MONROE – Susan Stokes has lived on Hayes Road her entire life. Her family has owned property there for more than 200 years. Stokes recalls when she got married to her husband, her granddaddy gave her land to build a home on.

“I raised my daughter and I would like for her to stay at home and build beside me,” Stokes said, “because we're all one big happy family on Hayes Road and we just want to stay together.”

But to allow her daughter to build on nearly three acres off Hayes Road, Stokes realized she would have to go through a formal rezoning process through Union County. Stokes and her husband had no idea the property was zoned for highway commercial uses.

She explained to county commissioners July 19 why they wanted to rezone the property as residential.

County staff and the planning board recommended approving the rezoning even though residential uses didn't fit with the county's land-use map.

“Having residential near commercial or industrial development could deter future development in the area,” Senior Planner Bjorn Hansen said. “However, there's a lot of existing undeveloped land that's already zoned highway commercial in the area. There are already are multiple large lot residences in the area, but Hayes Road as a two-lane, low-volume road. It is not really appropriate for commercial or industrial at this time anyway.”

Commissioners suspended the rules to vote for proposal that night, granting the family the residential rezoning they needed.

Other members of the family, such as Linda Hayes Taylor and Roger Hayes, spoke on behalf of their proposal. Hayes believes the property will be a very attractive place for development down the road – but so what?

“If a developer wants to come in and buy all their property – the Stokes' property – then fine, but in the meantime, Susan and her children and grandchildren will be able to live there happily,” Hayes said.

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