By Jessie Burchette
Rowan County commissioners have decided to take a closer look at a proposed cluster subdivision off N.C. 150.
The 170-lot Yorkshire Farms would be developed on approximately 119 acres of a 197 acre tract in the Atwell Township.
The project, one of the first cluster subdivisions proposed within the county’s jurisdiction, requires a conditional use permit to allow clustering of homes on smaller lots than allowed in the county. The average proposed lot size is 27,000 square feet.
Under the proposal, nearly 80 acres of the property would be common use open space.
Commissioners raised several questions about the proposal and one person who lives in the area spoke in opposition to the project.
Resident Bobby Harrison voiced concerns about safety with the entrance being in an “S” turn on N.C. 150.
A retired Salisbury police officer, Harrison noted that the N.C. Department of Transportation recommends a turn lane, but questioned when it will be built.
“Will it be after a child is hit?” he asked.
Harrison said he had hunted over the area for years and took issue with the notion that the common space would be open. He described it as a thicket with scrub trees and brush covering deep gullies.
Commissioners questioned the feasibility and health safety of putting 170 septic tanks in close proximity. Commissioner Tina Hall asked if part of the open space would be used for septic tanks if some of the proposed lots failed soil perk tests.
County Planner Andy Goodall said the open space couldn’t be used. Instead, the developers would face shrinking lot sizes or another remedy.
Commissioner Jim Sides if the smaller lots would leave homeowners room to make repairs should a septic tank system fail.
Lee Wallace, a partner in developer Plantation Ridge Partnership, told commissioners that extensive soil testing has been done and a “good percentage” of the lots will work.
Wallace also said the open space will include natural trails and ballfields.
Jeff Morris, an attorney and member of the county’s Land Use Steering Committee, said the project represents an opportunity to preserve open space at no cost to the county.
Sides moved to table the issue until the board’s April 21 meeting, saying he would like to do more research and visit the property. Commissioners unanimously approved the motion.
In other matters, commissioners:
– Agreed to sell a house at 1127 South Main St. to Carlos H. Parra, owner and administrator of Greenleaf Homes, for $76,000.
Parra, who operates homes for veterans either side of the county-owned house originally offered to pay $59,000 and increased his offer twice. After going through the upset bid process, his most recent offer will stand.
The county owns two former group homes that are also on the market, but has received no bids.
– Heard from several residents of the area along N.C. 150 west of Salisbury who spoke against Salisbury’s planned annexation. They also supported the county’s decision to hire an attorney and mount a legal fight against the annexation.
– Removed from the agenda discussion of a request from Sheriff George Wilhelm to pay a deputy to conduct a survey of the public on support for building a new jail.
– Approved a proclamation declaring April Child Abuse Prevention Month.
– Set an April 7 public hearing on an ordinance to ban sex offenders from county parks and some other public facilities.
– Approved several changes in the bylaws for the Rowan Public Library Board of Trustees, including establishing duties and responsibilities.
– Approved a resolution supporting the continuation of state funding for the Juvenile Crime Prevention Council programs. Currently, 813 juveniles in the county get assistance through programs.
– Approved a budget amendment that will disburse $183,000 in additional property tax revenue to 18 fire departments.
The amounts range from $25,100 to the Union Fire Department to $1,000 for Richfield-Misenheimer.
By Jessie Burchette