Commissioners will consider scheduling public hearing on $400 million project

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 31, 2021

SALISBURY — With Rowan County in the running to land a major economic development project, commissioners on Monday will consider scheduling a public hearing on an incentive package that could make the deal sweeter for the company considering the county.

The Rowan Economic Development Commission is asking commissioners to approve a tax incentive package for “Project Bishop,” which would results in a company creating 1,000 jobs over the next four years and investing approximately $400 million in new construction and equipment. Commissioners could schedule a public hearing regarding the incentive package for its meeting on Nov. 15. More details about the potential project and the incentive package would be revealed then.

The job number for “Project Bishop” is similar to the total touted by Chewy when the online pet retail company announced a location in Rowan County in 2019. Chewy has hired more than 1,200 employees at the Rowan County facility.

Commissioners will convene on Monday at 3 p.m. in the J. Newton Cohen Sr. Room on the second floor of the Rowan County Administration Building.

The meeting can be joined virtually at using password 110121 or by phone by dialing 602-753-0140, 720-928-9299 or 213-338-8477.

On the meeting agenda:

• The board will consider scheduling a public hearing for its meeting on Nov. 15 regarding a request for a conditional district rezoning from Birdseye Renewable Energy. The Charlotte-based company, a subsidiary of Dominion Energy, is seeking the rezoning to construct a roughly 574-acre solar facility in Gold Hill, near the private Gold Hill Airpark.

Birsdeye’s proposed project has received intense pushback from Gold Hill residents, who have expressed concerns about the solar facility’s impact on the town’s heritage, the environment and the residents and pilots at the airpark. The rezoning was not recommended for approval by the Rowan County Planning Board in September. Commissioners do not have to comply with the planning board’s recommendation. 

On Monday, commissioners will also consider approving proposed procedures for the public hearing. Birdseye Renewable Energy will be given 30 minutes to present their application. The public will have 45 minutes to comment, with each speaker limited to three minutes. The proposed rules state that time may be yielded from one or more citizens to give a “spokesperson” more time to talk. Following public comment, Birdseye will be given 15 minutes for rebuttal.

• Commissioners will consider approving a resolution supporting a developer’s ability to temporarily disturb a conserved piece of land to form two connections to a Salisbury-Rowan Utilities sanitary sewer line. The developer has plans to build a 270-unit subdivision at the intersection of Rowan Mill and Mooresville roads adjacent to Forest Glen Subdivision. The subdivision has already been approved by the Salisbury City Council

Rowan County currently has a conservation easement in place with Three Rivers Land Trust prohibiting types of development in the area. However, County Attorney Jay Dees said in a memo to commissioners that he did not believe connecting to a sewer line violated that easement.

• “Fire Department Funding” is on the agenda for the meeting, but no other details are available at this time.

• Commissioners will consider accepting an offer for a lot in Spencer that the county jointly owns with the town. The lot was declared surplus. The offer for the lot is $8,250. If accepted, 45%, or $3,713, of the money will go to the town of Spencer and 55%, or $4,537, to Rowan County. 

• The board will consider giving the Rowan County Cooperative Extension and the Rowan County Beekeepers Association approval to apply for a $1,500 grant to establish a beehive on the ground of the Rowan County Agriculture Center. The beehive would be placed next to the herb garden and raised beds where the Rowan County Master Gardeners raise vegetables in the fall, spring and summer. The goal of the grant application is to establish a beekeeping program for local 4-H club members to use and learn about honeybees.

• Commissioners will consider approving a request for a special non-intensity allocation permit for Race City Properties to construct a 16,000-square-foot race shop at Mooresville Motorsports. The permit would allow the project to exceed the administrative allowance of 12% built-upon area (buildings, pavement, gravel) limitation requirement of the Coddle Creek watershed and allow up to 70% built-upon area for the project.

• Commissioners will consider a request to allocate $92,800 to Families First for the funding of a visitation station. Families First is a nonprofit organization that supports families in Rowan County and the visitation station is used by the courts for supervised parental visitation. The county would appropriate the funding in four quarterly payments of $23,200. The funds would be allocated from the general fund balance.

• The board will consider authorizing a refund of $5,049 to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. An accounting error made by Rowan County Public Health resulted in the overpayment of COVID funding in January of 2021.

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

email author More by Ben