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Kannapolis City Council passes four ordinances

KANNAPOLIS — Despite two members missing, the Kannapolis City Council on Monday evening passed a slew of ordinances on its way to a closed session.
The regular meeting lasted just over 50 minutes. At the outset, Mayor Darrell Hinnant varied slightly from his usual routine. In addition to the moment of silent prayer, he offered a spoken prayer for Mayor Pro Tem Roger Haas, whose sister died late in the afternoon. Councilman Tom Kincaid was also absent.
Hinnant also announced that a groundbreaking is taking place this morning at Afton Ridge Business Park, during which plans for a new building will be revealed.
“This is one of the best and biggest things to happen in Kannapolis in a long time,” he said.
Read about the event in Wednesday’s Post.
Council quickly got down to business, unanimously passing four ordinances, all with public hearings attached. No one spoke.
Sherry Gordon, Community Development Program administrator, said that the city was set to receive $98,736 in HOME program funds. This is a program under HUD, benefitting low- to moderate-income citizens.
The city will assist up to four homeowners who have been on the waiting list for assistance for more than five years. Examples of slated improvements include replacement windows, handicapped-accessible bathrooms and electrical upgrades, Gordon said.
“We’re not able to help as many families as we’d like,” she added.
Jeff Wells, deputy planning director, talked with council about proposed text amendments to the city’s Unified Development Ordinance. The amendments addressed concerns by council and the Planning Commission about lots smaller than 60 feet; confusion of cluster subdivision requirements; clarity of the cluster development process; and continuity within the ordinance.
“I’m so thankful to actually see this in writing,” Councilman Ryan Dayvault said. “This has been a point of contention since I’ve been on this board.”
“The city of Kannapolis has spent years putting this together,” Hinnant added. “There is no telling how many hours this was been worked on.”
Wilmer Melton, the city’s director of public works, explained the last two ordinances, one which would close an alley way along 17th Street and the other a right-of-way known as Hillside Street between King Avenue an West B Street.
Because there were four Boy Scouts in attendance from Troop 43 at Centergrove Lutheran Church —they were working on government merit badges — Hinnant asked Melton to fully explain the uses of alleys and rights-of-way, which he did.
In his report to council, City Manager Mike Legg gave a synopsis of follow-up actions from the March 6 council retreat, the first of which was “the notion of gamechangers needing to be pursued for some of our downtown challenges.”
Staff, he said, would be vetting these ideas the next several months, and have its analysis complete by late fall or early winter.
He said that “serious consideration” was being given to the idea of a baseball stadium downtown, as well as some of the other ideas suggested in the market study of downtown Kannapolis.
Legg said that time in upcoming meetings would be spent on economic development plans. He said that council “flat ran out of time” to discuss economic development during its one-day retreat.
Legg said that a recent trip to Washington, D.C. to meet with Kannapolis’ legislative delegation went well. Legg, Hinnant, Councilman Darrell Jackson and City Attorney Walter Safrit attended.
“We didn’t bring a bag of money home, but they know what our priorities are,” he said.
In other business:

• The consent agenda included the approval of an ordinance amending the current budget in the amount of $137,000. Of that figure, $25,000 will be used for demolition of the old post office, with the remaining $111,000 to be used for creek clean-up of McLain Road.
•The mayor read a proclamation naming April 5 as Kannapolis Kares Day. The event, which features numerous volunteer opportunities, was created as part of the city’s centennial celebration in 2006.
• The council unanimously approved the appointment of W. Ryan Craft to the Board of Adjustment. He will fill a vacant position previously filled by Colby Meadows, through June 30, 2015.
Freelance writer Susan Shinn lives in Salisbury.

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