Proposed water source ordinance moving ahead

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Jessie Burchette

Salisbury Post

A proposed ordinance requiring developers to provide a water source for firefighting will get a shakedown cruise in the next few weeks.

“We want all the input we can get. We need it,” said Ed Muire, director of Planning and Development for Rowan County.

The planning staff working with volunteer fire departments is putting together what is believed to be the first such ordinance in the state. The aim is to ensure that there is adequate water to fight fires in rural areas.

Muire told the Rowan Planning and Development Board Monday night that he hopes to meet with the local surveyors group and the Rowan Homes Builders Association and discuss the ordinance.

Muire said he will have cost figures for different tanks and figures related to ponds to make sure developers will realize the cost involved.

“Get some numbers on how much homeowners will save on insurance,” said Vice Chairman Joe Teeter.

Muire said the savings will be significant for fire departments that can drop their insurance rating from 9 to 6.

Muire also pointed out that some developers in the county are already putting in water points without the ordinance. “It’s a matter of saving property and saving lives.”

Chairman Terry Hill agreed to assign Committee A to review the proposed text once it’s completed.

Muire said the ordinance should be ready for a courtesy public hearing in March before the Planning Board before going on to the Board of Commissioners.

In other matters, the board heard information or acted as follows:

* Unanimously supported a rezoning of 4.6 acres in two tracts on Corriher Grange Road from rural agricultural (RA) to commercial-business-industrial (CBI).

The property, owned by Gerald Williams, is adjacent to an existing CBI district that includes the Williams-owned Mid State Machine Company.

Williams plans an automotive and storage garage on the property.

The recommendation now goes to the Board of Commissioners for final action.

* Chairman Terry Hill assigned two projects to Committee B of the Planning Board.

The committee will review the county’s neighborhood business district at the request of the planning staff.

Muire said the NB district is currently more restrictive than the RA district, saying that it needs more flexibility.

Committee B will also take a look at a text amendment proposed by James Rollans that would make it more difficult to locate a broadcast tower in the county.

“It’s kind of deja vu all over again,” Muire said, pointing out that Rollans submitted almost the same text amendment a year ago. It went through the Planning Board process and died after a hearing before the Board of Commissioners.