INDIAN LAND — Nathan Dills comes home from work at the end of the day and likes to sit outside.
“The traffic dies down and it’s relaxing,” he said.
Pointing across the street, he marks the spot where the sun goes down.
“I watch it, right over there,” he said. “It’s peaceful and quiet.”
Dills and more than 20 of his neighbors on Barberville Road and nearby Ola and Harrisburg roads are worried that the quiet won’t last long. Across the street from their neighborhood, a request is underway to rezone residential property, allowing a thrift store and animal shelter.
Gloria Davey, with Paws in the Panhandle, owns the property and holds monthly yard sales there, with proceeds to benefit the animal rescue group.
Rezoning the three-acre property would allow her to open a thrift store that could draw in more customers and, potentially, more money for the rescue group. She also has plans to build an animal shelter, the first “no-kill” shelter in Lancaster County.
Van Storie said rezoning the property from residential to business would set a precedent and could lead to other rezonings. He said he worries that his residential community would rapidly become over run with businesses.
“It opens the door,” said Jack Patterson. “Once you let something in, everything else follows.”
Currently the majority of Barberville Road property is residential except for a landscaping business and a nearby church.
Neighbors say the landscaping business is quiet and it causes little traffic. The company is accessed from Harrisburg Road.
They also wonder what would happen to Davey’s property if the thrift store and animal shelter didn’t happen, or she decided to sell the property. Once it’s rezoned to B2, a zoning district that allows small commercial centers, “It could become anything,” Storie said.
“It could be a strip mall,” he said.
Traffic is another concern, they said. Barberville Road is a heavily traveled cut-through from Indian Land to Pineville. On Saturdays when Davey holds yard sales, neighbors say the street is lined with traffic.
If a thrift store and animal shelter are allowed on the property, traffic could get worse, opponents of the rezoning say.
“This has been a residential community since so far back. What’s the rush to make this commercial? Look at the commercial mess on U.S. 521. It’s an injustice to the people who live here,” Patterson said.
Davey said traffic would improve if she is able to open a thrift store.
“The yard sale cars will go away. When you only have one sale a month it’s a concentrated effort. It won’t be an issue once we rezone. All that would go away, and parking would be built,” Davey said.
At least four parking spaces would be required if the thrift store is allowed to open, and more parking spaces would be built when the animal shelter is complete, she said. Parking would be in the back of the property, she said .
Davey also operates a thrift store in Zimmer Business Park in Indian Land.
“We would not impact the traffic one iota. We’ve been in business two years at Marvin Road [in Zimmer] and if we have two customers at one time, that’s good for us. We’re not a Wal-Mart,” she said.
Some of the residents who oppose the rezoning said they are animal lovers. Several of the neighbors have dogs and cats that were rescued and all of them say they believe that a “no-kill” shelter in Lancaster County is important.
“We 100 percent believe Lancaster County needs a no-kill shelter,” said Kristin Storie. “But there’s a right place and a wrong place for everything.”
Some of the neighbors are in favor of the rezoning, Davey said.
She said she has letters from every adjoining property owner except one.
The Lancaster County Planning Department’s recommended the council approve the rezoning because the property is adjacent to a business property and is shown on the Future Land Use Map as an area appropriate for a PDD, a standard that includes residential and commercial property. The Planning Commission recommended denying the rezoning.
The Lancaster County Council will consider the rezoning Monday.
The council previously tabled the rezoning while Davey answered questions about traffic, waste disposal and noise.
“She’s really done her homework. Her business plan is very nice, but there are still some questions,” Council Chairwoman Kathy Sistare said.
Larry McCullough, Indian Land’s representative on the council, has previously said he would support the rezoning.