Butcher shop wins approval

Residents of a Lake Norman subdivision lost a years-long battle to keep a butcher shop out of their community, but not before town commissioners extracted key concessions from the shop owner and retail center developer.

After a nearly three-hour hearing, the Mooresville Board of Commissioners voted 5-0 last week to give Florida-based Gryphon Development LLC a permit to open the 2,900-square-foot butcher shop in its Harbor Square retail building.

The Meat Center will sell meat and other food for off-site consumption only. Meats will be of top USDA-certified grades and will arrive at the store in sealed vacuum packs in cardboard boxes, owner Charlie Caputo said.

Commissioners voted after getting Caputo and Gryphon representatives to agree to numerous stipulations aimed at keeping vermin from the property and nearby homes.

Harbor Square is surrounded on three sides by the Harbor Cove subdivision. It includes such businesses as a State Farm Insurance agency, a Sylvan Learning Center and a hair salon.

The property is zoned "neighborhood mixed-use," which allows various retailers, including butcher shops, as a use by right. But food-related businesses must first get a conditional-use permit to operate, and a public hearing is required before commissioners can issue the permit.

Neighbors on Williamson Road cited the potential for declining property values. Meat scraps discarded in outdoor garbage containers attract rats, they said.

Residents said they also were concerned about increased truck and other traffic. Numerous delis and restaurants are already within two miles of Harbor Square, one resident said.

Brett Henderson of the 230-family Harbor Cove Homeowner's Association said that in a survey of Harbor Cove members, 86percent said they didn't want any type of food preparation store at Harbor Square.

But a resident across from Caputo's longtime Mooresville Meat Center processing facility on U.S. 21, on the other side of town, testified at the hearing that he has never seen rats or experienced any noise from the operation.

In the end, Caputo and Tony Gestido of Gryphon Development agreed to various stipulations for The Meat Center on Williamson Road, including no deep-fat frying and no disposal of meat scraps or other food on site.

They also agreed to have no tables or seats for dining and allow no on-site alcohol consumption. Caputo intends to sell beer and wine, but only for patrons to take home.

Caputo and Gestido also agreed to operate the business from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays. They also said they will vent all exhaust through the roof, not the side of the building.