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Kannapolis OKs agreement with Rowan to extend water-sewer service

KANNAPOLIS — The Kannapolis City Council on Monday authorized City Manager Mike Legg to move forward on an agreement with Rowan County that could bring $200 million to $500 million in investment to the area by extending water and sewer service along the new Old Beatty Ford interchange.

The plan for the extension was a necessary step in bringing a 318-acre private development to the area. The property, known as the High Bridge site, is a mile outside Kannapolis’ current city limits and will be used for residential and commercial purposes.

With the plan for water and sewer in place, Louisiana-based Commercial Properties Realty Trust will oversee the development.

During Monday’s meeting, Legg explained the required Rowan County contributions to the project. Rowan will contribute $1 million in cash and release the city from its $2.7 million in debt obligations on the current baseball stadium site. It will also commit its share of any excess proceeds on the stadium sale to match city incentives or investments made to facilitate private development of the site.

Additionally, the county will support through a resolution Kannapolis’ pursuit of annexing the site, a part of the process Legg described as most critical.

“This entire project is contingent upon that from the city’s perspective,” he said. “It doesn’t make financial sense to do it without the annexation, so we are hoping that that resolution would come soon.”

He said the City Council should pass a similar resolution at its next meeting in December.

Kannapolis’ obligations, according to the agreement, include designing and constructing the utility extensions and assuming all responsibilities and risks; executing a development agreement with Commercial Properties Realty Trust; and negotiating financial clawbacks should the development not meet projected tax value increases.

As part of assuming these risks and in an effort to keep the project expedited, Legg said the city would proceed with engineering up front.

But the developer has agreed to cover 50 percent of that cost, he said.

Though the agreement discussion was not a public hearing, Mayor Darrell Hinnant allowed comments from the floor on the proposal. Only one resident spoke — Rebecca Daugherty, a China Grove resident who lives on Daugherty Road, near the new interchange and proposed development.

Daugherty expressed her displeasure with the impending construction, saying there should be a better use for the land considering its narrow streets and topography.

“To fix this nasty sore that High Bridge LLC has left upon us, the highest and best use for the High Bridge LLC assemblage of land would be to do as Shea Homes has done with Castlebrooke on Lentz Road: large estate lots with wells and septics,” Daugherty said. “Homebuyers are always looking for a home with several acres of land and no city tax and no city water to pay for.”

Daugherty asked that the site be used only for residential or educational purposes, if not a park, trails or learning centers.

“If you all make the right choices, you can make something we can all be proud of,” she said.

But Councilan Roger Haas said that reconsidering the use of the High Bridge site was outside the council’s scope of authority.

“Our portion of this agreement, as I see it, is we received a request to provide … water and sewer,” Haas said. “… All other considerations, … the land or the type of homes, … we don’t have any authority to any of those things. The only authority we have is to provide or not provide water and sewer.”

In other business at Monday’s meeting:

• The council approved the sale of its former Public Works Department on Kansas Street to BPH Property Management for $56,103.20.

• The council approved a voluntary contiguous annexation of a 12.079-acre property at 3901 Shiloh Church Road.

The property will be combined with previously annexed adjoining parcels to accommodate a residential subdivision of about 190 homes.

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