The B-1 designation would allow the upholstery shop to operate despite being in a residential area. B-1 type businesses, Massey said, have less impact on the neighborhood. He offered examples such as professional office spaces, small retail sales establishments.

“You would not see prohibited uses (such as) bars, nightclubs, small engine repair (shops) … that could potentially be offensive,” Massey said.

The public hearing is to be included within the council’s monthly public meeting in March. The meeting  is open to the public.

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