Those people in northern Guilford County who don’t want to see development encroach into an historically rural area lost a small battle in a big way when the Guilford County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to overturn a no-vote by the Guilford County Planning Board and therefore gave developers approval for a new land use option for four acres at the intersection of NC 150 and Spencer-Dixon Road.

The board held a public hearing on Thursday, Feb. 15 to hear arguments from both sides, and, as is often the case these days, the commissioners tried to find the right balance between the concerns of the opponents and the right of the property owners to enjoy the highest use of their property.

The land had previously been rezoned from Agricultural Rural Residential to Moderate Commercial and the new request before the commissioners at the February 15 meeting was specifically to allow the addition of the option of a convenience store with fuel pumps on the property.

One of the concerns of the opponents was that the site is near the watershed critical area.

Guilford County Planning Director Leslie Bell, however, told the board, “This parcel is not located in a critical watershed area.”

Attorney Amanda Hodierne, who was representing a local family owner, said that this request was a continuation of the decision the board made two years ago to allow a shopping center to go up on 30 acres near the four acres under debate.

“This is just a smaller subset of the case from 2022,” she told the board.

Hodierne also said that a community meeting had been held to inform those in the area of the proposed use request.

After the shopping center was allowed two years ago, and it became public knowledge that the four acres could have a commercial use due to the prior rezoning, Hodierne said, the owners learned quickly that this parcel of land was a highly desirable site for a convivence store with gas pumps.

Apparently, quite a few requests came from those who wanted to put a store with fuel pumps there.

Hodierne said tenants of the shopping center being built on the 30-acre site want a store with fuel pumps next to that center because it will help pull in business to the stores and restaurants.  She said the “tenant mix is improved” by a store with gas pumps on that spot.

Some opponents expresed concerned that the use would mean big oil tankers and product delivery trucks coming too near a school while others said they were concerned that the store would sell cigarettes, vaping products and alcohol near the school and near a church.

The commissioners, however, were not swayed by those arguments.