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County Planning Board leans more toward property rights

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.com
The Rowan County Planning Board may have just gotten a bit more conservative and a lot more property-rights friendly.
County commissioners filled five seats on the board Monday night with some outspoken advocates of property rights.
Commissioners split on most of the appointments. Steve Poteat, of Quail Drive, was their only unanimous pick. Poteat served on the West Rowan Land Use Steering Committee, opposing most of the recommendations.
Poteat replaces his wife, Donna, who did not wish to be reappointed.
The board reappointed Mac Butner, a Salisbury Realtor and executive officer of the Salisbury-Rowan Home Builders Association. Butner, a frequent Republican candidate for office, was appointed on a 4-1 vote, with Raymond Coltrain casting the dissenting vote.
Larry Wright, of Heritage Lane, also won a seat on a 4-1 vote. Wright has become a leader in the opposition to forced annexation. He routinely attends meetings of the county commissioners and Salisbury City Council.
Commissioners also appointed Rod Whedbee, a leader in the property rights movement in the county, and Jack Fisher, of Long Ferry Road, who will fill the seat vacated by Carl Ford, who is now chairman of the Board of Commissioners.
Whedbee is co-chairman of Rowan Property Rights Alliance and frequently speaks at commissioners’ meetings on property and business issues.
Fisher is also a member of the Property Rights Association and the county’s Zoning Board of Adjustments.
Two others were nominated ó John Burke and Charles Floyd ó but they failed to get the three votes necessary for appointment.
Poteat, Fisher, Wright, Whedbee and Butner will serve through Dec. 31, 2011. The board’s next meeting is Jan. 26.
Commissioners also made appointments to several other boards:
– Board of Health, reappointed Rick Parker and Luther Lyerly;
– West Rowan Fire Department Commissioners, Mark Stout, Dr. Laban Sloop, Johnny Moore;
– Parks and Recreation Commission ó Jim Epperson, Troy Elliott, Norma Drake, reappointed Sue Kahn;
– Appointed trustees for the Fire Department Relief Fund Boards for five additional fire departments. They are Cleveland, East Gold Hill, Liberty, Union and Miller’s Ferry.
Last month, commissioners agreed to withhold money from fire departments that had not complied with the state requirement for appointment of trustees. County staff had tried for months to get names from the departments.
Officials said Scotch-Irish, the last department to comply, submitted its names Monday, too late for action Monday night. Those appointments will be made at the next meeting.
In other matters, the board:
– Approved a change order totaling $44,764 for the the jail and Justice Center project. The money will come from the project contingency fund.
County Manager Gary Page noted this is the second change order on the project. The first was a $4,444 reduction.
Page said the major costs involved adding an extra section of guard rail in the jail area as a safety measure for guards. Other changes included adding vision panels to doors for the safety of court personnel.
With the changes, the total contract with H. M. Kern Corporation totals just under $4 million.
– Approved a contract with Kucera International for the aerial mapping of the county, including digital photos and other elements needed for the county’s Geographical Information Systems. A GIS committee and the finance department recommended Kucera at a cost of no more than $78,330.
Adrian Rollans, GIS coordinator, said while the Kucera bid wasn’t the lowest, the company’s image quality was superior to the low bidder, Sanborn, which offered to perform the work for $75,000.
– Approved a series of budget amendments, including receipt of $143,292 in additional Crisis Intervention funds for Social Services. The federal funds will help residents with heating bills.
You may contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254.

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