Kannapolis city council votes to annex 58 acres
KANNAPOLIS — Despite concerns over 50-foot lots, the Kannapolis City Council on Monday evening voted unanimously to voluntarily annex 58 acres owned by MF Summers Walk Investments. The property is being developed as Phase 5 of the Summers Walk subdivision.
Some 111 single-family homes are planned on residential lots. The property is adjacent to the town of Davidson with the Mecklenburg/Cabarrus County line to the west, with the Shiloh Village neighborhood and Shiloh Church Road to the east. Because last night’s hearing was only an annexation hearing, council members were not overly upset about the lot size.
“We expect 60-foot lots out there,” Council Member Darrell Hinnant said. “We will have a second bite at this apple later. We already have water lines and sewer lines in this area. The more houses we can provide through this line, the better off we are. This is the fastest growing part of Kannapolis. It is going to continue to grow.
“If we want to manage this opportunity, this is our chance to manage it.”
Council Member Tom Kincaid asked for, but did not receive, the price points of the subdivision. Mayor Pro Tem Roger Haas said consideration would have to be given to what the market would bear.
Kincaid said he did not like the 50-foot lots, but he did like the quality of the subdivision. “I think this is gonna be a big asset to Kannapolis.”
Council members then engaged in a protracted discussion of the Economic Development budget with Irene Sacks, director of business and community affairs. The group’s budget is $187,738, yet council members were uncomfortable with giving blanket approval to ongoing projects. They got bogged down discussing the cost of each item Sacks had listed in the budget. Some of the amounts listed represented seed money for a certain project, while other amounts were just half of the amount of the project. Yet other line items represented the entire project budget.
Still, said City Manager Mike Legg, “I’m a little hamstrung to move things without direction from council.”
“There’s nothing on this list that gives me real heartburn,” Hinnant noted.
Council members agreed that some projects in the budget preceded others, such as the downtown marketing study — already under way — and a vision/branding effort.
Other items, such as relationship building and facade improvement grants, are not dependent on other efforts.
“We want to try to keep this whole plan moving forward,” Legg explained. “We wanted this council to have input. We just didn’t want to spend the next three months waiting on these things.”
A retreat with the new city council is scheduled for early 2014. By consensus, the group agreed that Legg would bring components of the budget before council as needed.
After its break, council members discussed the results of a Loop Road exercise route survey. Kannapolis is reshaping itself as a healthy city, and wants to be known as a city where its residences have multiple exercise options. The following statistics were gathered from Loop Road exercisers: 64 percent walkers, 25 percent runners and 7 percent bikers. But the survey also highlighted concerns, including lack of lighting at night, uneven and broken sidewalks, high speed of cars and sidewalks too close to the road traffic.
With Wilmer Melton, director of public works, council members discussed re-striping options for Loop Road, which has recently been repaved. The road now has five lanes, four through-lanes and one turn lane. But there are other options for re-striping the road, including widening the right-of-way, creating a multi-use path or creating a road diet, which would reduce the number of vehicle lanes but add lanes for bikers. Council watched a short video about road diets.
These options were presented, Melton said, because the Department of Transportation needs guidance on how to re-stripe the road.
“These are cool ideas, but at what point do we fill up one lane so it just cannot carry the traffic?” Hinnant asked.
Melton said that based on current growth projections, less than 15,000 cars a day would travel Loop Road by 2035, versus 8,900 that travel it each day now. Melton noted that East Boulevard in Charlotte, which has undergone a road diet, carries 20,000 cars daily.
“If we’re buying into a healthy lifestyle, this is a good idea,” said Council Member Ryan Dayvault.
Council Member Randy Cauthen said he also liked the road diet plan, as did Haas and Council Member Gene McCombs.
The board voted unanimously to use thermal plastic to mark middle of the road, with the rest of the markings in paint and glass beads. This will allow for future changes.
Council members noted the groundbreaking today on a $28 million municipal building which will house the city’s police and fire departments. Construction is slated to begin in mid-December and be complete in two years.
In other business, council members:
Heard a presentation by Randy Long, General Manager of the Kannapolis Intimidators, who provided a year in review for council. Long noted that 2014 is the 20th anniversary of the stadium, and that 125,811 fans saw 66 home games during the season that concluded on Labor Day.
Recognized six members of the Kannapolis Fire Department Explorers who participated last month in the 6th annual Millers Ferry Junior Firefighters Competition.
By consent, approved the purchase of eight police patrol cars at a cost of $195,832.
By consent, approved withdrawal of the city’s membership with Centralina Council of Governments.