Granite Quarry talks impending growth

Published 12:02 am Tuesday, March 15, 2022

GRANITE QUARRY — Some members of the Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen are planning to attend an upcoming planning board meeting and discuss how to manage the growth in the area.

During the Board of Aldermen meeting on Monday, alderman Kim Cress said he thinks there is a need for the town to revisit its zoning classifications.

“Things are changing,” Cress said. “If you ride around Salisbury or Rowan County you can see it. I’m so afraid it’s going to come upon us now because we’re kind of in a sticky situation right now with the planner and the code enforcement.”

The town is currently without an in-house planner. Former planner Steve Blount recently took a similar role in Spencer.

“It’s going to be here for 50 years,” Mayor Pro Tem John Linker said. “Long after we’re all gone, it’s here. So we’re just concerned about the type of development, quality of development and making sure we’ve still got a nice community here.”

The issue was brought up as an agenda item during the meeting simply listed as a discussion on moratoriums. The item was originally placed on the board’s February agenda and was moved to March.

Cress said he was thinking about a moratorium as a way to accommodate that process so the town does not find itself saying, “Why in the world did we let that happen?” 10 years from now.

Alderman Jim Constantino asked if the town is allowed to introduce a moratorium. Town attorney Chip Short said the town has introduced moratoriums in the past and there is no legal issue unless the moratorium is directly in response to a plan that has already been presented. He said a moratorium targeted at someone could result in a lawsuit.

Short said his concern is to keep a moratorium from being open-ended or too long to the point it would infringe on property rights because revisions to zoning classifications could take a long time.

Cress asked how the town could do something to get to where it wants to be in five years and not “cut the hand off of somebody that’s in process.”

Short said he does not think the town can. Constantino pointed to the existing planning process that goes through the planning board and the board of aldermen as measures already in place.

“I don’t want to do a moratorium and end up losing potential growth,” Constantino said.

Linker addressed the Post reporter in the room and said the town is open for business, the board is not implying it does not want growth and the town knows it is coming.

“We’re seeing all the growth that’s coming around us,” Linker said, adding that he thinks the planning board should look at zoning classifications.

Short advised the planning board should take a look at the issue without a moratorium and then, if needed, the town could introduce a moratorium after honing in on specifics.

“What makes us more nervous is we don’t have a town planner. We’ve been trying to secure one,” Linker said.

Linker said the town doesn’t want to stop anyone from exercising their vested rights on a property and if a property requires rezoning it would be an issue for the board to take up.

“I’m betting any development you didn’t want would require rezoning,” Short said.

Two aldermen are planning on attending an upcoming planning board meeting. The board is not planning on sending a quorum of its members, so it will not technically be a joint meeting.

About Carl Blankenship

Carl Blankenship has covered education for the Post since December 2019. Before coming to Salisbury he was a staff writer for The Avery Journal-Times in Newland and graduated from Appalachian State University in 2017, where he was editor of The Appalachian.

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