Commissioners approve help for Powerhouse Recycling expansion, discuss plans for new Waffle House

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 3, 2020

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Rowan County commissioners on Monday approved an incentive request from Powerhouse Recycling that plans to expand by 100,000 square feet and add 56 full-time jobs by the end of 2023.

It’s expected to amount to a $4.25 million investment.

To expand, Powerhouse Recycling, located at 220 Ryan Patrick Drive, must move a public sewer line in the back of the property, said Scott Shelton, the vice president of the Rowan EDC. Because the expansion will not result in a significant increase in water and sewer usage, the company itself will be responsible for any costs associated with moving the sewer line. The company’s engineering firm estimates the total cost of moving the line to be approximately $135,000, he said.

The Rowan EDC is working with Powerhouse Recycling, Shelton said, to pursue a $110,000 Rural Division Infrastructure Grant through the state to fund the sewer line relocation. Those grants must be requested from the City of Salisbury, which owns the sewer line. A public hearing for that grant request will be held today during the Salisbury City Council meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall, located at 217 South Main St.

Commissioner Craig Pierce asked what the pay for those new jobs would be, and Shelton said the starting pay ranges between $12 and $13 an hour.

Both Powerhouse Recycling and the Rowan Economic Development Commission requested from the county a one-time grant match of $10,000 from its Economic Development funds to support the project. County government would be splitting the remaining costs of the sewage line relocation with the City of Salisbury.

Powerhouse Recycling currently receives a property tax exemption from the state on the company’s equipment and facilities used for recycling and resource recovery. The current exemption is 84.53% of the taxes the company would typically pay, and that percentage is determined by the Rowan County Tax Assessor.

The company has to reapply from the state for the proposed building expansion and new equipment in order to receive the exemption. If accepted, the tax exemption would again be determined by the county tax assessor.

Within the next 10 years, Rowan County would collect $33,172 in net revenue after the property tax abatement is applied and the $10,000 matching grant is awarded, Shelton said.

During the meeting, commissioner chairman Greg Edds questioned whether the board felt $10,000 was worth an investment in 200 or more jobs, which totals both the current and proposed jobs.

No one spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting, and the board ultimately voted to accept the incentive request.

Also at the meeting, a request to approve architectural plans for a new Waffle House on Statesville Boulevard near the West End Plaza sparked concern among the board about the restaurant’s appearance because it will be located at an outparcel of West End Plaza, which the county owns, that sits adjacent to Fidelity Bank.

Commissioners Jim Greene, Judy Klusman, Edds and Pierce specifically expressed concern about the appearance of the restaurant because of money the board plans to invest in the mall for an agricultural center and events space.

“It’s not that we don’t want a Waffle House here. We do,” Pierce said. “We just want the best looking one we can get.”

Drew Joiner, of Waffle House Inc., said the board could expect the new restaurant to look similar to the one located at 936 Jake Alexander Blvd.

Edds told Joiner the board expressed similar concerns when Dollar General opened a new location at 2141 Statesville Blvd. because of its proximity to the West End Plaza. He said back then the board “wanted to step it up.”

Joiner also said the Auto Zone located near the outparcel is a good indicator of how the new Waffle House will look.

The board agreed to table the matter and place it on the consent agenda for the next meeting on March 16.

Before approval of the consent agenda and discussion for other items, Edds reported the total litter amount from 2019, which was just shy of 96,000 pounds. He said the board intends to recite littering figures at each month’s meeting.

He urged citizens not to litter, and said “our community just looks terrible when we see this.”

Other matters at the meeting included:

• An update from Committee B of the Planning Board with revised standards and recommendations for changes for conditional use permits in regard to the six-month solar farm moratorium enacted in December. The committee’s study involved the comparison of adjoining county ordinances, inventory of current sites in the county, material from the UNC School of Government and discussion from different perspectives in the solar industry and community stakeholders.

The board moved to revisit the discussion at the next meeting on March 16, in which a decision to extend the moratorium will be determined if necessary until all standards and concerns from the board have been addressed. If the board extends the moratorium, the updated details will be sent back to the planning board to continue making necessary revisions.

• Approving a 10-day closure of the runway and all taxiways at the Mid-Carolina Regional Airport for an upcoming taxiway rehabilitation project. Monday’s agenda documents say the National Guard as well as helicopters for the Highway Patrol and Novant Health MedFlight will be able to operate.

Closing the taxiway and runway would allow for a reduction in the project costs by approximately 25%, according to Mid-Carolina Airport Aviation Director Valerie Steele. A consecutive 10-day closure would alleviate the need for multiple phases that add up to 35 total days of closure for the project.

• Approval for a request to relocate Piedmont Skydiving from its current location to the west side of the runway at the Mid-Carolina Regional Airport to allow for more space.

• Approval for a request to schedule a quasi-judicial hearing for a permit that would authorize the occupancy of two treehouses and the addition of five more units at the Cherry Treesort property in the China Grove area, amounting to a total of 15 units at the property. Currently, there are a total of five treehouse units on site used for rental purposes, which are considered “cabins” under the Rowan County Zoning Ordinance.

• Approval for a request of $25,000 to repair areas of the RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls that were damaged due to storms. The request is for the board to appropriate the funding to match appropriated funds from Davie County.

• Approval for a request for CommScope to donate items to the Nature Center.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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About Natalie Anderson

Natalie Anderson covers the city of Salisbury, politics and more for the Salisbury Post. She joined the staff in January 2020 after graduating from Louisiana State University, where she was editor of The Reveille newspaper. Email her at natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com or call her at 704-797-4246.

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