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Commissioners finalize land use plan for southern Rowan

SALISBURY — The Rowan County commissioners on Monday cast their vision for the future of the southern part of the county when they approved a land use plan.

The plan focuses on an area of the county that will receive water and sewer lines for economic development and an Interstate 85 exit at the site of a relocated Old Beatty Ford Road. The area is southeast of China Grove and surrounds I-85.

By a 4-0 vote, the commissioners approved a plan that suggests types of development for the area. Commissioners Chairman Greg Edds was absent.

All commissioners present said it is important to have a vision for an area that appears to be primed for growth.

“Our job is to make sure that we have a plan that will guide not just us but future commissioners to what we want our county to look like,” said Commissioner Judy Klusman.

Commissioners Vice Chairman Jim Greene said the county can either be overrun by growth from Charlotte or plan for what’s to come.

The land use plan passed suggests light to heavy industrial developments immediately southeast of China Grove, along China Grove Road. The area is already zoned for that purpose, according to the consulting firm McGill Associates.

On a new section of Old Beatty Ford Road between Bostian Road and I-85, the plan suggests a wide range of development — from residential to industrial. It suggests residential development close to Landis and commercial and industrial structures west of I-85.

East of I-85, the plan suggests residential development near Carson High School and an area between the current Old Beatty Ford and Moose roads.

The plan suggests commercial and residential development along a section of the new Old Beatty Ford Road between I-85 and Lentz Road.

Before approving the plan, the commissioners held a public hearing during which one woman said she dislikes the fact that an I-85 exit will be built on a new section of Old Beatty Ford Road. She said the proposed I-85 exit should be on the existing Old Beatty Ford Road.

Greene briefly engaged in a discussion with her during the public-comment period. Greene said the commissioners do not have control over the location of new roads in Rowan County.

In other business at Monday’s meeting:

• Commissioners set Sept. 18 as a date to discuss and hold a public hearing on changes to local ordinances prompted by a state law known as the “brunch bill.”

The “brunch bill” gives local governments the ability to allow alcohol sales before noon on Sundays. Earlier this summer, Salisbury and Kannapolis made changes to their ordinances that allow for earlier alcohol sales at restaurants — 10 a.m. at the earliest.

If the commissioners make a similar change, it would “level the playing field” for restaurants in Rowan County, said Commissioner Craig Pierce.

Pierce, a liaison to the county’s tourism board, used Morgan Ridge Vineyards as an example of a business that’s in Rowan County and cannot sell alcohol before noon on Sunday.

The public hearing on the “brunch bill” changes will occur during the commissioners’ Sept. 18 meeting, at 6 p.m. in the county administration building.

• Commissioners approved the closure of an unopened road called Crosby Street.

The Crosby Street approved for closure is near Grace Church Road and South Main Street. It’s not connected to the Crosby Street in Salisbury.

Teramore Development, which requested the closure, recently acquired three parcels of land on Grace Church Road, according to agenda documents. A representative of Teramore said the company plans to build “commercial retail” on the three tracts it owns.

The road closure passed without opposition.

• Commissioners approved contracts for the renovation of the county airport’s terminal building.

Construction will involve building a new conference room and renovating existing space. The total amount of the contract is $381,222. The proposed contract is with Modern Construction Services LLC — based in Cornelius.

• Commissioners approved a rezoning adjacent to the animal shelter on Julian Road.

The rezoning changes a small tract from rural residential to commercial, business and industrial.

The rezoning will help the county reconfigure one of its recycling convenience centers.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

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