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County seeks opinions on eastern growth

By Karissa Minn
kminn@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — Starting Tuesday, residents of eastern Rowan County are invited to offer opinions, comments and suggestions for a plan that would guide how the land around them is used.
Committee A of the Rowan County Planning Board has developed draft recommendations for a land use plan for areas east of Interstate 85.
The public can review recommendations during the following three workshops held this week and next week:
• East Rowan High School cafeteria,
4-7 p.m. Tuesday.
• North Rowan High School cafeteria,
4-7 p.m. Thursday.
• Carson High School cafeteria,
4-7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27.
No formal presentation will be made at the workshops. Committee members and planning staff will be available for questions and comments about the research and study process.
The planning board will discuss the public’s comments and suggestions and may include them in the land use plan. The planning board will give a final recommendation to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners after a public hearing.
County commissioners asked for the study in May, after noting that the western part of the county has had a plan in place for more than four years.
County Planning Director Ed Muire said planning staff and committee members have been looking at how to best guide future growth and development, while protecting natural resources and private property rights.
“I think by and large, most of the material in there recognizes that the county wants to encourage growth in all areas, whether residential, commercial or industrial,” Muire said.
He said this plan would be similar to the county’s land use plan for areas west of Interstate 85, which was approved in 2009.
“The process and recommendations up until this point have been very similar to what was done in the western area, although it’s been a much abbreviated process,” Muire said. “The real differences are High Rock Lake — that’s a significant feature that the west doesn’t have — and … a regional node that’s being proposed around the Old Beatty Ford Road area.”
Local residents have been working to get a new I-85 interchange at that road. Commercial development would be encouraged in a regional node, as well a mixed-use developments that incorporate small businesses, retail and housing.
Smaller, community nodes are proposed at the intersection of Old Beatty Ford and Concord roads, the intersection of Old Beatty Ford and Organ Church roads, Sifford’s (the intersection of Faith Road and East N.C. 152), Bostian Heights, Gold Hill village, Liberty and Tamarac.
Commercial uses that “support the existing population’s need for retail goods and services” would be encouraged in these areas.
Industrial and commercial corridors are recommended in areas around I-85 and U.S. 29, as well as an area on U.S. 52 near Gold Hill. The corridor between Salisbury and China Grove would be an appropriate location for light and advanced manufacturing, distribution and motorsports industries, the draft recommendations say.
Recommended for rural areas are promotion of the voluntary agricultural district program and encouragement of “agri-business and natural resource related industries.”
The plan would define three major areas of eastern Rowan County.
In the southeastern part of the county, Area One includes Morgan Township and the eastern portion of Providence Township.
According to plan recommendations, rural industrial development could be encouraged on major thoroughfares in this area.
Area Two stretches around the municipalities of Salisbury, East Spencer, Spencer, Granite Quarry, China Grove, Landis, Kannapolis, Faith and Rockwell.
Medium density residential development would be encouraged in this area. Industrial uses would be discouraged, except for existing industrial districts and the I-85 corridor.
To the south, Area Three runs between Old Concord Road and U.S. 52. Farmland preservation would be encouraged here, as well as mixed use development within or near commercial nodes in the area.
The draft recommendations also call for a small area study of the High Rock Lake area “to determine the appropriate retail and service businesses for the increasing population and recreation opportunities afforded by the lake.”
For more information, visit the Rowan County Planning Department website at www.rowancountync.gov, submit comments at LUStudy.comments@rowancountync.gov or call 704-216-8588.

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