LOUISBURG — The fate of a gravel area on a vacant lot east of the NAPA store on Amity Street will now head to the Board of Zoning Appeals.
The city’s Building and Zoning Department said a recently installed gravel area on the lot is nonconforming with city regulations. The lot is owned by MBB, LLC. Louisburg businessman Bob Bazin had been working on the lot.
Gravel lots already in place can exist in town as long as they are maintained. If a gravel lot sits vacant for more than 90 days, it is no longer considered a legal nonconforming use, City Administrator Nathan Law said. The lot east of NAPA had been dormant for some time.
The Planning Commission took up the dispute and met with Bazin. After a lengthy discussion, planners voted 5-0 to allow Bazin to leave the recently installed gravel area in place, according to minutes from the meeting. Planning commission member George Bazin recused himself from the discussion and abstained from voting.
Law said the Planning Commission determined gravel had previously been used on the lot and viewed it not so much as putting down a new type of surface material but more as maintaining what historically had already been on the lot.
City Council member Thorvald McKiernan said at the Council’s June 3 meeting the dispute should have gone to the Board of Zoning Appeals, not the Planning Commission. McKiernan, a former Planning Commission member, said he concurred with city staff that a gravel lot is nonconforming in this case.
Mayor Marty Southard said the dispute had already been decided. In the interest of moving forward, he said the Planning Commission’s decision should stand, but agreed these type of disputes should go to the Board of Zoning Appeals in the future.
Other council members sided with McKiernan and voted 4-0 to send the matter to the Board of Zoning Appeals. The mayor does not vote except as a tiebreaker.