For second time, county commissioners will discuss temporary use permit, rezoning for Reaper’s Realm

Published 12:00 am Sunday, September 5, 2021

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday will once again weigh the future of Reaper’s Realm Haunted House and Trail.

After six hours of discussion and debate at its last meeting, the board agreed to draft a temporary permit for Reaper’s Realm to operate this Halloween season instead of voting on a more permanent zoning change. 

Tony Jenkins, who owns and operates the haunt between Daugherty and Old Linn roads, sought a rezoning from “residential agricultural” to “commercial, business industrial.” At least three commissioners were poised to deny that request, which came with a list of conditions. The request also was met with passionate pushback from neighbors and previously recommended for denial by the Rowan County Planning Board.

Since the last Board of Commissioners meeting, Jenkins and his attorney Al Benshoff have worked with the Planning Department to draft a temporary use permit that will be valid only for this season. The permit contains many of the same conditions listed in the rezoning request, including bolstered security presence, a strict end time for nightly operations, noise limits and plans for emergency access to the property.

Although the board indicated the zoning request would likely be denied, Jenkins has not withdrawn the request. As a result, commissioners on Tuesday will consider both the rezoning request and the temporary use permit. While there will be no more public comment regarding the rezoning request, 10 minutes will be allocated to input from the community on the temporary use permit. Jenkins and Benshoff will have 10 minutes for comment as well.

Commissioners will meet 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 bit.ly/rowanboc0907.The password is 090721. The meeting can be joined by phone by dialing 602-753-0140, 720-928-9299 or 213-338-8477.

Also on the meeting agenda:

• The board will schedule a public hearing for its meeting on Sept. 20 regarding a request from NorthPoint Development for a new incentive agreement. NorthPoint recently purchased 41 acres of land located at 410 Webb Road near I-85 and has plans to build a 630,000-square-foot facility on the site to be leased for manufacturing purposes. To “aggressively pursue tenants,” NorthPoint would like to utilize incentives from Rowan County to lower lease rates. The company would receive a grant based on the percentage of new taxes paid. NorthPoint is proposing that the grant terms run for longer periods of time and at different percentages than the current policy, but would also have minimum job creation and average wage requirements. The Rowan Economic Development Council will provide more info on the incentive during the hearing.

• Commissioners will consider approving a special non-residential intensity allocation request from Foley Homes Sales, LLC for the company to construct a 12,000-square-foot shell building on lot three of the recently developed Horsepower Park subdivision, which is located at 180 Nitro Alley in Mooresville. A special non-residential intensity allocation clears an applicant to exceed the allowed built-upon area in a watershed. The building is going to be improved to be a warehouse with future tenants to follow in the future. The request meets all standards for approval, according to the Rowan County Planning Department’s staff report.

• Commissioners will consider approving the purchase of a whole body scanner for the Rowan County Detention Center at the cost of $139,000. The purchase of the equipment is within the approved fiscal year 2021-22 budget.

• Commissioners will consider approving the purchase of two machines totaling $813,142 for the Rowan County Landfill. The county will purchase a 2021 Caterpillar 963 Track Loader for $379,331 and a 2021 Caterpillar D6 Dozer for $433,811. The purchase of the equipment is within the approved fiscal year 2021-22 budget.

• The board will consider approving a contract worth $114,250 between Rowan County and Aviation Management Consulting Group for the company to perform an assessment of the Mid-Carolina Airport.

• The board will receive an update from Vaya President and CEO Brian Ingraham on the status of the health care providers consolidation efforts with Cardinal Innovations. Cardinal Innovations has worked with Rowan County to provide services to children in the custody of the Department of Social Services.

• Commissioners will consider a request on behalf of Taylor Clay Products for a special use permit required to build a 7,875-square-foot building addition to the company’s existing brick manufacturing facility at 1225 Chuck Taylor Lane. 

• The board will consider approving the release of a request for proposals for federal and state lobbying services. There is $60,000 in the current budget for lobbying services. The lobbyist would actively and continuously lobby Congress and the administration to assist Rowan County in several key areas.

• The board will consider approving an application from Providence Transportation for the company to provide ambulance services in Rowan County. Providence does not currently operate in the county. In a letter submitted to commissioners, EMS Chief Allen Cress said Nu Care Carolina abruptly ceased operations last week in Rowan County and Providence would fill that void as soon as possible. Providence would like to provide limited services for at least 12 hours a day while finding a base of operations and expanding staffing in the county with the goal of operating 24/7. The initial franchise for Providence’s services would be until June 30, 2022, to keep the renewal on schedule with the other agencies.

• The board will pass a number of proclamations, including proclamations designating Sept. 11 as First Responders Day and Patriot Day, a proclamation declaring September as Library Card Sign-up month and a proclamation marking the week of Sept. 17-23 as Constitution Week. There will also be a proclamation honoring the 75th anniversary of Harold B. Jarrett American Legion Post 342.