Newport council rezones Gull Tree Service property, talks development

A gate closes off the road to the back of the lot at 982 Chatham St. in Newport recently. (Mike Shutak photo)

NEWPORT — The owners of Gull Tree Service LLC are one step closer to getting their plans for 982 Chatham St. off the ground.  

The Newport Town Council met for its regular meeting Feb. 11 at the town hall boardroom and online via Zoom. During the meeting, the council unanimously held the public hearing for a rezoning request for the 12.72-acre lot at 982 Chatham St. from R-20A (residential) to LI-CD (light industrial conditional use) district. The hearing remained open until a special meeting Wednesday, at which the council unanimously approved the request.

Company owners Erin and Carl Gull have said at previous public meetings they intend to plant a tree stand on the property, as well as operate a land-clearing and inter debris landfill and a furniture shop for cutting tree trunks into tabletops.

Town Planner J.P. Duncan said the planning board at its meeting Jan. 19 recommended approval for the rezoning request, with a laundry list of conditions.

The council also added to that proposed list of conditions a requirement to provide a timeline on planting a vegetative buffer for the property.

Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point community planner Ethan Brogden also requested the council add a condition prohibiting any structures over 100 feet tall on the property.

Property development like this is expected to increase in Newport, according to Town Manager Bryan Chadwick. During his manager’s report, he said town officials have heard a lot recently about the N.C. Department of Transportation’s project to build an extension for Interstate 42 to Highway 70 near the Carteret County/Craven County border.

“We know the importance of the highway and what it will mean for Newport,” he said. “A lot of people think it will be for visitors (to the coast), it will be for people moving here permanently.”

Mr. Chadwick said he expects the extension will result in a lot of development in the Newport area, both commercial and residential.

“This puts a lot of pressure on use and mainland towns to meet the needs of these incoming people,” he said.  

The following also occurred at Wednesday’s meeting:

  • The council unanimously went into closed session to discuss property acquisition and terms of employment. No action was taken.
  • The council unanimously declared several items from the fire department surplus, including two ambulance tots, four fire truck light bars, three boxes of various old parts and equipment, two hydraulic rescue cord reels, a box fan, two gas-powered positive pressure fans and four tripod lights. 
  • The council authorized the town tax collector to advertise the 2020 tax liens.
  • The council unanimously approved the consent agenda. 

Reporter's note: This article was updated at 11:41 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, to include more information.

 

Contact Mike Shutak at 252-723-7353, email mike@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter at @mikesccnt.

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