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Board to consider banning smoking in county parks

By Karissa Minn
kminn@salisburypost.com
SALISBURY — Smoking could be banned in all Rowan County parks if county commissioners adopt a requested ordinance Tuesday.
The Rowan County Board of Commissioners will consider the ban on tobacco products at 6 p.m. Tuesday on the second floor of the J. Newton Cohen Sr. Rowan County Administration Building.
County Manager Gary Page wrote to commissioners in a memo that the ordinance was requested by Whitey Harwood.
“Mr. Harwood is an avid user of Dan Nicholas Park and feels the ban on tobacco is justified by the harm these products cause public health,” Page wrote.
A similar ordinance was adopted by the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners in June of 2011. Last week, the Kannapolis City Council approved an ordinance banning tobacco use in its city parks.
In addition, the board will hold a public hearing Tuesday regarding the East Rowan Land Use Study, which was created by the county planning board and staff to mirror the existing land use plan for western Rowan County.
As a guide for future growth and development, the plan would define three major areas of eastern Rowan County. Rural industrial development could be encouraged on major thoroughfares in the southeastern part of the county, called Area One.
Medium density residential development would be encouraged in Area Two, which stretches around the county’s eastern municipalities. Industrial uses would be discouraged, except for existing industrial districts and the Interstate 85 corridor.
To the south, Area Three runs between Old Concord Road and U.S. 52. Farmland preservation would be promoted here, as well as mixed use development within or near several community nodes in the area.
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.
Commercial development would be encouraged at a proposed regional node around the Old Beatty Ford Road area, where local residents have been working to get an Interstate 85 interchange.
For more information about the East Rowan Land Use Study, or to view maps of the study area, visit the Rowan County Planning Department website at www.rowancountync.gov
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners plan to:
• Consider the purchase of 4 acres at Young’s Mountain for $30,000. The land would be used for the location of a 911 communications tower.
• Discuss the structure of the Board of Commissioners.
Commissioner Jon Barber asked for the discussion. Information included with the agenda for the meeting does not give specifics, but Barber has in the past advocated expanding the board from five to seven members.
• Hear the Community Child Protection Team’s annual report for 2011.
• Award a $177,900 contract to Harris Miniature Golf Courses for the design and construction of two miniature golf courses at Dan Nicholas Park.
The existing golf courses are being replaced due to their poor condition and to conform to new Americans with Disabilities Act requirements that become effective March 15.
• Approve an agreement with Sprint Wireless to install a bi-directional amplifier in the sheriff’s office to improve cellphone coverage inside the building.
The device will be installed at no charge if the county agrees to maintain 100 Sprint units for the next three years.
• Adopted policies stating that full-time employees hired after Tuesday will pay 10 percent of their health insurance cost, and that employees hired after Tuesday will not be offered retiree health insurance.
The board agreed to make these two policy changes during the 2011-12 budget process but never formally took action on them.
• Recognize the Rowan Public Library for receipt of awards for outstanding adult programming and outstanding children’s programming from the State Library of North Carolina.
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.
Twitter: twitter.com/postcopolitics
Facebook: facebook.com/ Karissa.SalisburyPost

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