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Kannapolis council will discuss warehouse proposal near reservoir, downtown redevelopment

By Josh Bergeron

KANNAPOLIS — After being delayed once, the city council on Monday is scheduled to consider a controversial warehouse proposal that’s estimated to create nearly 1,000 jobs.

Figures provided by developers put the warehouse at 1.21 million square feet. It would be called the Kannapolis Logistics Park, and sit on 117 acres near Don T. Howell Reservoir and the intersection of Kannapolis Parkway and Davidson Highway. When the Kannapolis City Council was scheduled to hear the rezoning proposal on Nov. 28, developers asked for a delay. The council granted that request.

Now the warehouse proposal is back up for consideration, a public hearing and a vote. Previously, the warehouse proposal attracted opposition from the Cabarrus Watershed Improvement Commission and the Kannapolis Planning and Zoning Commission. Both groups voted against the project.

Environmental concerns have been raised about the project because the adjacent reservoir provides drinking water. Yadkin Riverkeeper Will Scott has said he opposes the Kannapolis Logistics Park proposal because it alters the hydrology of the area and eliminates a chunk of land from the watershed. In the Nov. 14, Watershed Improvement Commission meeting, members cited similar opposition when voting to oppose the project.

Documents prepared by city staff for the council, however, say site design of the warehouse development would mitigate environmental impacts.

There are also concerns about traffic and noise. Developers have agreed to some conditions after a community meeting with local residents. City of Kannapolis staff have recommended approval of the rezoning if the conditions are included. The conditions include reduced lighting after peak afternoon hours, installing landscaping berms to provide a visual buffer and a security fence around the perimeter of the property.

When asked, an attorney for developers of the warehouse project did not respond to questions about the type of jobs, average wage or concerns from neighbors.

If approved, the rezoning would consolidate a number of tracts of land into one classification — campus development conditional zoning. Under a campus development district, a developer could place on a tract of land businesses that include: light manufacturing, offices, warehouses, distribution and limited retails and service uses in a corporate park setting. A conditional zoning adds other specifications.

In other business on Monday’s agenda:

• The council will consider a number of measures related to an ongoing downtown redevelopment project.

One of the first downtown-related items will be to select a streetscape design for West Avenue. The preferred option involves a narrowed road with roundabouts and adjacent parks. West Avenue would be one lane in each direction instead of two. As part of the same item, the council will consider a resolution authorizing the city to take on $500,000 in debt to pay for a part of the streetscape project. The city council’s agenda documents say the $500,000 would cover project design. After bids for construction are received, the cost of streetscaping West Avenue will be updated and likely increased.

Another item includes picking Populous Architects, based in Kansas City, Mo., to oversee design and construction of the city’s downtown baseball stadium. Creech and Associates, based in Charlotte, would work with the Kansas City Firm on the baseball stadium, according to agenda documents. Creech and Associates designed the Kannapolis City Hall and the N.C. Research Campus.

In a related measure, the council will also consider passing a resolution allowing the city to take on $3 million for parts of a new, downtown baseball stadium. The city’s agenda documents state the $3 million is intended to cover the design of the baseball stadium. Once construction bids have been received, the city would update the cost.

The council could also approve the preliminary design of the baseball stadium. In a V pattern, stands for the baseball field would fan out from an apex near West B Street. The outfield wall would sit next to Laureate Way. Shops and restaurants on West Avenue would run along the right side of the stadium.

The city council will also receive an update on a downtown demonstration project, which would be mixed-use complex of buildings that includes apartments, a parking deck, retail and restaurant space.

The City of Kannapolis estimates its downtown revitalization will cost $100 million over the course of 10 to 20 years. That’s in contrast to an estimated $375 million in private investment.

• The council will receive a presentation about the city’s annual audit for the 2015-2016 fiscal year.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.




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