Planning Board votes in favor of rezoning for 380-acre industrial park on Long Ferry Road

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, April 27, 2022

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Planning Board on Monday night unanimously approved a rezoning request to accommodate an approximately 380-acre industrial park being planned for Long Ferry Road.

Red Rock Developments is requesting the rezoning of six parcels owned by the Carlton family along the 1700-2300 block of Long Ferry Road from rural agricultural to commercial, business and industrial.

Red Rock, based in Columbia, South Carolina with a regional office in Charlotte, is moving forward with plans to construct six “shell” buildings totaling 2.6 million square feet of space for manufacturing, transportation and wholesale trade sector uses. Five buildings will be on the south side of Long Ferry Road and one will be on the north side of the road.

The project will be built in three phases with the largest two buildings being constructed in phase one. Red Rock is aiming to break ground on phase one by late summer and complete the first two buildings by the end of the year.

The Planning Board’s approval is only a recommendation. The Rowan County Board of Commissioners has the final say in the matter. Commissioners will likely consider the rezoning request at their May 16 meeting.

Shane Stewart, assistant planning director for Rowan County, said no one from the public spoke in favor or opposition to the rezoning request during the Planning Board’s meeting. Only a small audience was there for the meeting, he said. Red Rock held a community meeting about the project on March 1. Stewart sent letters to 138 nearby property owners about the rezoning request and three signs about the public hearing were posted on the property.

The Planning Board did receive an email from a citizen named Nathaniel Boone who pleaded with the board to reconsider Red Rock’s request. Boone identified himself as someone who lives off of Long Ferry Road. In the email, Boone said “a development of this size simply does not belong in rural Rowan County,” adding that “Long Ferry Road cannot handle the tractor-trailers that this type of complex would bring.”

The industrial park will certainly bring more vehicles to Long Ferry Road.

A traffic impact analysis conducted by the North Carolina Department of Transportation projects the industrial park will generate 11,229 trips during a typical weekday when it is completely built out. The park will generate 981 trips during “peak” morning hour and 1,360 trips during the busiest hour in the afternoon. A “trip” would be someone leaving their home and arriving to work at the industrial site with no other stops along the way. Stewart said those projections account for the maximum amount of expected traffic. Those numbers are subject to change, Stewart said, depending on the type of businesses that occupy the buildings in the industrial park.

NCDOT will require road improvements for the park. Three traffic signals will be installed on Long Ferry Road at the intersections with the I-85 northbound ramp, southbound ramp and Front Creek/Willow Creek Road in front of Chewy’s fulfillment center. A fourth traffic signal may be required further down Long Ferry Road. The NCDOT is also requiring the addition and extension of various right and left turn lanes into the park on Long Ferry Road.

In addition to NCDOT’s traffic impact analysis, the county recently selected a firm to complete a study of Long Ferry Road.

The Planning Board approved the rezoning request with a few conditions from Planning Department staff, including: 20 feet along the south side and north side of Long Ferry Road must be reserved for future transportation needs; there must be a plan for a berm and/or landscaping along Long Ferry Road frontage; outdoor storage must be located behind a building or otherwise screened with an opaque fence or evergreen vegetation from adjoining properties and Long Ferry Road.

The county’s economic leaders have been targeting land on Long Ferry Road for development for almost a decade. The site of the future industrial park was included in Duke Energy’s Site Readiness Program in 2014. The program helps prepare property and buildings for economic development.

Commissioners earlier this month approved a $4.2 million infrastructure reimbursement incentive for the project to help Red Rock make necessary water, sewer and road improvements for phase one of the project. The infrastructure reimbursement came in lieu of a traditional tax incentive. Red Rock is expected to request incentives for phase two and three of the project as well, but details about those incentives have not yet been determined.

Citizens with questions or comments about the rezoning request can contact the Rowan County Planning Department at 704-216-8588.

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

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