Commissioners to schedule public hearing for Reaper’s Realm rezoning application

Published 12:05 am Sunday, August 1, 2021

SALISBURY — The Rowan County of Board of Commissioners will convene for its first August meeting on Monday afternoon.

The meeting will be held at 3 p.m. in the J. Newton Cohen Sr. Room on the second floor of the Rowan County Administration Building. The meeting will be broadcasted online at The password is 080221. The meeting can be joined by phone by dialing 602-753-0140, 720-928-9299, 213-338-8477.

Commissioners will consider scheduling a public hearing regarding a rezoning request from Reaper’s Realm Haunted House for the board’s second meeting of the month on Aug. 16.

Tony Jenkins, who owns and operates the haunt with his family, is seeking to rezone a portion of his property from rural agricultural to commercial, business and industrial. The rezoning would allow him to continue operating the seasonal attraction. Previously, Reaper’s Realm was operated under temporary use permits. However, after a shooting occurred at the site on Sept. 26,  commissioners advised Jenkins to seek rezoning of the property.

Jenkins and his agent Al Benshoff presented the rezoning application to the Rowan County Planning Board last week. Included in the application was the proposed creation of a new road to provide both an entrance and exit to the haunt, as well as other operational changes like improved security and buffering to separate the property from adjoining landowners.

After hearing from a number of nearby residents who opposed the rezoning request, the Rowan County Planning Board denied the application. The planning board is only an advisory committee, so the ultimate decision on the matter will be made by the board of commissioners.

Also on the meeting agenda:

• With the Cheerwine Festival approaching on Sept. 18, commissioners will consider allowing the city of Salisbury to utilize West End Plaza’s for satellite parking from 6 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 17, through midnight on Saturday, Sept. 18. Festival goers will be transported from West End Plaza to downtown Salisbury for the celebration via public transportation.

In addition to the West End Plaza parking lot, the city has requested the use of two county-owned parking lots downtown for the Cheerwine Festival. The parking lots are located behind the Register of Deeds/Tax Office and the lot on the corner of North Main and Kerr Street. Commissioners will consider that request as well.

• In an effort to further develop RiverPark at Cooleemee Falls, known locally as “The Bullhole,” the park is requesting $15,967 from the county to build a gatehouse at the entrance of the property. The park’s gate is currently managed with a popup tent, a table and chairs. The park recently hired full-time staff members and is hoping the gatehouse will “provide a professional appearance for the approach to the park as well as improved cash management and reduced risk for park staff.” Grubb Construction Company offered to donate the labor and materials for the gatehouse, which has reduced the overall cost of the project.

• Commissioners will consider approving the extension of Rowan Museum’s lease at West End Plaza. The museum, which is headquartered in downtown Salisbury, has rented out approximately 5,320 square feet of space at the former mall since 2016, paying a minimum rent of $1 per year. The museum hosts periodic Museum Store Sales at West End Plaza, where it sells gently used fabrics, furniture and more. The next sale is on Aug. 14 from 9 a.m.- 3 p.m.

• The board will consider authorizing County Manager Aaron Church to sign five Medicaid-managed care partners contracts in order for Rowan County to receive ambulance reimbursements through the state’s Medicaid program.

• Commissioners will consider approving a contract between the Health Department and Rowan-Salisbury School System for the department to provide school nursing services. The department will provide the school system with two nationally certified nurses or registered nurses working toward national certification to work full time with the goal of improving the nurse to student ratio.

• Commissioners will consider approving several contracts between the Department of Social Services and various entities that will provide foster care and adult day care services.

• Commissioners will consider approving a revised interlocal agreement with the town of Landis. Since 2004, the county has provided the town with floodplain administration services. However, Landis in May adopted revisions to their flood ordinance and will now stop contracting with the county for its services. The county administered the flood damage prevention ordinance for the Landis at no cost but did collect a $50 permit fee per project, which was very infrequent.

About Ben Stansell

Ben Stansell covers business, county government and more for the Salisbury Post. He joined the staff in August 2020 after graduating from the University of Alabama. Email him at

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