Cheraw town leaders gave tentative approval on Tuesday to a rezoning request that would allow a restaurant owner to sell cars on his property.
Muhammad El-Sherif of El-Sherif’s Restaurant & Catering asked that his 315 Second St. land parcel be rezoned from neighborhood commercial to general commercial. Town Administrator Mike Smith told the Cheraw Town Council that El-Sherif wanted to begin selling automobiles there.
Cheraw Zoning Commission members recommended approving Ordinance 2016-04, which would authorize the zoning change. Smith explained to the council that the parcel was zoned as general commercial until 1998, and once housed a car lot 40 years ago.
Councilwoman Jackie Ellerbe-Shannon expressed concerns about a car lot’s affect on the “ambiance” of the surrounding area.
“We’ve got a doctor’s office there, we have the College Inn, the Masonic temple, the Presbyterian church,” she said. “Did we as a town make sure those entities there received the information and have a chance to actually voice their opinions?”
Smith replied that the town has sent several letters and received positive and neutral responses from area business owners.
The first reading of the ordinance passed in a 5-2 decision with Ellerbe-Shannon and Billy Wallace voting against the zoning change.
Wallace, who originally seconded the motion to approve the ordinance, asked to retract his action after the conversation about how the proposed zoning changes could affect the area. Mayor Andy Ingram told him this was not possible.
Town Council members also passed the second reading of Ordinance 2016-02, which allows the town to purchase property on Second and Evans streets to be used for overflow parking. The town passed the first reading of the ordinance in its regular monthly meeting in June. The second reading was approved unanimously without further discussion.
The town also passed Ordinance 2016 -03, which authorizes the implementation of an economic development incentive program.
The program is designed to incentivize local businesses by providing breaks on fees and taxes for new businesses that open in or relocate to the town of Cheraw. Council members voted unanimously to approve the ordinance.