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Darts and Laurels: Kannapolis makes right call

Laurel to the Kannapolis City Council for voting Monday night to rezone a piece of property to allow for a 278-unit housing development and pave the way for a local orphanage to fund itself in perpetuity.

After developers had altered their plans to more closely align with neighbors’ desires, the vote was an example of ensuring smart growth.

The rezoning allows the Church of God Children’s Home to sell a 72-acre tract of land to a Charlotte-based developer and use proceeds from the sale to create an endowment that would fund the orphanage forever.

Developers, meanwhile, plan to build a mixture of townhomes and single-family units, with an average sale price of $250,000.

The development will bring new residents to town and new traffic to a two-lane road on which there is a large neighborhood of single-family homes, two apartment complexes and a park. The development would be within shouting distance of I-85 and a short drive from an interstate exit.

But one topic of debate painted a stark contrast with a trend in Rowan County. Cabarrus County School Board Member Barry Shoemaker said the development would add students to a school system that’s already bursting at the seams.

Cabarrus County Schools simply can’t build schools fast enough.

That’s compared to Rowan County, where there are neighborhood developments being built (though not as many as Cabarrus County) but declining public school enrollment. The Rowan-Salisbury School Board has wrestled publicly with how to address thousands of empty seats in local schools.

If the Kannapolis development had been  proposed in Rowan County, locals might raise the same concerns about a new housing development, including traffic safety, but Rowan-Salisbury Schools would welcome new children with open arms.

Laurel to the Salisbury Kiwanis Club for its generous $100,000 donation to Bell Tower Green Park.

The club used proceeds from the 2015 sale of its former Kiwanis Camp property to make the donation, which will help build a playground.

With $1.6 million left until Bell Tower Green Park’s fundraising effort ends, we encourage other civic clubs in Salisbury and Rowan County to make their own donations.

The park will be a place our entire community, regardless of the demographics that too often divide us, can enjoy. That’s a cause to which we should all be willing to donate.

Laurel to the city of Salisbury for working with Hotwire Communications to ensure its rent payments can be made on time.

Hotwire, which is leasing the city’s fiber-optic network, has been consistently late on payments, with the most recent rent payment being more than a month late.

The city could choose to penalize Hotwire for the late payments, but a better route is to address any parts of its contract the company cannot meet. City Manager Lane Bailey said that includes an unreasonable 15-day time period for rent payments.

Penalizing Hotwire might only start a path back to a city-owned and -operated network. If Fibrant is the example, it’s best to leave management of the city’s network to the private sector.

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