Kendrick Williams, who runs Lil Hawk’s Auto Body and Paint Shop at 308 Old Mount Moriah Rd., pressed the County Council April 2 to reconsider a Feb. 19 vote that rezoned his property from a split between commercial and residential to exclusively residential, barring him from starting up the business that he’s run for nearly 20 years.
“I don’t see why it’s fair to take my property and make it residential when it’s been commercial so long. This is my livelihood; this is how I support my family,” Williams said.
The .6-acre parcel sits at the top of Henderson Street---a cluster of 1940s-era homes with yards full of children’s toys and dog houses.
Homeowners in the neighborhood told county leaders the body shop detracted from their quality of life because of late-night traffic, loud music and other annoyances---all of which have gone away since the shop burned down, they said.
In January, the City/County Planning Commission recommended the council deny Williams’ request to rezone the entire property to commercial so he could resume his trade. The council unanimously voted Feb. 19 to make the acreage residential---on the heels of several residents asking for the change.
A public hearing on the matter was that night, which Williams did not attend, although he was at a Jan. 22 Planning Commission meeting, according to minutes.
Resident Daryl Thomson, who lives on Henderson Street near Williams’ business, told the County Council April 2 that until the fire caused zoning enforcement officials to review the property’s status, many believed they had no recourse to push for the shop’s removal.
“If we had known it was half residential, we would have been calling code enforcement years and years ago and kept him under wraps. We thought we were stuck with this in our backyard because it was pre-existing and we couldn’t do anything about it,” he said. “I hate that the man lost his livelihood, but if he chooses to rebuild in that lot, we believe it’s going to be the same problems we’ve been dealing with for years and years.”
Williams told the council that if they reconsider his case---which can only happen if a council member votes to put it back on an agenda---he’d work with his neighbors to address their concerns.
“I never had any problems with my neighbors, so I’m willing to satisfy my neighbors, but I do want to build back my business,” he said.