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Commissioners revisit requirements for campgrounds and RV parks

SALISBURY — With the Rowan County commissioners deciding in August to enact a moratorium on construction of campgrounds and RV parks, Planning Director Ed Muire updated the board Monday on proposed amendments to development standards.

Commissioners Chairman Greg Edds said the amendments are meant to raise the standards for camping facilities.

“This is a hard topic to navigate around here because we find real value in campgrounds on High Rock Lake. They do something for Rowan County and our economy,” Edds said. “… We don’t want to add rules in order to compound the costs of people to enjoy our lake. The fact is, the fewer rules we have, the cheaper it is to operate. You don’t always get the good, quality campgrounds that we’re desiring.”

The planning committee, said Muire, proposed five new definitions for campgrounds, dump stations, light-duty trucks, RVs and RV vehicle park.

According to the new definitions, campgrounds are limited to primitive tent camping for recreation or vacation purposes only. RV parks accommodate the set-up, parking, rental or leasing of sites for RVs. They may also provide sites or spaces for  tent camping.

The amendment retains cabins and campgrounds or RV parks as a conditional use in rural agricultural and neighborhood business districts. It changes these uses from permitted to special requirements in commercial, business and industrial districts.

In the draft amendment, the only retroactive requirement for existing sites would be clear labeling with street addresses and numbering, aiding emergency services.

But some commissioners proposed that the Planning Board look at additional retroactive measures. Commissioner Judy Klusman suggested a new requirement that RVs be functional and ready to be relocated be imposed on existing sites — meaning the RVs need to have wheels.

Vice Chairman Jim Greene said this might not be feasible because existing sites with mobile homes permit renters to remove the wheels and install underpinning.

Other commissioners raised concerns about adequate septic systems that are inspected for health standards.

Muire said some existing sites may only be inspected in the event of a problem.

“If we do not require all campsites to have yearly inspections and make sure they have proper septic systems, this is about the health and safety of our campers and those that come to visit,” said Klusman. “I hope the board would consider looking backward and not just forward.”

Muire will return to the Planning Board with suggestions from the commissioners before holding a hearing for input from the public before a final draft is submitted.

The moratorium on new developments will continue until Feb.  6.

In other business at Monday’s meeting:

• The commissioners approved a conditional-use permit for a 2,500-square-foot storage facility off Deer Lake Run.

The request will allow Water’s Edge residents Curtis and Cynthia Spell to construct a boat house on land that is unsuitable for residential development. It will have vinyl siding with a brick foundation, with the Water’s Edge homeowners association approving the design.

• The commissioners accepted a 2.28-acre property donation from Community One/First National Bank & Trust Co. at 100 S. Enochville Ave., Kannapolis

The parcel is the former site of a Community One Bank branch that closed five years ago.

The building and land are being donated to form a satellite sheriff’s station in the southern end of the county.

According to Chief Deputy David Ramsey, the office will require no additional staff members and would be used by officers to meet with witnesses, file reports and take bathroom breaks.

The closest satellite location to Kannapolis is currently in Landis. The county is also considering locating a waste and recycling center on the property.

• The commissioners scheduled public hearings to update the Farmland Preservation Ordinance and Schedule of Values for 2019.

The ordinance changes will streamline the approval process for protected lands by allowing an annual report of requests to the commissioners rather than constant updates.

The Schedule of Values will be used in the appraisal of real property. A copy can be viewed on the Rowan County Tax Administration website or at the department’s office.

Both hearings are scheduled for the board’s meeting at 6 p.m. Nov. 19.

• The commissioners appointed three people to two local boards.

Garret Yelton and Mark Goodnight were named to the Housing Authority. Sean Reid was named to the Zoning Board of Adjustment.

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