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Land-use plan encourages development types for specific areas of Rowan County

By Jessie Burchette
Salisbury Post
The bulk of the land-use plan being developed for Rowan County focuses on recommendations for residential, commercial and industrial development.
It also includes recommendations related to economic development, transportation and agricultural usages.
And the plan is friendly to private property rights. County Planning Director Ed Muire has said repeatedly that the main study plan contains no provisions that would prevent a landowner from selling his land for development.
The plan does encourage types of developments for specific areas ó all aimed at maintaining as much of the county’s rural character as possible.
Over the next month, the county will hold a second round of public hearings. The public will be invited to review and comment on different sections and features of the plan.
One major element of the plan calls for beefing up the county Planning Department’s Technical Review Committee for major subdivisions, adding representatives of the Rowan-Salisbury School System and other agencies as needed.
Also, all applicants or developers of major subdivisions would be required to meet with planning staff and the Rowan County Planning Board before submitting a sketch plan.
Planners have divided west Rowan into three areas, with suggestions for development tied to each area.
The areas and recommendations are:
– Area 1, north of U.S. 70 ó Limit approval of traditional major subdivision development in this area, promote conservation subdivisions; use adequate buffering between developments and agricultural uses; discourage minor subdivisions along thoroughfares. Planners note that continuous strip development along thoroughfares hides the rural character of the area.
– Area 2, locations adjacent to Salisbury, China Grove and Landis ó Encourage medium-density residential development; promote mixed-use development.
– Area 3, south of U.S. 70 ó Encourage conservation subdivision design for all proposed subdivision developments greater than 20 acres. Among the recommendations is increasing the minimum lot size to between 2 and 4 acres.
During a meeting of the Land Use Steering Committee last week, some members questioned a new version of the map included in the plan. Planners said the new map better reflects where building is now occurring.
Committee member James Rollans took exception to a greatly reduced Area 1, while Area 2 and Area 3 were expanded.
Rollans, a Mount Ulla farmer, has been a leader in efforts to preserve farmland and has resisted all efforts to label U.S. 70 as an industrial corridor.
While reviewing the recommendations for commercial and industrial corridors, the committee made only one major change.
Planners had recommended that heavy-impact land uses be discouraged in the the Interstate 85-U.S. 29 corridor.
Committee member Jeff Morris said heavy-impact uses should be encouraged in that area ó not discouraged.
Heavy-impact uses include such industries as asphalt plants, paper mills and ammunition manufacturing.
Morris said the Salisbury-Rowan Economic Development Commission should be marketing the property for such businesses.
Planners said the EDC, in fact, had recommended commercial and mixed-use development for the area.
Rowan County owns hundreds of acres in the corridor as part of the extended Summit Corporate Center and Rowan County Airport properties.
Despite the advice of planners, the committee voted to change the U.S. 29 corridor recommendation to encourage heavy-impact industry.
No representative of the area attended the meeting.
Paula Holte, the China Grove Township representative, has missed most recent meetings.
For a copy of the land-use plan or strategic appendix, contact the Rowan County Planning and Development Department at 704-216-8588.
Contact Jessie Burchette at 704-797-4254 or jburchette@ salisburypost.com.

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