Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.
Nash County commissioners last week were in an expansive mood for commercial development, but were not willing to see expanded liquor sales by privatizing the county’s ABC system.
In separate unanimous actions after the required public hearings, the county board Thursday approved an expanded site plan for Spring Hope Mini-Storage on South N.C. 581 to allow for a fifth storage building and agreed to a commercial rezoning for a new Dollar General store beside a current L&L convenience store on Sandy Cross Road.
Commissioners also unanimously endorsed a resolution supporting the current Alcoholic Beverage Control Board system for the sale of liquor. The resolution states that the county board “believes that privatization of liquor will lead to many adverse effects.”
The Spring Hope Mini-Storage Facility is on a 5.77-acre portion of a larger tract owned by Phillip L. Murray and Keith Murray south of Spring Hope and north of the Tar River on N.C. 581. The owners asked to amend the previously approved site plan under a conditional use permit to expand the fenced gravel area by 28 acres and construct a fifth 30-by-120-foot self-storage warehouse building,
The facility was first granted a conditional-use permit in 2010 to include the fenced outdoor gravel storage area with two self-storage buildings. The site plan was amended in 2012 to add a third building and in 2016 to add a fourth self-storage building.
“Obviously we’ve not met the demand for this area yet and we would like to expand,” said Keith Murray, the only person to speak during the public hearing.
In the second action, commissioners granted a request to rezone 1.58 acres on the north side of Sandy Cross Road just west of the Sandy Cross crossroad from R-40 residential to GC-CU general commercial conditional use to develop a Dollar General retail store after a public hearing with no opposition.
The site is located directly between the L&L Convenience Store on N.C. 58 and the home of applicant Gary Lynn Cockrell. The store will be constructed and operated by the Dollar General Corp., said new county planning director Adam Tyson.
The proposed site plan is for a 9,100 square-foot retail store with a 45-space paved parking lot that will be screened by a six-foot wood-slat fence on two sides adjacent to residential properties and by trees and shrubs along the roadside.
In other business, County Manager Zee Lamb submitted the resolution on liquor sales at the request of the county’s ABC manager.
“Every three or four years this comes up,” he said. “Most states have private sales of liquor and things like that. In North Carolina we have an ABC system, a controlled system, and every once in awhile they will talk about privatizing it. The resolution is to support the current system rather than privatizing liquor sales.”
The resolution notes that Nash County residents approved an ABC board but not private liquor sales, says local revenue from the ABC stores is important to the county to keep property taxes low and argues that local control over the sale of liquor is “an important function.”
The resolution says that of the 50 states, “North Carolina ranks 44th-lowest in consumption per capita and seventh-highest in revenue per capita, and N.C.’s ABC system accomplishes both revenue and public health, welfare and safety objectives.”
Drawing on a legislative report and citing the experience of the state of Washington in privatizing liquor sales, the resolution argues “privatization will result in a marked increase in the number of outlets, longer hours of sale, greater advertising and more promotion and significantly more consumption; and the 9,000 outlets in North Carolina that sell beer/wine off-premises could be permitted to sell liquor in a privatized system.”
“Politics get into it,” said Commissioner Fred Belfield. “I think you need to keep control under the ABC system. It’s been this way for a long time.”
In other major business, commissioners formally approved a capital project ordinance of $550,725 for renovation of the Nash County Agriculture Center in Nashville.
The project will include “construction renovation to the HVAC system and upgrades and repairs for electrical, lighting, kitchen and bathrooms and various interior spaces” of the agriculture center, located on Eastern Avenue.
As part of the project, commissioners awarded a bid of $281,725 to Allred Mechanical Services, Inc. for replacing the HVAC system’s seven air handler units and associated controls, and a bid of $44,784 to FintronX, LLC for the LED project, which will replace more than 300 lights throughout the building as well as a new dimming system for the auditorium.
The lighting bid will be reduced by a $10,100 credit from Duke Energy, said Mike Phillips, assistant director of utilities and facilities.
Commissioners recessed the regular meeting to March 21 when they will host a legislative dinner at the Nashville Exchange for legislators representing Nash County and other invited officials.