Annexations could mean a $1.3 million increase in tax revenue for E. Spencer

Published 12:10 am Thursday, June 30, 2022

EAST SPENCER — Board of Aldermen members cheered out loud Wednesday night after voting to approve the second annexation of the night.

Once both parcels have been developed, Town Administrator Michael Douglas pointed out that the town will see an increase of about $1.3 million in annual tax revenues.

For the first parcel, the town approved both the annexation and the partial rezoning of approximately 130 acres on Bringle Ferry Road. The parcel, which is divided into a north and south piece, is inside East Spencer’s ETJ or Extraterritorial Jurisdiction but also abuts the city limits of Salisbury, which meant the two towns had to sign an annexation agreement for either community to annex the property.

Wednesday night, the city of Salisbury approved the annexation agreement.

The developer and intended buyer, Greg Williams of Garden Street Communities, had already offered East Spencer voluntary annexation, and Wednesday night, the town accepted.

The southern half of the parcel was also rezoned from ED85 or Economic Development, to R-3, or residential, and Williams said the plans as they stand currently will mean 223 single-family homes. The northern half of the parcel is not changing  because a proposed exchange off of Interstate 85 would take up at least part of the property. Williams said “We’ll move forward with building the homes we have planned, and then in about two years, we’ll revisit the northern parcel and see where the exchange stands.” Douglas said if the exchange does not come to fruition, Williams will, in all likelihood, request rezoning to residential for that parcel as well, then put additional single family homes on the land. He and his engineer did note that there is a plan for an approximate 25-foot buffer of trees between the development and next-door buildings.

The annexation had come down to the wire as East Spencer and Salisbury had to work to reach agreement, and board members were elated at its passing.

And that was quickly followed by outright joy when Robert Rusher and his niece, Ashley Clayton, volunteered their 80-acre family-owned farm land for annexation to the town. The parcel, which is listed as 440 Robinson Road, has been in the Rusher family “for at least 100 years, maybe even 150,” said Rusher. “My daddy was born on that land.”

But younger generations are not interested in farming, he said, and he and his niece wanted the property to benefit the community they love.

Tectonic, a real estate development and investment company in Charlotte, is currently under contract to purchase the property, and annexation and rezoning by the town has moved the purchase and ensuing planning stage one step closer.

A spokesperson for the company said the tentative plans are to focus on job development in the rear of the property, with perhaps distribution spaces, and a commercial structure in the front of the property, for a mixed-use approach. 

“These are good people who have been citizens for a long, long time,” said Mayor Barbara Mallett, smiling. “I want you to be sure you take very good care of them,” she said to the developer.

“I don’t think anyone has ever seen in East Spencer the growth we have approved here tonight,” Mallett added. 

Rusher, who said he would like nothing better than to purchase a camper and travel, when asked if he is OK with the town having the property and the plans discussed, “You better believe it!”