Study suggests lot sizes should increase

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Jessie Burchette
Buying a new home in much of western Rowan County could become much more expensive under recommendations of a land use study.
The study recommends that the minimum lot size in most of west Rowan be increased to between 2 and 4 acres.
Currently, lot sizes of one-half and 1 acre are allowed.
The west Rowan land use study, which has thus far drawn less interest than Duke football, will go before the Rowan County Planning Board Monday night.
Drawn up by a committee dominated by farmers and farm-related interests, the plan will go before a board comprised of businessmen and businesswomen, including developers and real estate agents.
The interest level is likely to increase as the plan moves through work sessions and a public hearing before moving on to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners for final action.
Planning Board members received copies of the final draft earlier this month and will begin the review Monday.
Chris Cohen, chairman of the West Rowan Land Use Steering Committee, had been scheduled to make the presentation. Cohen opted out after commissioners voted last Monday to disband the steering committee.
County planners and Jason Epley of Benchmark will present the study, which runs 91 pages, including the appendix that includes assorted comments and results of surveys filled out at two workshops.
“There’s no way we’ll vote Monday night,” Terry Hill, chairman of the Planning Board said. He predicts the vote will come in September or October, once the board has had time to digest the study.
Hill said he expects to schedule a couple of special meetings in September. “We plan to go through it thoroughly,”Hill said.
Two members of the Planning Board are already familiar with the study and the decision-making process that created it. Melanie Earle served on the Steering Committee and Carl Ford, another Planning Board member, attended most of the Steering Committee meetings as a spectator.
In a memo to the Planning Board, Planning Director Ed Muire said the board’s role will be to review and evaluate the plan and make a recommendation to approve, disapprove or approve with modifications to the documents.
Muire noted that the board’s role will not be to rewrite the recommendations.
Muire also noted that the board can send forward its reasons for supporting or denying specific recommendations or sections of the plan.
The tentative date for the public hearing is Sept. 22.
To view a copy of the study visit the county Web site at
The Rowan County Planning Board meets at 7 p.m. Monday in the Cohen Administrative Offices, 130 W. Innes St.