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Planning board approves retail complex proposal

The Rowan County Planning Board on Monday forwarded a proposal to the board of commissioners that would allow development of a large tract of land near I-85 into a retail complex.

The planning board voted to recommend approval to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners of a development that would contain spots for three anchor stores, two smaller retail spaces and two stand-alone buildings. The total amount of retail space would initially be 151,500 square feet, with three lots planned for future development, according to Rowan County Planning Department documents.

The proposed retail complex would be located in the Summit Corporate Center, which sits south of I-85 adjacent to Julian Road.

Christopher Berry, of Berry Engineering, estimated construction could begin in December. Retail stores could open in the fall of 2015, Berry said.

After hearing the proposal, the planning board spent little time debating approval.

“I think it’s pretty cut and dry,” board member Steve Poteat said.

The only lengthy comment came from Rowan County Economic Development Director Robert Van Geons who spoke favorably of the project.

“As you may or may not be aware, retail development has been one of our goals for economic development,” Van Geons said. “Currently, our economy has a $272 million per year leak in sales, whereas our citizens are procuring goods outside of our county versus buying them here. Hopefully, you’ll look favorably on this (proposal) for the jobs it will create and the sales tax revenue it will generate.”

The Planning Board approved recommendation of the development, but added several conditions, which included:

• The land and development is subject to Summit Corporate Center covenants.

• Multi-tenant development on the three lots that won’t be immediately developed is subject to review by the Rowan County Board of Commissioners.

• Provide restrictive covenants to address maintenance responsibilities for the private road and drainage network

• Coordinate with the Rowan County Rescue Squad to install traffic signal equipment capable of communicating with emergency personnel equipment used to temporarily interrupt the traffic signal at Julian Road and Summit Park Drive in the event of an emergency.

The proposed development now heads to the Rowan County Board of Commissioners, who meet again on Nov. 3.

Besides the new buildings and stores, one significant change could be the street layout on Julian Road.

The development will add a right turn lane into and out of the proposed complex, according to a memorandum addressed to the planning board from Shane Stewart, a senior planner in the Rowan County Planning Department. Because of the right turn in and right turn out of the complex, a concrete median would be added to Julian Road, which would restrict left turns into the proposed development, Stewart’s memo said. Near the intersection of Summit Park Drive and Julian Road, a U-turn lane and an expanded paved turning radius for U-turns would be added.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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