July 27, 2008

Vann York Auto Mall Expansion Gains Approval

By E.A. Seagraves, News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.

Jul. 27--High Point will allow Vann York Auto Mall to expand its property and build a parking lot to store vehicles.

The business at 422 Eastchester Drive asked last month that 2.6 acres along the north side of Blain Street be rezoned from low density residential to community/regional commercial.

A decision was postponed after residents living behind the business -- on Blain Street and Futrelle Drive -- protested the possibility of a parking lot intruding into their neighborhood.

The neighborhood was created from land the late Peter Graves bought for African Americans to build houses. Graves' grandson, Lawrence Graves, is selling his land to Vann York. The octogenarian's wife is sick, and the couple is looking to move.

Besides changing the neighborhood's character, neighbors say the parking lot would be unsightly and could cause flooding.

Some city council members say a parking lot is a passive use and suggest increased traffic from an apartment building would affect the neighborhood more.

Neighbors disagree.

An apartment complex "is better than a parking lot. It will maintain the residential integrity" of the neighborhood, said resident Ilka Dixon Covington , who owns property directly across from the proposed rezoning.

With landscaping, lighting and storm-water plans in hand, representatives of Vann York updated the council on designs approved by city staff. A berm and landscaping will screen the parking lot from neighbors.

Neighbors said it could take up to 20 years for trees in the landscaping grow into a good screen.

Councilman Mike Pugh requested the applicants buy the biggest trees possible to provide relief to neighbors sooner.

Dan Pritchett of Jamestown Engineering said a pipe would direct water runoff and discharge it across the buffer. The runoff would be collected in a retention pond on the north side of Eastchester Drive.

Abigaile Pittman, representing Vann York, said light from fixtures would not extend into the neighborhood.

Councilwoman Bernita Sims didn't support the rezoning. She said a parking lot is not a passive use and therefore shouldn't be allowed in neighborhoods .

Contact E.A. Seagraves at 883-4422, Ext. 241, or [email protected]


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