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What is now a dilapidated former mill building is well on its way to becoming a state-of-the-art community focused manufacturing facility. At their last meeting, Lincolnton City Council heard a presentation on rezoning and potential economic development incentive package for property located at 215 Bonview Avenue, formerly the Willowbrook Mill. 

The presentation was made by Robert Brown, an attorney with the Jonas Law Firm in Denver and Kara Brown of the Lincoln Economic Development Association on behalf of Deanna Hodges, the principal owner of Sparty Holdings, LLC, the anticipated owner of the property in Lincolnton, and Hodges International, a woman-owned small business that manufactures package uniforms, T-shirts, PPE, as well as blankets, pillows and sheets for large corporations, airlines, military, government, federal, state, county/city/townships and detention centers.

This property will be used as a design center, manufacturing facility and logistic center, according to Hodges. It will include a community garden, an educational center, an after-school facility for employee’s children, a café which will be open to the employees and the community. There will also be a boutique featuring products manufactured by Hodges. 

While it may not look like much right now, Hodges said during the presentation that she found the building beautiful. She not only wanted to open a factory in the United States but to make a difference in a small town like the one she grew up in.

Council enthusiastically approved both the economic development incentive package in the amount of $206,750 for building renovations. The bulk of the city contribution ($200,000) will go towards asbestos removal costs. Council also approved the application requesting conditional use rezoning from Residential-Office and Single and Two-Family Medium Density Residential to CU-General Manufacturing and Commercial. There is currently an approximately 145,571 square foot former mill building on the property. It was constructed in 1905 and was associated with approximately ten textile companies before operations ceased. 

City Council members also voted unanimously to amend the city’s zoning regulations to allow tattoo studios to operate in the Planned Business District of the city. Prior to this amendment, the city’s zoning regulations didn’t allow tattoo studios in any zoning district. This approval will allow for additional tattoo studios to potentially open with the city limits; however, the council would have to approve each individual potential owner via conditional use permit. The amendment does not allow tattoo studios to operate in the immediate downtown area. 

Shawna and Kyle Moore will be the owners and operators of the potential tattoo studio.

They will need to come back before the council at a later date to apply for approval of a conditional use permit for the studio. Shawna Moore, who was born and raised in Lincoln County and still lives here, currently operates S’Moore Ink in Dallas. Moore said that it was because of her roots in the county that she fought so hard to open a second studio in Lincolnton which will be called “Ink & Iris” and if approved, will be located at 1414 East Main Street. At the meeting, Moore presented an abundant amount of information in a multi-media presentation on her existing business and the art of tattoo.

“This will be a high-end shop,” Moore told the council. “We want to set the standard for future shops. We’re a custom shop and can deny customers. There’s a limit to what we will do. I want to be a part of Lincolnton growing. I think we’d be the missing link (to Lincolnton’s growth).”

Alan Hoyle spoke in condemnation of the proposed tattoo parlor saying the scriptures were against tattoos and piercings. He said it would be “opening a Pandora’s Box.” Myra Heavner, a business owner in the city, spoke in support of Moore’s potential business saying that she’d be a great asset to the city.

Council also considered and approved an application from Wade Roberts requesting conditional use rezoning from Residential-25 (R-25) to CU-General Business (CU-GB) for property located at the southwest corner of N.C. Highway 182 and Old Lincolnton Crouse Road. The property currently has a 7,500 square foot building located on it along with a gravel parking area and several accessory structures. The building was constructed in 1989, prior to zoning in the area, and has been used as a manufacturing facility. The subject property is zoned R-25. Adjacent land uses are zoned R-25. Land uses in the vicinity of the site are mostly single family residential and a church.

The applicant requested conditional use rezoning in order to reuse and occupy the existing 7,500 square foot building for a collision repair business. There are two access points onto the property, one at the front of the building and one to the side with a dock and small garage door. The applicant stated that he will be adding one additional full size garage door to the side of the building, no additional parking will be added, and a fence will be erected for security purposes. No additions will be made to the building.

In other business 

  • Carol King gave a quarterly report and update from the Lincolnton Tourism Development Authority.
  • Mayor Ed Hatley re-appointed council members to board and commissions.
  • Brayden Davis was appointed to the 2020-2021 Lincolnton Student Advisory Council.
  • Ralph Lineberger was appointed to the Housing Authority, Emily Robinson to the ABC Board and Nathaniel Ingram to the Recreational Advisory Board.
  • Kristy McBryde was appointed to the Housing Authority, Sandra Villanova to the Recreation Advisory Board, Laura Gregory to Historic Properties Commission, Jamel Farley – Lincolnton Tourism Development Authority and Joy Smith to the Lincolnton Planning Board.
  • At the commencement of the meeting, the one new, Christine Poinsette (Ward 2) and re-elected, Roby Jetton (Ward 4) councilmembers were sworn in. Dr. Martin A. Eaddy was re-appointed as mayor pro tem and T.J. Wilson as city attorney.

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