Developer pulls request for 218-unit subdivision as China Grove Town Council voices concerns

Published 9:00 am Wednesday, February 2, 2022

CHINA GROVE — A major subdivision planned near China Grove will not move forward after resistance from the Town Council on Tuesday night.

National homebuilding company D.R. Horton proposed a 218-unit residential neighborhood on about 55 acres of land on the south end of Delta Street — between I-85 and Town Creek near Hitachi Metals. Plans for the subdivision called for 115 single-family homes and 103 townhomes in addition to a pool, playground and cabana.

The single-family homes would sell for more than $300,000. Townhomes would be $250,000 or more, representatives from the company said during the meeting. The neighborhood would be managed by a homeowners association established by D.R. Horton after construction finished.

The proposed subdivision received unanimous approval from the China Grove Planning Board, but it needed the Town Council to approve annexation of the land and a conditional district rezoning to mixed residential.

The council expressed several concerns about the project, including its distance from the town’s fire station and the value of the land for future economic development.

The proposed subdivision at 685 Delta St. would be located about 4 miles from the China Grove Fire Department at 333 N. Main St. Fire Chief Mike Zimmerman, who was in attendance at the meeting, said the distance would impact the fire department’s newly-improved ISO fire rating, which generally indicates how prepared a department is to respond to a fire emergency in its district. The department currently has an ISO fire rating of two, which is the second best score possible.

Councilman Steve Stroud questioned whether the tax revenue generated by the subdivision would justify the cost of services the town would have to provide, including garbage pickup, police and fire.

Additionally, the Town Council expressed concerns about using the land for residential development when it could be an asset in economic development. The property is located near I-85 and next to several other parcels that could be combined into a single, large parcel. Councilman Rodney Phillips said there is economic activity nearby the council should keep in mind.

Councilwoman Cheryl Sheets referenced hundreds of residential units recently approved by the council before saying she would hate to see the neighborhood not sold out due to lack of demand.

When it was clear the council would vote against the development, members voted to accept a request from D.R. Horton to withdraw its application instead of voting outright against the request.

“A good company, a good plan, just the wrong location,” Stroud said.

In other meeting business:

• The Town Council again discussed plans to use the roughly $1.3 million in funding it is slated to receive from the American Rescue Plan Act, a $1.9 trillion economic stimulus bill passed in March in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Town Manager Ken Deal told the council the U.S. Treasury has issued final guidance on how the funding can be spent and that the rules allow for more flexibility.

• The Town Council adopted a resolution recognizing February as Black History Month. Seaford read the proclamation aloud.

• The council approved using about $40,000 in funding it received from Rowan County to purchase a vehicle for the fire department. The China Grove Fire Department received about $50,000 total from Rowan County, which distributed grants to rural fire departments across the county.

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