Controversial south Rowan rezoning gets OK from commissioners

Published 12:05 am Wednesday, June 22, 2016

By Josh Bergeron

SALISBURY — Four months after county commissioners first considered the proposal, they approved a controversial rezoning on Monday in southern Rowan.

The rezoning, at the corner of NC 152 and Menius Road, would allow landscaping and erosion control business Knox Contract Seeding to build a new facility on site. The most significant concern among neighbors was whether the business would add unwanted traffic to Menius Road.

Discussion about the rezoning lasted for more than an hour on Monday. Multiple people in favor of the rezoning and a number against the rezoning spoke during a public hearing.

The rezoning case first appeared at a commissioners meeting in March. It was pulled before commissioners were set to deny it. On Monday, commissioners considered a rezoning request that was specific to Knox Contract Seeding. Commissioners’ approval on Monday changed the site to the county’s commercial, business and industrial classification.

Many of the talking points mentioned during Monday’s rezoning were familiar. Rick Pinyan, who lives near the site, said commissioners should consider the the safety of motorists and potential for home values to decline when speaking in opposition to the measure. David Harmon-Esquivel, another nearby resident, said 18-wheeler or semi-trailer trucks wouldn’t be able to turn onto Menius Road without drifting into other lanes of traffic.

Property owner Susan Holshouser countered that the rezoning would result in new business along N.C. 152.

“It’s going to be growing definitely, and that’s what you guys wanted, at least I thought you did,” Holshouser said to commissioners when talking about N.C. 152.

Chad Crainshaw, who owns the business and requested the rezoning, said the most significant source of traffic coming into or out of his business would occur during employees’ morning and evening commute. Semi-trailer trucks wouldn’t be forced to park on the roadside and wouldn’t stick out into the road if parked at his business’ gate, Crainshaw said. The trucks would be able to fully pull into the driveway without sticking out, he said.

Commissioners ultimately sided with Crainshaw by a 4-0 count. Commissioner Craig Pierce was absent. Their vote, however, is specific to Knox Contract Seeding. If another business moves on site, it would have to return to commissioners for another rezoning.

The rezoning also came with a few conditions — that trees be planted outside of a chain-link fence, that Crainshaw researches whether it’s possible to place his business’ driveway closer to N.C. 152, and that lighting be shielded from neighboring houses.

Before a final vote, Monday’s action by county commissioners required several smaller approvals on matters such as statements of reasonableness and consistency. Commissioners Vice Chairman Jim Greene voted no on every smaller item before approving the overall rezoning. The final vote, however, included the conditions.

“I’m not opposed to business being succesful, I just want to protect the community,” Greene said when asked about his votes. “I just wanted to make sure those (conditions) were noted, that they were put in.”

In other business from Monday’s meeting:

• Commissioners voted to give county staff the ability to include city-owned Fibrant in a list of potential internet providers.

If selected, Fibrant would be a secondary provider initially. County government would first solicit bids from various companies.

The item was initially included on commissioners’ consent agenda, but was pulled onto the regular agenda at Pierce’s request.

• Commissioners approved a construction contract that would allow local nonprofit Shelter Guardians to build an intake room at the Rowan County Animal Shelter.

The intake room would measure 439 square feet, according to the contract. It would sit at the rear of the shelter’s building used for dogs. The intake room would be constructed of steel.

Shelter Guardians would pay for the cost of construction and donate the room to the county afterward. It’s the second time an outside group has constructed a new building at the Rowan County Animal Shelter. The first time was a $1 million cat wing.

The contract was approved as part of the consent agenda

• Commissioners approved a rezoning at 177 Swiss Lane — near Enochville — that changed 5.24 acres of land from the manufactured home park designation to rural agricultural.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.