Although the owners of a commercial trucking business were told they could not operate their enterprise in the area, a smaller delivery service business has received permission to set up shop on East Crossroads near Old Dexter Highway in Chaves County.
The Chaves County Board of Commissioners voted during its July 19 meeting to grant a special use permit to Bryan Konichek that allows him to run his courier and business delivery service, Access Point Delivery Systems Inc., from the lot he owns at 3740 E. Crossroads, an area outside the city limits zoned as residential and agricultural.
The permit is slated to be reviewed by the county only “as needed.”
“We are a medical courier business, first and foremost,” Konichek said. “We pick up and deliver biopsies all over the state.”
An entrepreneur who has lived in Roswell 18 years, Konichek said his three-year-old delivery company also uses trailers hauled behind pick-ups to transport aircraft parts and materials for Aersale and Stewart Industries. A Facebook page for the business shows photos of some of the larger loads, including one billed as the first “oversized” load for the company in May 2016.
Now operating from an office on West First Street and using a nearby storage yard for the company’s vehicles and trailers, Konicheck said that he probably will not move the business and its four employees to the property south of the city for a year.
He first wants to renovate the dilapidated house into an office and garage and to construct a barn for the trailers and vehicles, which he said includes about four cars and two pick-up trucks.
Konichek told commissioners he has no intention of expanding the business much or of using the property for major repairs or maintenance of vehicles, two points that mattered to county staff and some Crossroads neighbors when it came to the other trucking business.
In January, the Chaves County Commissioners rejected Ignacio Campa’s request to rezone his property at 3768 E. Crossroads to light industrial and told him and his family members that they will need to find a new place for their trucking company or else significantly reduce the number of trucks.
The family has been using their Crossroads property, a little to the east of Konichek’s lot, for 13 years to park their trucks and trailers when not in use and do some maintenance of vehicles and equipment.
More than seven neighbors wrote letters or appeared in person to support the Campas, saying they are hard-working, epitomize the American Dream, keep their property well-maintained and are reasonable neighbors. They also said other large trucks, including those for nearby dairies, regularly travel in the area.
But, according to a couple of neighbors who lodged complaints with county staff and officials, problems were caused by the increasing number of trucks over the years — starting with just a few and growing to as many as 10 at times — and the size of the semi-trucks. One homeowner nearby said that the noise especially bothered him because trucks were rolling out as early as 5 a.m.
After initial complaints, the county intervened and issued a special use permit for a year in 2015, expecting Campa to look for a more suitable location for his business.
When the Campas sought to reapply for the permit in August 2016, the commissioners denied the request due to the continued objections of a couple of neighbors and the fact that the Campas had not attempted to find another property. The Campas told commissioners that they did not understand that was a condition of the original permit.
The Campas then filed in November 2016 to have the property rezoned to industrial. Commissioners, seeking a compromise, denied the rezoning request in January but extended the special permit for six months and told the Campas to use that time to find another property for the business.
The Campas and some of their supporters at the January meeting questioned the motivations of neighbors for complaining, saying that they wondered if objections were racially motivated.
However, the most vocal neighbor, Neil Binderman, speaking at several meetings, emphatically denied that the matter had anything to do with the family’s ethnicity. “I can assure you I am not a racist,” he said at the August 2016 meeting with commissioners.
Commissioners said the issue should not be turned into one about race or ethnicity, instead should be seen as a question whether a commercial trucking business should be allowed to operate in an area zoned agricultural and residential.
Asked to talk at a July 5 Chaves County Planning and Zoning Commission meeting to address Konichek’s special permit, Binderman said that he would not oppose the business or permit.
He explained that he appreciated that Konichek had cleaned up the property and had taken the appropriate steps to obtain the permit before setting up his business at the Crossroads location.
Konichek said that most of the Crossroads neighbors he has encountered so far have been supportive, and, given current experiences, he is hopeful that problems will not occur.
“We are hooking up our trailers early in the morning next to residences now,” Konichek said about his current location, “including on Saturdays, and no one has complained.”
He added that he is building the barn for the vehicles in part because he does not want to have to build a fence that would obstruct his own or his neighbors’ views.
He said he feels for the Campas but is not involving himself in the controversy.
He also noted that the county is requiring him to meet seven different conditions to keep the permit, conditions such as keeping the business small, the property free of debris and the lighting unobtrusive to neighbors.
“It could change next year,” he said. “I hope not, but it could.”
Senior writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 310, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.