ST. PAULS — With less than two weeks left on a deadline to move, Sysco, a transfer trucking company, has been given the green light to relocate.
The St. Pauls Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Thursday night to allow Sysco to move the business to the old cucumber plant off East Third Street.
The board voted last month to give the company 45 days to find a new location because of complaints about noise.
People living near the current Sysco site say the refrigerator trucks can be heard throughout the neighborhood. The business, which came to St. Pauls in 2012, is located in the parking lot of the former Butler manufacturing plant on Butler Street.
Under the company’s conditional-use permit, the business cannot have a negative effect on the surrounding neighborhood, cause noise or have excessive traffic.
Some commissioners had expressed concern that if the new site is near homes, the town is just “moving this problem to another neighborhood.”
But Town Administrator J.R. Steigerwald said Thursday there should be enough vegetation and trees to reduce any noise coming from the site.
Steigerwald also said the company asked that excessive noise not be a stipulation in the permit for the new site.
“They don’t want to have to move again,” Steigerwald said.
Commissioner Ghee Johnson said she “had a problem” with excluding a requirement about noise.
“I’m all for them going there, but I don’t want our hands to be tied,” Johnson said. “It is not fair to tell the residents that we know it is a nuisance, but you will just have to live with it.”
No Sysco representative attended Thursday’s meeting, but Dempsey Smith, the man who sold the company the 3-acre site, did defend the request.
Smith said the company plans to spend $25,000 on improvements at the site to help reduce noise.
“They certainly don’t want to invest that kind of money and have to move a few months from now,” Smith said. “I understand your concerns, but we have to have industry and business.”
The company was also looking at two other locations — the Bestway Trucking site and the St. Pauls Industrial Park, both on N.C. 20.
Smith thanked the board after approving the Third Street site.
“I appreciate the board for being progressive and for helping move the town forward,” he said.
The board also approved a request from St. Pauls United Methodist Church to remove three trees on North Fourth Street.
Church officials said leaves and limbs were clogging gutters at the church and the trees were a hazard to people walking under them.
“I have stood and watched limbs fall from the tree,” said Bruce Skipper, pastor of United Methodist Church. “It is a liability for people getting out of their vehicles.”
The St.Pauls Tree Commission had recommended the town cut back the trees and not remove them completely.
The board voted 3-1, with Johnson opposed, to approve the request.
“Those trees are just so pretty,” Johnson said.
Also Thursday, the board took no action on a request to remove dirt and stumps from 231 N. Old Stage Road at the owner’s expense.
Steigerwald had planned to ask the board to consider allowing town employees to do the work after hours, but the owner withdrew his request.
According to Steigerwald, the stumps will have to be removed regardless of who does the work.