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Formerly worthless property to become site of new church near Fieldale
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Formerly worthless property to become site of new church near Fieldale

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It’s not many times members of any planning commission finds themselves part of the process of turning a former sewer lagoon into a place of worship, but that’s exactly what happened with the Henry County Planning Commission at a regular meeting Wednesday night.

“This property here on the tax records, I don’t want to say is worthless, but it’s about as close as you can get,” said Lee Clark, director of planning, zoning, and inspections. “This [property] was taken out of service as a sewage lagoon for the houses above it when those houses were put on public sewer.”

T.R.A.S.H. Ministry holds services in Collinsville, but the church’s leaders want to buy the land in the 100 block on the northwest side of Clyde Prillaman Street and build a new church.

“The use will work. They will build a church, and the area at the lagoon will be used for parking,” Clark said.

The matter came before the commission because the lagoon is zoned for limited industrial (I-2) which doesn’t allow for the construction of a church, so the request was made to have the property rezoned to agricultural (A-1).

“I just want to sell it,” said Scott Prillaman of Prillaman & Meadors, the owner of the property.

Clark said the land being sold was 3.7 acres and would be made accessible from a state-maintained road. He said the current industrial classification of the property was the result of being included with land on the other side of the road, beyond the property that has industrial buildings on them.

“I recommend approval,” Clark said.

The Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the request.

Office and maintenance facility

Eric Phillips of Phillips Logistics wants to construct a building on property he has under contract on the south side of A.L. Philpott Highway and just east of Meadowbrook Lane to build offices for his business and a building suitable for maintenance of his company vehicles.

“Most people don’t know that Fedex is run by contractors in this area,” Phillips said. “We run out of a terminal in Elon, North Carolina and Salem and a vast majority of my workers live here.”

Phillips said he had a fleet of 46 trucks that accumulate several 100,000 miles each year and require regular maintenance.

“There would be 10 trucks or less per day,” Phillips said. “We change tires and make oil changes every three to four weeks on those trucks.”

Phillips said his drivers keep their trucks with them at home, driving to the terminal in Salem or Elon for pick up, then out for delivery and back home again.

“The only time they will be at the site is when they are receiving maintenance,” Phillips said. “I don’t think we would have a high volume of vehicles.”

The property is 1.33 acres and was zoned suburban residential (S-R), which prohibits a commercial structure on the property. Phillips asked that it be rezoned to commercial (B-1).

“We will build a nice, attractive building,” Phillips said. “We will have a nice place and make a significant investment there.”

Some of the commission members expressed concern that the property not be too prominent for residents entering Meadowbrook Lane, where other homes are located.

“The county has a landscape requirement as far as design is concerned, so landscaping is right in the ordinance,” Clark said. “Before issuing a permit, there will be street trees down that side.”

Phillips said he and his parents and grandparents all live on Meadowbrook. “I want to be a good neighbor,” he said.

Said Clark: “This is a good spot. It has options, and you can’t ask for more than that.”

The Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve Phillips’ request to have the property rezoned.

Bill Wyatt is a reporter for the Martinsville Bulletin. He can be reached at 276-638-8801, Ext. 236. Follow him @billdwyatt.

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