Kershaw council gives first OK to rezone Bojangles' lot

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By Johnathan Ryan

KERSHAW – In front of two opposing sides, Kershaw Town Council gave unanimous approval on first reading to rezone a Bojangles' restaurant parking lot Monday night.

Before a packed audience at the Kershaw Recreation Center, council discussed the implications of approving the rezoning request from residential to the general commercial B-3 zone.

The parking lot lies next to a handful of residential properties on Neal Street.

The noise and trash that's been coming from the parking lot are already too much to bear, some residents said.

"This is over three-fourths a day, seven days a week we have to deal with this noise, lights and traffic," said Angie Helms, after noting the restaurant's hours of operation.

She read the county's zoning guidelines on adjoining residential and business designations, and urged council to deny the rezoning request. She said her property is losing value because of the parking lot.

Nearby resident Donald Knight said he spends 30 minutes per week picking up trash that he finds on his property from the parking lot.

"I'm too old for this," he said.

Some residents are also irked that work on the parking lot started before the property was rezoned. Many claim the work was started in spring 2007.

In April, Lancaster County Building and Zoning told Bojangles' to cease use of the lot or risk daily fines. The restaurant's management then applied for the rezoning.

Restaurant owner Ronnie Campbell admitted Monday that he erred in how he handled the rezoning process.

"We went about it in the wrong way. I didn't do my homework on it," Campbell told council.

But he said his employees are in need of additional parking as more people have been hired to work there. He said he wants to work with the town and residents so the parking lot and a residential area can peacefully co-exist.

He told council the parking lot would be for restaurant employees only and asked council to consider a smaller area to rezone (50 feet by 100 feet rather than 50 feet by 225 feet, which was on the original application). He said he'd follow all the county's buffer requirements for the property.

In June, the Lancaster County Planning Commission recommended that Town Council deny the rezoning request. The commission said the rezoning doesn't fit in with the county's future land-use plan for the area.

Town Council does not have to accept the planning commission's recommendation.

The measure council approved will require that Bojangles' adhere to county buffering requirements, such as the proper amount of landscaping or a combination of that and a privacy fence be installed.

The measure must pass one more reading to take effect.

Helms indicated Monday that she's unhappy with council's action.

"I'm ready to have a lawyer take charge of this," she said.

Contact reporter Johnathan Ryan at jryan@thelancasternews.com or a 9803) 416-8416