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West Rowan land-use plan ready for review

By Jessie Burchette
jburchette@salisburypost.com
Lines and colors on a map of western Rowan sparked the most acrimony in the year-long effort to prepare a land-use study.
Members of the West Rowan Land Use Steering Committee clashed with the county planning staff and Benchmark, the Kannapolis-based planning consultants hired by the county to guide the project.
The final map adopted in the last meeting of the committee would limit traditional major subdivisions in most of western Rowan ó most of the area north of N.C. 152 to the Davie County line.
That includes the area attracting development from Mooresville, including some high-end gated developments.
A traditional subdivision is any subdivision with eight or more lots and currently allowed in rural agricultural zoning anywhere in the county.
Committee members James Rollans and Richard “Jimbo” Shaver repeatedly berated planners for making changes in a map supplied by Benchmark, creating three areas of development.
A Benchmark employee said they basically used township lines to create the original map. County planners took a look at the Benchmark map and revised it.
Planning Director Ed Muire and Senior Planner Shane Stewart said the revised map reflected conditions on the ground ó places where development is already occurring.
They pointed out repeatedly that township lines have little to do with where development occurs.
Rollans and Shaver brought the map issue up at several meetings, accusing planners of changing the map on instructions from some unnamed person.
After a series of heated exchanges with planners, Muire and Stewart told Rollans and Shaver to adopt whatever map they wanted.
And they pointed out repeatedly that the lines on the map and the color scheme ultimately doesn’t control anything.
While the committee struggled with the division between Area 1 and Area 3, planners repeatedly pointed out that there is virtually no difference in the recommendations for the two areas.
Area 3 does include a provision to promote commercial and mixed use development near major intersections designated commercial nodes.
Also, in Area 1, the study discourages minor subdivisions and strip residential development along roads.
The map divides west Rowan into three areas, each tied to development recommendations ó the meat of the land use proposals.
The final map and recommendations call for limiting development in Area 1 and Area 3 to conservation subdivisions where housing would be clustered away from road frontage, leaving areas that could be used for farming, such as hayfields ó a way to preserve the rural character.
The committee is recommending increased lot sizes in Area 3, a small area south of N.C. 152 in the Atwell and Enochville area, to 2 to 4 acres.
The plan would limit major subdivisions to Area 2, a wide ribbon running from Landis to the Yadkin River ó the area adjacent to municipalities and most likely to have municipal water and sewer. Under the proposal, the traditional half-acre or less lots would be allowed in Area 2.

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