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Kannapolis City Council creates commissions to tackle new issues

By Hugh Fisher
For the Salisbury Post
KANNAPOLIS ó Three new commissions created by the Kannapolis City Council give locals a new voice in the environmental, economic and diversity issues facing a growing city.
The council voted unanimously to create an Environmental Stewardship Commission, a Kannapolis Diversity and Newcomers Commission and a Citizens’ Advisory Commission for Community Development.
“These commissions are being created so that the city could be proactive in the changes and the growth that we will experience,” Community Outreach Coordinator Renee Goodnight told council members.
In November, the council voted to have city staff research the creation of these commissions and to recommend appropriate potential members from a pool of applicants and suitable candidates.
“The purpose of the Diversity and Newcomers Commission is to ensure that Kannapolis is a community that welcomes newcomers … promotes understanding among residents from different cultures and backgrounds … while also valuing longtime citizens,” Goodnight said in a report given to council members before the meeting.
The Diversity and Newcomers Commission will have 15 seats, nine of which will be held by representatives of Kannapolis and Cabarrus County educational and community organizations, including the Kannapolis City School System, the Cabarrus Health Alliance, the Kannapolis Police Department and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.
Seven of those seats were filled with people recommended by Goodnight and staff members; two more seats await the recommendation of representatives from Castle & Cooke and Carolinas Medical Center-NorthEast.
Six city residents fill out the commission’s remaining seats. Seven others who applied were not recommended.
“This in no way implies that these citizens would not make good commission members,” Goodnight said in her report.
The Environmental Stewardship Commission, which will replace the current city beautification committee, is comprised of 15 Kannapolis residents chosen from a pool of 20 applicants.
The Community Development commission is composed of nine city residents who will monitor federal housing dollars and redevelopment efforts.
Among other things, they will make recommendations on the use of the federal Community Development Block Grant funds used to improve low-income areas of Kannapolis.
All three committees will make recommendations on pertinent issues and potential legislation to the City Council.
Their members will serve an initial term of one year each, after which the council will determine an appropriate term of service.
“The first meetings will be the last week of may or the first week of June,” Goodnight said. “We are ready to start as soon as they (the members) are ready to start.”
In other business, the council:
– Approved an amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance to create a new zoning class, Campus Development-Residential, to allow a new development in the vicinity of the Afton Ridge shopping center.
– Approved a plan for using the 2008-09 Community Development Block Grant funds, and chose to devote $26,439 of unallocated money to build new sidewalks near Woodrow Wilson Elementary School.
The project will cover installing about 270 feet of sidewalk, curbing and gutter along parts of Walnut Street and Ninth Street.
– Voted to approve an ordinance regulating burglar alarms, requiring building owners to obtain permits for alarm systems and setting a fine system for false alarm calls to the Kannapolis Police Department.
The ordinance, first presented at the April 14 council meeting, was changed to remove a clause requiring a $20 annual fee for alarm permits.
Contact Hugh Fisher at 704-797-4245 or hfisher@salisburypost.com

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