Salisbury Planning Board approves rezoning requests in preparation for residential, commercial developments

Published 12:09 am Wednesday, April 27, 2022

SALISBURY — The Salisbury Planning Board on Tuesday approved two rezoning requests that pave the way for future requests on one residential and one commercial development.

The first rezoning approval was granted to parcel 329 050 located at the intersection of Willow Road and Statesville Boulevard, which measures almost 11 acres. It was a split-zoned parcel, with the southern piece zoned Urban Residential 12 and another piece zoned General Residential 3. The request was to zone the entire property General Residential 3 for consistency and for a future subdivision.

Elijah Geniesse of Smith Douglas Homes said they’re working on plans to construct a subdivision with at least 70 single-family detached homes and “decent-sized” lots, which wouldn’t be allowed under the current zoning. Homes would range from one to two stories and fit two cars in a garage. However, those plans are subject to change, he added.

Planning Board member Patricia Jones “P.J.” Ricks was concerned with the ability to fit 74 lots onto the parcel, but it was clarified that the subdivision would span multiple parcels.

Development Services Manager Teresa Barringer said the development plan would come before the Technical Review Committee as a major subdivision plan before being presented to the Planning Board.

The surrounding parcels for this request are zoned general residential and residential mixed use. Ricks said this particular parcel is an example of split-zoning that the board has been working to “clean up” across the city.

Per a question from the board, Spencer McNab, an engineering consultant with BGE Inc., said the current property owner was asked why it was split-zoned but did not know. The parcel is currently owned by Donnie and Margaret Myers, who have an address in Fleming Island, Florida, according to the Rowan County tax map.

McNab, who lives in Charlotte, added that his team is “happy to be part of a growing Salisbury.”

Barringer said the parcel is heavily wooded and lacks a perennial stream, but it slopes down into a pond in the northeastern corner of the lot.

Also at the meeting, the board approved the rezoning of six parcels for a future logistics company on Peeler Road. The parcels total 64.3 acres and were zoned Rural Residential, Rural Agricultural and Commercial, Business Industrial. Following approval from the board Tuesday, those parcels were rezoned to Light Industrial. Parcels are labeled 408 030, 410 019, 410 112, 410 124, 410 001 and 410 029.

Collin Brown with the Alexander Ricks law firm said the parcels will accommodate a logistics center in an area that’s “perfectly situated” for such business in the Interstate 85 corridor.

Currently, those parcels belong to Rowan County. However, Crow Holdings Industrial, which made the request, is currently working with city staff for voluntary annexation into the city limits, allowing for city water and sewer connections. The new zoning would be applicable if annexation is approved by the Salisbury City Council.

A couple of Peeler Road residents voiced opposition to the development, citing increased traffic and noise concerns in an area that’s otherwise pretty quiet and rural. Steve Cooper and Christopher Key, who spoke in opposition, also cited the location of Southeast Middle School at 1570 Peeler Road and the anticipated danger in adding an industrial company to an area full of children.

Planning Board Chair John Schaefer noted that the largest parcel for the request is already zoned for industrial uses, so the current owners could place anything that’s allowed there regardless of the discussion at Tuesday’s meeting. Board member Bill Burgin said the zoning isn’t going to affect traffic that significantly if the area is already zoned for industrial uses.

Per a request from the board, Barringer noted some differences between heavy and light industrial zonings, with heavy industrial allowing 24/7 operations of machinery that doesn’t have to be enclosed like such facilities would be in a light industrial-zoned area. Additionally, the light industrial zoning requires a 100-foot setback and a vegetative buffer around the zoned parcel except for the entrance and exit points.

Barringer said development plans show the logistics company will be located in the area farthest away from the residential area found along Peeler Road.

Schaefer noted that it would create “an island” of city zoning surrounded by county zoning, but Barringer said there are other requests for the area currently in the pipeline.

The Salisbury City Council will have ultimate say over voluntary annexation and the rezoning request.

City staff recommended approval for both plans and noted they both meet the city’s comprehensive Vision 2020 policies for growth and development.

About Natalie Anderson

Natalie Anderson covers the city of Salisbury, politics and more for the Salisbury Post. She joined the staff in January 2020 after graduating from Louisiana State University, where she was editor of The Reveille newspaper. Email her at natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com or call her at 704-797-4246.

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