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Third proposal for east Rowan Dollar General gets denied

By Josh Bergeron
josh.bergeron@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — One day, a Dollar General may come to east Rowan, but Monday wasn’t that day.

After hearing from a parade of people opposed to a store on Bringle Ferry Road, Rowan County Commissioners unanimously denied a zoning request. It’s the third recent time a Dollar General request has been denied in east Rowan. Other proposals have been turned down near Morgan Elementary and the Town of Faith.

The latest Dollar General request came from Venture Properties and would have placed the store on 2.21 acres of a 3.98-acre plot of land. Owners of the property had planned to physically move their house in order to accommodate the store at the intersection of Bringle Ferry and Providence Church roads.

The specific request asked for a conditional use rezoning from rural agricultural to neighborhood business. The rezoning would also require a conditional use district.

Ronnie Walsh, of Venture Properties, made arguments that multiple people adjacent to the site support the Dollar General proposal, the traffic count is lower than the maximum, the store wouldn’t significantly add to accidents at the intersection and that the store would create jobs.

Meanwhile, the parade of people who spoke against the proposal made an equally wide-ranging number of arguments. Some people said they simply didn’t “want the city coming out into the county.”

Nancy Wyrick, who spoke during Tuesday’s public hearing, made a case for spot zoning that seemed to resonate with county commissioners.

Maps shown during Tuesday’s meeting showed that the Dollar General site would be a lone commercial use zoning amid a sea of almost entirely residential uses.

One man who spoke presented commissioners with a petition that he said contained names of more than 100 people opposed to the Dollar General.

Once the public hearing portion wrapped up, County Commissioner Craig Pierce almost immediately moved to deny the zoning request. Commissioner Judy Klusman seconded the motion.

For his part, Pierce questioned what might happen to the community near the site if commissioners approved the Dollar General request.

“I don’t really think that having this building is going to increase property values,” he said. “I think it’s going to be detrimental long term … as time moves on, where is the next Dollar General coming? Where is the McDonald’s coming? I mean, once you open that door you can’t shut it.”

Local residents who spoke in favor of the store noted that elderly residents would be able to visit the proposed Dollar General more easy than another store located farther away.

Klusman said she was specifically concerned about the spot zoning issue.

Vice Chairman Jim Greene said all of the county commissioners are “pro business,” but he was also concerned about spot zoning.

Commissioner Mike Caskey said the proposed site “just isn’t the right place” for a Dollar General.

In other business from Monday’s meeting:

• Commissioners approved an incentive agreement for Rockwell company FillTech USA.

As part of the agreement, FillTech USA would build a 40,000-square-foot manufacturing building. It would also add 23 new jobs with an average, starting salary of $21,224, according to a presentation from Rowan Works Economic Development.

In return, Rowan County would provide tax incentives equal to 75 percent of the company’s taxes over three years. FillTech’s construction would result in Rowan County receiving an additional $26,500 per year in new tax revenue. With the approved incentive agreement, however, that amount would be reduced to $6,625 in new revenue for three years.

Construction is projected to wrap up by the end of 2016.

• Commissioners approved a new solar farm located on 5 acres of land on Graham Road.

O2 EMC, which already has two solar farm projects in Rowan, would develop the property. Traditionally, the company has used sheep to control vegetation on its solar farm sites.

• Commissioners awarded an EMS station construction contract to Crescent Construction Co.

The company bid $513,000 to build the EMS station in Rockwell. It included exterior brick veneer as an option worth $18,250. Commissioners approved the contract with the additional option.

Previously, bids for the EMS project came in over budget and county officials had to modify construction plans to lower costs.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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