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Proposed land-use plan goes under the knife

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.com
The Rowan County Planning Board has effectively gutted the proposed land-use plan for west Rowan.
In a straw vote, the board voted 6-1 to take out all development recommendations for Area 1 ó most of the area west of Interstate-85, and north of N.C. 152.
The Land-Use Steering Committee spent months crafting recommendations for the area that would limit major residential subdivisions while protecting farmland and open space.
Edwin Hammil, a Gold Hill farmer and businessman, cast the lone vote against striking the Area 1 recommendations, and continued throughout the two-hour meeting to speak out for farmers.
Planning Board Chairman Terry Hill, Vice Chairman Mac Butner and members Carl Ford, Donna Poteat, Greg Edds and Mike Caskey joined in voting to strike the recommendations.
During discussions at earlier meetings, Butner repeatedly stressed there is plenty of land for residential subdivisions and farmers and no need for stringent restrictions against development.
Hill said the board will need to come up with some recommendations of its own for Area 1, which makes up most of west Rowan.
Seven of the 11-members of the Planning Board moved through most of the 14-pages of recommendations, which they reviewed during two earlier sessions. The board took nearly a dozen straw votes on the various sections, opting to eliminate some entirely while making minor wording changes in others.
The board left recommendations for Area 2 ( areas adjacent to Kannapolis, China Grove, Landis and Salisbury) virtually unchanged, but struck a recommendation to increase the minimum lot size to 2 to 4 acres in Area 3, the area south of N.C. 152.
The board also struck proposals for landscaping, design and signage standards in commercial areas.
While the Land Use Steering Committee worked to discourage residential development in the U.S. 29 and U.S. 70 corridor, the Planning Board agreed with Butner that it could be a perfect fit for those wanting quick access to the interstate with retail nearby.
Butner noted the multitude of mixed-use development at interchanges all along I-85 toward Charlotte.
The board also struck the entire section of economic development recommendations.
“I agree with all of them,” Ford said, adding, “They don’t belong in a land-use plan.”
At the outset of the session, the board focused on sections dealing with cultural and historic resources, transportation and recreation.
Board members appeared to be in agreement to strike all recommendations dealing with cultural and historic resources, as well as recreation, again saying it is outside the scope of a land-use plan.
The board is expected to continue its final review at a session Thursday at 5 p.m. in the Cohen Administration Building, 130 W. Innes St.
The Planning Board will conduct a public hearing and take a final vote on the land-use plan at its Sept. 22 meeting. The board meets at 7 p.m. in the Cohen Administration Building.

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