• 59°

Commissioners green light additional houses at Cherry Treesort in China Grove

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Board of Commissioners on Monday night cleared the way for several new structures to be built at the Cherry Treesort in China Grove.

Following a quasi-judicial hearing, commissioners unanimously approved a request from Trent Cherry for an amendment to a conditional use permit issued in 2017. The amendment will allow Cherry to construct an additional seven tree houses on the southern end of his roughly 26-acre property. 

This is the second time that Cherry, who started the ecotourism resort in 2016, has sought approval from commissioners to construct structures on the property. In addition to five existing treehouses, Cherry recently built two hobbit-style homes that are primarily underground.

In accordance with a request from Rowan County Fire Marshal Deborah Horne, Cherry will finish construction of a looped road around the homes that would allow firetrucks to navigate the property with ease. Cherry also agreed to buffering requirements to shield the new tree houses from neighbors within 200 feet.

The amendment to Cherry’s permit wasn’t approved without opposition from a neighbor.

Donna Hampton, who lives nearby on Beaver Road, cited issues with noise and the appearance of the property while expressing her opposition to the addition of more houses.

Hampton said that there have been multiple occasions in which loud noises from the property have disturbed her late at night. The latest example, she said, happened on Saturday night and included loud shouting extending until almost midnight. Hampton said she considered calling law enforcement about the shouting, but instead waited for it to subside. Next time might be different, she said.

“They’re (Cherry’s) people, they’re his clients and I don’t feel like that’s my responsibility,” Hampton said.

Hampton also said there was an instance several months ago in which a neighbor of hers had a stray puppy wander from the Cherry Treesort to her home. Cherry said he has a no-pet policy and that he told Hampton to call him if there is noise late into the night. Cherry said he hasn’t received any such calls.

Since there have been complaints from neighbors about noise and safety at the Cherry Treesort in the past, the Planning Department obtained a copy of all 911 calls made to the property over the last 13 months. Only two calls were made: one due to an allergic reaction and the other due to a stalking incident. Cherry said he wasn’t aware of the stalking incident. The allergic reaction call, he said, was made because someone had an allergic reaction to wood in the treehouse.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Greg Edds said he thinks the periodical noise is simply living and nothing out of the ordinary.

Commissioner Craig Pierce said that the county has an amplified noise ordinance and encouraged Hampton to call law enforcement if she has any issues with the property.

“If it gets to be too much, it gives us grounds to do something different,” Pierce said.

In other meeting business:

• The Board of Commissioners approved a request from NorthPoint Development to rezone a 44.85-acre parcel of land located at the 400 block of Webb Road from 85-ED-2 to commercial, business and industrial.

The land is owned by Sharon Fesperman and Willis Myers. NorthPoint has plans to build a roughly 650,000-square-foot speculative industrial building on the property that will house a tenant that’s not yet been named. NorthPoint constructed the 609,301-square-foot Chewy distribution center in 2020.

The rezoning request already passed the planning board unanimously.

NorthPoint Project Manager Michael Johnston attended the meeting and said his company was looking forward to completing another project in Rowan County. Edds said the county is still thankful to the company for helping bring Chewy and encouraged Johnston to reach out if his company needed anything to make this project go well.

Bill Godair, a pastor at nearby Cornerstone Church, said during the meeting he was excited about NorthPoint’s plans for the land across from his church.

• Mike Tanck, a representative from Charter Communications, provided commissioners with an update regarding the company’s recent award of Federal Rural Digital Opportunity Funds for underserved areas for broadband in Rowan County.

The company will be investing $5 billion nationally to bring broadband to underserved areas identified by census tracts, including many areas of North Carolina. The company will receive $1.2 billion from the federal government to offset the program. The program is in its early stages and will likely take up to six years to come to fruition. Edds said he doesn’t want the county to be “shuffled to the back” of the company’s priority list for internet expansion in North Carolina and said the county was committed to cooperating with Charter Communications.

• Commissioners approved a pending settlement agreement that will have the county pay $5,500 to Foley Home Sales, LLC regarding a complaint from the company about an issue involving the failure of, and the subsequent repair of, a septic system. The state of North Carolina will also pay $5,500 in the settlement.

• Commissioners scheduled a budget work session for 10 a.m. on May 6. In addition to regular budget planning, commissioners will likely discuss the funding that the county will receive from the American Rescue Plan.

• Commissioners gave their blessing for the county to form a memorandum of understanding with the VA’s Vet Center program for the program to locate a Community Access Point in Rowan County. The Vet Center program works to give veterans a place to meet for therapy while breaking the stigma that can be associated with trips to the hospital.

• During the litter report, commissioners learned that the Department of Environmental Management removed 37.77 tons of litter and debris from Rowan County roadsides, 330 improperly discarded tires and 131 syringes in the first quarter of 2021.

Comments

Education

A.L. Brown celebrates seniors with signing day

Business

Rebounding, but not recovered: Rowan County tourism begins challenging path toward normalcy

High School

High school baseball: Padgett leads Mustangs; 100th win for West coach Graham

Coronavirus

RSS superintendent, Board of Health discuss strategies for increasing student vaccination rates

Nation/World

Gas stations report shortages as pipeline shutdown drags on

News

Lawyers: Black man didn’t drive into deputies who shot him

Nation/World

Liz Cheney says Trump and GOP backers threaten democracy

Coronavirus

Rowan Health Department clarifies county’s COVID-19 death total is 301

Landis

Landis approves new land development ordinance, zoning map

Landis

Landis approves body camera, stun gun purchase for public safety officers

Crime

One charged, another dead on sheriff’s most wanted list

Crime

No injuries after car shot eight times on Old Concord Road

Education

RSS talks first steps for new federal relief totaling $66 million

China Grove

Gary’s Barbecue staff, customers look back at 50 years

News

Salisbury Lions Club names Person of the Year, Lion of the Year at 78th annual banquet

Education

Student COVID-19 numbers show first decline since plan A

High School

High school golf: Fowler competes in state tournament

News

Amazon announces new distribution center for North Carolina

News

House passes bill to bar Cooper from mandating COVID shot

Coronavirus

Rowan County sees death 302 from COVID-19; Health Department to host final mass vaccine clinic

Ask Us

Ask Us: What happened to work on South Fulton Street home?

Crime

Blotter: Woman says she was shot in hand on Lincolnton Road

Crime

Rowan Sheriff’s Office charges Salisbury man with operating illegal gambling business

Crime

Blotter: Rockwell man arrested on felony drug, breaking and entering charges