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Commissioners approve Granite Quarry voluntary annexation

Granite Quarry soon will be getting a little bigger as a result of Rowan County commissioners’ approval Monday of a voluntary annexation request submitted by the town.

About 92 acres along Heilig Road will be folded into Granite Quarry.

“We met with (Granite Quarry) Mayor Bill Feather along with (RowanWorks Executive Director) Robert Van Geons, the chair of the EDC and with board members to discuss an issue with the new road that had been put in for Gildan which actually improved the property adjoining Granite Quarry’s (extraterritorial jurisdiction),” commissioner Craig Pierce said. “There was some discussion about what we could do to enable them to use that for economic development. Now that we have a waterline that is in close proximity to their property ETJ, (it) would allow for the development of 450 lots for home construction as well as create 92 acres of accessible land that was not there in the past because there was no road there.”

Through the discussions, Pierce said Granite Quarry officials would like to be able to develop the property for their economic development operations.

The county could not find a reason to give Granite Quarry the property, Pierce said, so “the easiest thing to do” was strike a compromise through voluntary annexation.

“It would give them the capabilities to access the waterline, which will then give them the pathway to extend that waterline over to those 450 lots and develop a commercial property that would be within the city limits of Granite Quarry,” Pierce said. “This would come at no cost to the county. The county would still own the property, but it would be included in Granite Quarry’s city limits at the time it would be sold.”

Granite Quarry would provide fire and police services as well as water and sewer services in the area, Pierce said.

“We felt this was a win-win for the Town of Granite Quarry as well as the county,” Pierce said. “That is why we asked them to present us with documentation to do voluntary annexation on the 92 acres.”

Rowan County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jim Sides said Granite Quarry has a “substantial amount of money” the town is willing to invest in the development of the property, including the water, sewer, roads and additional infrastructure necessary to assist the county in making the property more valuable.

“(They have) in the neighborhood of about $50,000 a year to put toward developing this property,” Sides said.

Commissioner Chad Mitchell said Granite Quarry came to the county with the proposal.

“They are wanting to have some industrial recruitment opportunities. They saw this as a potential, and they are willing to begin marketing it as a part of a piece of Granite Quarry,” Mitchell said. “I certainly support asking for voluntary annexation to partner with Granite Quarry and that development.”

Commissioners Jon Barber and Mike Caskey said they had concerns about the voluntary annexation, particularly as it relates to the South Salisbury Fire Department.

Although Barber said he is not opposed to voluntary annexation, the commissioner said it is not true to say the move will not cost the taxpayers.

“At some point, it will cost the county taxpayers money who live in the South Salisbury Fire District in terms of the fire taxes they pay,” Barber said. “They will be losing the potential tax base. I don’t have any numbers, and it is very difficult for me to make a decision on this without any numbers at hand.”

Barber said he wanted an additional two weeks to consider the request.

“We’ve gotten some emails, and out of respect to the people who are volunteer firefighters in the district, I would have liked to have had some numbers,” Barber said. “I don’t have them. I don’t want to make a decision without those numbers and knowing the impact it is going to have for the South Salisbury Fire Department.”

Barber voted against approving the voluntary annexation.

Although Caskey also shared concerns about how the firefighters would be affected, he voted to approve the motion along with Pierce, Sides and Mitchell.

“(The firefighters) do have some concerns as to what future potential they have. They are not getting any of the tax dollars off that land now because the county owns it,” Caskey said. “In the future, they may have some.”

Caskey said the volunteer annexation overall will benefit both Granite Quarry and the county.

“It will be something for them to focus on for our county with the jobs it can bring in and the tax base with the county as a whole,” Caskey said. “I support it. I think it’s a good move. I hate that some people at the fire station were on the fence about it, and some were opposed to it totally. In the long run, I think it will be better for the county.”

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