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Granite Quarry will pursue bicycle and pedestrian planning grant

GRANITE QUARRY — Thinking the town needs to do a better job tying together parks and neighborhoods, the Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen decided Monday night to apply for a bicycle and pedestrian planning grant.

The grants are available from the N.C. Department of Transportation. Based on its size, Granite Quarry would be eligible for a grant as much as $35,000, of which the town would be responsible for 10%, or $3,500.

The deadline for applying for a 2019 grant is Aug. 2, and it also must be endorsed by the Cabarrus-Rowan Metropolitan Planning Organization.

Town Planner Steve Blount, who outlined the grant details to aldermen Monday night, emphasized it would be “a planning grant, not a doing grant.”

It would go toward paying for a professionally researched, comprehensive plan for the town that also would be important in applying for future implementation grants.

“With a professional leading the charge for this, we probably could come up with something good for the town,” Blount said.

He added he was “sort of guessing,” but the big needs in pedestrian and bicycle projects would look foremost at connecting Granite Quarry’s parks and its residential areas.

Mayor Bill Feather heard about the planning grant’s availability at an MPO meeting and brought it to Blount’s attention.

Alderman John Linker said Monday night many of Granite Quarry’s sidewalks do not connect, leaving large gaps throughout town.

Since 2004, the state DOT has awarded approximately $5.5 million worth of these bicycle and pedestrian planning grants to more than 200 municipalities and three counties.

DOT will announce which governments receive the grants in November.

In another matter Monday, Blount told the board where an update of the town’s comprehensive land-use plan stands. The land-use plan was written 19 years ago, with no updates since.

“The biggest volume of the plan is the original plan,” Blount said.

He and the Planning Board are making corrections, updates and outlining new goals, reflected by 26 different policies.

Blount asked the aldermen to consider having a joint meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday with the Planning Board to go over the update. The aldermen agreed to that meeting.

Other steps in the process will include a public input session, more revisions based on the community and boards’ input, a public hearing and a final adoption by the town board.

Blount stressed to the board that the policies of the comprehensive land use plan are important.

When the Planning Board and Board of Aldermen make land-use decisions and cite the policies guiding their actions, it provides good protection in the courts should any matter go to litigation, Blount said.

The policies also lead the town in the directions it wants to go for the future, and Blount said he hopes the Planning Board and aldermen have good discussions on that when they meet Monday night.

“I think this is an excellent presentation,” Alderman Kim Cress said, adding he has made notes of nine items about the plan he wanted to discuss with Blount.

Linker also has met independently with Blount to offer some observations.

In other action from Monday night, the aldermen:

• Learned that the entrance sign and a turn lane are almost complete for Village at Granite, a proposed 250-home subdivision off Faith Road.

• Accepted the maintenance responsibilities from the state DOT for Veronica Lane and a remaining portion of Joe Lewis Street.

• Approved a budget amendment to provide $2,000 for repairing the hydraulics on the Maintenance Department’s John Deere 301 tractor.

• Approved a budget amendment of $4,500 from the maintenance contingency fund to cover full-time and part-time salaries in the Maintenance Department.

• Approved a budget amendment from the board contingency fund to provide $3,000 for part-time salaries in the Fire Department.

• Approved a budget amendment transferring $1,400 from the maintenance contingency fund to pay Waste Management for trash containers for “Granite Quarry Dumpster Days.”

• Agreed to a one-year, $350 contract with Chamberlain Exterminators.

Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.

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