County approves airport tenant’s proposed office building

SALISBURY — Commissioners unanimously approved a proposal to construct a building at the Rowan County Airport for a displaced longtime business tenant.

At a commissioners meeting Monday, County leaders voted 5-0 to allow Gary Jenkins, of Carolina Avionics and Interiors, to build a permanent office space at the airport.


Vice Chairman Craig Pierce, who serves on the airport advisory committee, spoke up for the longtime tenant.

“This is not a attempt by the commission just to build another building,” Pierce said. “You have a tenant who has been there for 15 years, has been paying taxes, increased the business opportunities at that airport. If he does not receive this new building, he’ll be forced to leave the airport and go to Concord.”

Airport Director Thad Howell delivered the proposal on behalf of Jenkins, detailing the intended purposes for the estimated 1,500-square-foot structure.

“Mr. Jenkins is looking for a more permanent location for his office space,” Howell said.

The proposal said Jenkins’ current office space, which he rents in a hangar, will be unavailable in October 2013. The memo did not list a reason.

The building — which has already been designed by a private architect — is slated to cost roughly $150,000.

Pierce added that Jenkins would be tasked with the debt service.

“This is not the intent of the board to build a new building. This is to service a tenant,” Pierce said. “He’ll actually be making the debt service on this building.”

Carolina Avionics and Interiors was started in 1986, but moved to the Rowan County Airport in 1998, Howell said.

The business “provides sales, installation, and repair of aircraft radios, as well as upholstery and aircraft maintenance services,” according to a commissioners’ memo.

Along with the office space, Jenkins currently leases three 60-foot by 60-foot hangars, one T-hangar and land for a storage building.

At Monday’s meeting, county leaders also voted unanimously to send Jim Sides, chairman of the Rowan County commissioners, to the annual North Carolina Association of County Commissioners conference.

The conference will be held in Guilford County from Aug. 22 to Aug. 25. The association is asking at least one delegate to represent each county in the state.

Commissioners also voted unanimously to approve an initial non-binding contract with a private company called, Pictometry, that provides aerial photographs with oblique imagery.

County leaders said they are interested in hiring the company to shoot the county in early 2014.

By approving the initial contract, commissioners said, the county can be placed on the business’ flyover list.

Contact reporter Nathan Hardin at 704-797-4246.

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