Eastern Rowan residents can talk about land use Thursday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 21, 2011

By Karissa Minn
SALISBURY — There’s still time for eastern Rowan County residents to get involved in the county’s plan to guide growth and development there.
The Rowan County Planning Board is inviting public input on draft recommendations for a land use plan for areas east of Interstate 85.
John Morgan, who owns land near High Rock Lake, stopped by East Rowan High School on Tuesday for one of three workshops on the plan.
“I know this is going to affect me, but I don’t know exactly how,” Morgan said. “I didn’t want something to happen and then I say, ‘How did that happen?’ ”
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.
The remaining two workshops will be held from 4-7 p.m. Thursday at the North Rowan High School cafeteria and 4-7 p.m. Tuesday at the Carson High School cafeteria.
There is no formal presentation at the workshops. Committee members and planning staff will be available for questions and comments about the research and study process.
Morgan said he hopes development will lean more toward services and retail businesses rather than industries. In their recommendations, the county planning board and staff agree with him.
Industrial growth would be discouraged in the area around municipalities and most of High Rock Lake, while smaller commercial development would be invited.
To the south, between Old Concord Road and U.S. 52, both commercial and residential development would be encouraged.
In the southeastern corner of the county, the proposed recommendations would invite residential and rural industrial development.
George and Becky Orndorff, who live in Gold Hill, said they hope agriculture will remain the area’s major industry.
“One of the reasons we moved to this area was the rural nature of it, and we’d hate to see that be lost,” George Orndorff said.
The couple lives at Gold Hill Airpark, a private airport. They said they came to the workshop Tuesday because they wanted to know how the land use plan would affect it.
“We’re interested in what they would do with the land around the airport, and we’re trying to protect our right to fly,” Becky Orndorff said.
Not everyone agrees on how to handle future growth. Another Gold Hill resident, Randall Smith, wants to enhance business development by widening U.S. 52.
Like the Orndoffs, Granite Quarry resident John Carlton is concerned about losing the rural character of his area of the county.
But Smith and Carlton both agreed Tuesday that the proposed plan “looks reasonable.”
The planning board will discuss the public’s comments and suggestions and may include them in the land use plan. It will give a final recommendation to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners after a public hearing.
Commissioner Carl Ford said having a land use plan for eastern Rowan would speed up funding for a proposed Interstate 85 interchange at Old Beatty Ford Road.
It would be similar to the county’s land use plan for areas west of the interstate, which was approved in 2009, said County Planning Director Ed Muire.
For more information, visit the Rowan County Planning Department website at www.rowancountync.gov. To view more maps, go to


 Submit comments at LUStudy.comments@rowancountync.gov or call 704-216-8588.