Winterville Machine Works to Expand

Oct 2, 2019 | News

WINTERVILLE — A marine and welding manufacturing company secured setback approval to build a 15,000-square-foot expansion that will allow it to increase its workforce from 60 to 75 over five years.

Winterville Machine Works sought a variance on setback and buffer requirements at 88 Cooper St. and 204 Cooper St. during the July 18 town Board of Adjustment meeting.

Allowing a 5-foot setback off of Cooper Street and a 15 foot setback west of the property will enable the company to construct a 15,000-square-foot building and a connector to its existing property, company Vice President Ted Cox said. Town ordinance requires a distance of 20 feet between structures and property lines.

“A building can’t be placed elsewhere unless we tear down other buildings, which are utilized to the fullest,” Cox said. “We need a building to grow our business and accommodate two large boat manufacturers. We can’t grow without (another building). We are landlocked … we need this to grow. We are very busy.”

Established in 1957, the company’s largest customer is Grady White Boats in Greenville. A portion of its property cannot be built on due to the 30 feet sewer easement located on Cross Street, Cox said.

For each additional building constructed over the years, the company has requested and obtained a setback variance, which are 2-5 feet from the street with a fence, Cox added.

“Our infrastructure is tight-knit, which cuts down on noise,” he said.

Board of adjustment chairman Jeff Briley asked how the company plans to handle its parking situation with additional staff.

Property owned by the company around the facility that can handle additional parking, and it is in the process of purchasing land that once housed a nursing home, Cox said.

Briley also asked if there are environmental risks associated with the proposed expansion pertaining to cleaning and washing methods.

“No. We operate in a clean environment. There is very little smoke and dust. We meet all codes and environmental codes,” Cox said, as he encouraged board members to tour the facility.

Board of adjustment member Alfred Phillips made a motion to approve the variance to decrease the 20 feet required setbacks to 5 feet on the rear and 15 feet on the side of the proposed facility.

The motion also amended the required 50-foot buffer of trees to a required 15 foot buffer with a fence. Board of adjustment member Ed Reynolds seconded the motion, which passed 4-0.

The approval of a variance requires a four-fifths vote by the board of adjustment, according to Town Attorney Keen Lassiter. Since Winterville’s board has a vacancy, an unanimous vote was required, Lassiter explained.

The Pitt County Board of Commissioners is scheduled to appoint the at-large member to the Winterville Board of Adjustment next month.

The board of adjustment also voted unanimously to approve an accessory building variance at 447 Cooper St.