CEDAR POINT — Town commissioners voted Tuesday night to approve a special-use permit for a furniture store owner to use property adjacent to his store for storage for outdoor furniture,
The 3-2 vote came during the board’s regular monthly meeting in the town hall off Sherwood Avenue and followed a quasi-judicial public hearing.
Tony Howell, owner of Rooms Unlimited at 441 Cedar Point Blvd. (Highway 24), has been using the property at 427 Cedar Point Blvd., owned by the Stanley Corporation, for outdoor storage of the outdoor furniture for several months, with the permission of owner Pat Stanley who he called “a customer” at his business.
Howell told the board Tuesday night he had moved the furniture from a Morehead City operation he closed down because of lack of business.
But Cedar Point Manager David Rief eventually sent Howell a notice of violation, because his use of the property for outdoor storage required a special use permit.
To issue a special-use permit, the board must make legal findings of fact, including a determination that the use would not go against the character of the area in which it would be located.
Two commissioners – John Nash and Josh Reilly – expressed concerns, as did Mayor Scott Hatsell who votes only to break ties on the five-member board.
Reilly said he thought the town already has enough outdoor storage along Highway 24, the only road that goes all the way through Cedar Point.
“I personally think we’ve got enough of this in town along the road,” he said.
Nash was concerned about the business owner using another owner’s property for the use, worrying that the practice could expand in a “ripple effect.”
Mayor Hatsell voiced concerns about flooding in the low-lying area, saying that despite Howell’s contention that there is none, there is often water on the property after storms.
“I’ve been there three months,” Howell said.
“We haven’t had any storms,” countered the mayor who can see the property from his home and said he was worried about storms moving furniture onto the highway.
Rief agreed the property is in a flood zone and that permanent structures there have to be elevated. But Howell isn’t planning any permanent structures.
Other concerns voiced by board members included landscaping, buffering and parking.
But Rief and other board members said that even with a special-use permit in hand, Howell would have to return to the town with a specific site plan for his use of the property. That plan will have to go through the town planning board for a review and recommendation, then win the approval of a majority of the board of commissioners.
Commissioners Gary Bray, Frankie Winberry and Pam Castellano voted for the permit, while Reilly and Nash opposed.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.