Commissioners to hold public hearing on Reaper’s Realm rezoning request, consider future of haunt

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 15, 2021

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Board of Commissioners on Monday evening will conduct a public hearing regarding the future of Reaper’s Realm Haunted House.

Tony Jenkins, who owns and operates the haunt with his family, is seeking to rezone a portion of his property located between Daugherty and Old Linn roads 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.

After a shooting occurred at the property in September, commissioners advised Jenkins to seek a more permanent rezoning. In an attempt to satisfy the board’s concerns about  the attraction, Jenkins developed a plan to increase security and improve traffic flow at the haunt. Jenkins presented that plan to the Rowan County Planning Board at its July meeting.

Following fierce and vocal opposition to the rezoning from the property’s neighbors, the Planning Board recommended the denial of the application and adopted this statement: “It is an expansion of business that would conflict with surrounding residential uses and the proposed use would be a benefit to the owner at the expense of neighbors or community in regards to noise and traffic.” 

The Board of Commissioners have the ultimate authority on the rezoning application and could disagree with the Planning Board’s recommendation.

Commissioners will meet at 6 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 https://bit.ly/rowanboc0816.The password is 081621. The meeting can be joined by phone by dialing 602-753-0140, 720-928-9299, 213-338-8477.

Also on the meeting agenda:

• Commissioners will consider authorizing contract negotiations with ADW Architects to conduct a revised space needs study for the Health Department. The architecture firm completed a space study in 2015 that showed many county departments would need more room in the future, including the Health Department. There have been previous proposals for the department to move to West End Plaza, which is slated for a major renovation to become an agricultural and event center.

• The board will consider granting a special non-residential intensity allocation to WOB LLC for the construction of  a 12,000 square foot race shop at the 300 Block of Performance Road in Mooresville. Special non-residential intensity allocations are required when a builder wants to construct a project exceeding the built-upon area allowance in a watershed, in this case the Coddle Creek Watershed. The planning department stated in a report that the proposal meets all requirements.

• Commissioners will be provided with an update on efforts to expand fixed wireless broadband access in rural parts of Rowan County. The plan to improve internet connectivity in the county has been in the works for years and is currently being executed by OpenBroadband. Commissioners decided last year to distribute up to $200,000 to incentivize Open Broadband to expand into the eastern and northwestern reaches of the county, including the Scotch Irish township.

• The board will consider approving an amendment to the county’s lease with Perkins Cafeterias, the restaurant planned for the former K&W building at West End Plaza. The amendment is an agreement between the restaurant and county to each pay half of the total costs of repairs and replacements to the building’s boiler room, which was damaged during a criminal breaking and entering.

• The board will consider approving the purchase of an additional shipment of Brita water pitcher replacement cartridges for each customer on the Northeast Water System. The county earlier this year contracted with 120Water to ship each customer on the system a Brita pitcher while the county determined how to remedy the presence of high levels of lead in drinking water in some homes on the system. The county is moving forward with a plan to build a chemical booster pump station to help fix the problem and is considering replacing the entire piping systems in some homes. The extra pitcher replacement cartridges will allow time for the changes in Salisbury Rowan Utilities chemical treatment and coverage through the anticipated date of the new chemical booster station. A reorder of cartridges will be considered in December. The additional order will cost the county $5,516.

• Commissioners will consider approving the use of $10,000 in American Rescue Plan funding to up fit vehicles used by the Paramedic Community Risk Reduction Program.

• Commissioners will consider approving the purchase of equipment and up fitting for 18 Sheriff’s Office vehicles from Campbell Brown Inc. at a cost not to exceed $141,774. The cost of the vehicles is included in the county’s 2021-22 budget.

• The board will consider approving changes to the Airport Layout Plan at the Mid-Carolina Regional Airport. The plan has been amended to include the eventual addition of a public safety hangar.

• The board will consider approving a motion to allow local political parties to use the J. Newton Cohen Sr. Room for monthly meetings, annual or biennial precinct meetings, special events and county and district conventions.

• Commissioners will pass and read a proclamation honoring the service of Marine Private Henry Ellis. The 22-year old soldier was killed in action on Nov. 30, 1950 in what would become North Korea. His body was not recovered until 1954 and wasn’t identified until Sept. 29, 2020. His body was set to be returned to his hometown of Salisbury to be buried in the Salisbury National Cemetery at the behest of his family.

• Commissioners will pass a proclamation recognizing Aug. 21-28 as Creek Week in Rowan County. This is the third annual Creek Week. The event’s organizers have a full slate of activities lined up to help educate people on the county’s waterways.