Rowan approves lease for National Guard

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 17, 2018

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Board of Commissioners on Monday approved a request from the North Carolina National Guard for a large property lease at Mid-Carolina Regional Airport.

The current Army Aviation Support Facility in Rowan County was designed for aircraft smaller than the current 11 Blackhawk UH60’s now stationed there.

The commissioners approved the lease of a large area behind and on the side the guard’s current facility. The guard will build a 75,000 square foot hangar on this space.

The hangar will house current Blackhawks and support maintenance and operations.

The commissioners also considered a purchase request from the Rowan Economic Development Commission and a letter from board Chairman Greg Edds offering support for a potential development called “Project Pure.”

Edds also sought to add a request to subordinate existing county seller financing debt to new construction debt of Easter Creek Rowan LLC from Pinnacle Bank.

Commissioner Craig Pierce instead requested the item move to the working agenda.

“I’ve seen the documentation of the appraisal of the building,” said Pierce. “I have not seen any type of documentation that would give me comfort that if something would happen that that building would be foreclosed on that the county would be reimbursed the value of the property.”

Easter Creek’s initial debt to the county was $538,710 to be forgiven by the county in one-third increments upon certain performance thresholds. The first threshold having been met, the remaining debt is $355,500.

After much discussion, the commissioners moved to give the county attorney and county manager the authority to exercise the requested subordination on two conditions.

Commissioners required a certified appraisal supporting site equity in excess of the new loan amount, thereby covering the remaining principal of the county loan.

They also required that the manager and attorney provide each commissioner a copy of the appraisal.

“We have been known for some time as not being very business friendly,” said Edds. “It’s not about getting this done today; it’s about showing the business world that Rowan County is willing to be accommodating and financially responsible at one time.”

The motion carried by a vote of 4-1, with Pierce the only commissioner voting no.

In other business from Tuesday’s meeting:

• The board approved changes to the zoning and subdivision ordinance, adding manufacturing household cooking equipment to the table for use by neighborhood businesses.

The board approved the acceptance of paper copy plats (black lines on white paper), electronic plats and plats on mylar for subdivisions of land.

Changes to the table of uses were sought in November after a request to rezone a rural agricultural parcel to commercial, business and industrial with a conditional district.

The land owner, Travis Cauble, planned to build a business to manufacture and sell barbecue smokers. He requested neighborhood business zoning but was denied because the table of uses did not permit this construction

Cauble’s rezoning was tabled at November’s meeting until changes could be made to the zoning ordinance as commissioners feared starting a trend of spot zoning. His original request for a neighborhood business zoning was approved Tuesday after the zoning and subdivision ordinance changes.

• The board approved offering an additional $100,000 grant to “Project Wheel,” which could bring 94 new jobs and $11 million in investment to county.

Scott Shelton of the Economic Development Commission said 79 of these jobs would be entry-level assembly positions with a starting wage of $13 an hour.

 

• The board approved the construction of three water and sewer utility casings along Interstate 85.

Initial construction will cost $891,768.75.

Much discussion was given to the infrastructure change and the potential that such changes may lead to business investment. A large employer locating here could allow for grants to assist with water line construction.

• The Department of Public Health was given an award for 100 years of service.

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