City holds off on Powerscreen rezoning

City holds off on Powerscreen rezoning
October 05
09:45 2017

Council also declares Hoots Mill a local historic landmark 

The Winston-Salem City Council delayed a vote on a controversial rezoning for Powerscreen Mid-Atlantic and voted to make a former mill a historic landmark during its Monday, Oct. 2, meeting.

Powerscreen Mid-Atlantic has requested rezoning land at the corner of Graytuck Drive and High Point Road to allow for large construction equipment to be parked there. The company would like to purchase the land from the city for that purpose. It would use the lot next to it that’s under county jurisdiction to locate a building in which the equipment would be worked on.

The land is next to single-family homes on Graytuck Drive. It is not accessible from that street, so it wouldn’t create traffic in the residential area. Neighbors were concerned about possible noise and dust from the site. The petitioner made numerous concessions, including restricting the possible uses of the land, a large buffer with trees and restricting the hours that equipment could be moved. It also held a demonstration of the machines to show residents how much noise they’d create.

Gary Gatrost said he and others who live on Graytuck Drive were still opposed to it.

“I truly believe the value of my property will go down,” said Gatrost.

Staff also recommended against the rezoning, which would change the land from light industrial to general industrial. Light industrial generally has less impact on the properties around it and is more likely to be next to residential areas. General industrial allows for the most intense and high impact uses of property, which staff felt was incompatible with the neighboring residential area. It could set a precedent for more general industrial zoning in the area and could act as a deterrent for light industrial businesses to locate there, according to staff recommendations.

City Council Member and Chronicle publisher James Taylor represents the Southeast Ward that contains the property. He said he thought this zoning would give the council and the neighbors a chance to control what went onto that land. He also thought that resident concerns had been addressed prior to the meeting.

“It sort of did take me aback to hear that there were still some concerns that needed to be addressed with the neighbors,” he said.

Taylor moved to hold the item until the next council meeting to see if he could work something out between residents and the petitioner.

Also during the meeting, the council unanimously voted to declare the former Hoots Milling Company Roller Mill a local historic landmark. The mill, located at 1151 Canal Drive, was built in 1935 by Zeno Hoots and restored in 2016. It’s the city’s sole surviving structure built in the 20th century to process and store grain.

It’s currently the home of Roller Mill Events, a multifunctional event and meeting space. The property now qualifies for a 50 percent property tax deferral, but must maintain its historic character and changes to the property will need approval from the county’s Historic Resource Commission, which is an appointed citizen committee. The property was already on the National Register of Historic Places.

Council Member Jeff MacIntosh praised Dewey Anderson for rehabbing the building, which had fallen into disrepair and been damaged by fire in a section of the city that many had written off in the past.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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