GASTON COUNTY, N.C. -- Neighbors tired of piles of rocks, dirt and asphalt near their homes are trying to get a construction storage site shut down for good in Gaston County.
Officials say the site, on Cox Lake Road near Lucia Riverbend Highway, has been operating in violation of county rules since January when they first found out about it, but say the violations could date back to 2010.
Neighbors say the storage of things like rocks, concrete and asphalt has been going on there for closer to six years. Those neighbors will plead their case Thursday night before the Gaston County Planning Board.
The site owner, RealEstate Investment Corporation, LLC, is seeking a rezoning from residential to general industrial to bring the storage part of the operation into county compliance. It would affect 19 of the 33 acres on the site.
The county discovered the violation after the company requested a power pole at the location, officials said.
Neighbors say construction trucks going in and out pose a safety hazard.
"Those big trucks come around that corner there like they are at an international raceway. I've had them come in my yard," said Paul Bumgarner.
Bumgarner says the piles of construction materials near homes, if left to continue or even get bigger, will lower his property value. That's one reason why he put a "stop industrial zoning" sign in his yard.
Other neighbors say they are okay with it as long as the storage site doesn't get any bigger. They also say the owner, an offshoot of the Ferebee Corporation, a general contractor which builds roads, along with his crews, have been helpful and good neighbors who have given neighbors gravel for their driveways, paved an entrance into the storage site and kept it clean.
Bumgarner says it isn't an appropriate spot for construction debris storage to keep going, especially since the area includes a school bus stop and is close to Mountain Island Lake, where a lot of neighbors rely upon well water.
"We don't want to make it legal for him to continue doing what he's doing," Bumgarner said.
The county says there are other industrial zoned areas near the construction storage site and is consistent with the growth plan for that area.
Thursday's planning board hearing starts at 6 p.m. at the Gaston County Courthouse.
Bumgarner says several of his neighbors plan on being there.
NBC Charlotte did not hear back from RealEstate Investments Corporation, LLC, or from Ferebee.