Local community protests ‘out-of-control’ proposed storage facility

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, July 27, 2022

SALISBURY — Residents along a suburban stretch of road in Salisbury arrived at the Rowan County Planning Board meeting on Monday evening to voice their concerns about a proposed development on Mooresville Road.

The petition involved a request for re-zoning by Sutton Children LLC., a family-owned group who owns the land, all of which is currently zoned as Rural Residential.

The Sutton family has lived on or controlled the property for generations but came in front of the board on Monday to ask that the parcel be given a new designation of Commercial-Business Industrial with a Conditional district.

The re-zoning efforts would ultimately make way for multiple climate-controlled storage units that would be used for higher-end storage needs for people living around the region.

The group felt the facility would reflect the interests of the community while also preserving the aesthetic value and privacy of the property with controlled lighting, secured perimeters and stone facades.

According to Monday’s board meeting, however, much of the community, including the residents of neighboring Neel Estates, did not agree with that sentiment.

Nearly a dozen people representing families and households along Mooresville Road near the intersection with John Rainey Road spoke up during the meeting’s public hearing session and presented their issues with the property.

Jerry Anthony, a local resident who would live near the storage facility, stated that the rise in traffic coming in and out of the facility concerned him.

Edward Ramirez, who recently moved to the area, mentioned how his decision to move from Charlotte to this area was largely due to concerns about overgrowing properties and traffic problems.

Other visitors supported these themes and not only spoke to the board once, but came to the mic a second time, after the Sutton group was allowed to provide feedback on the initial round of concerns.

The area in question has a number of homes where housing values could be affected by the presence of such a facility, something that homeowners said they believed would not be an issue when they decided to move to the neighborhood.

One resident also implied that the property could quickly become an “out-of-control monster” since there were no guarantees about how the facility would be handled if a re-zoning was approved.

Promises to keep visitors out of the facility, save for “select” customers, and assurances that lighting would not affect neighboring properties were met with skepticism from the residents in attendance.

The Sutton family did respond again to these concerns, noting that their aim was to provide a property that was “synergistic to the community” and that they intended to retain “long-term ownership” over the facility.

Ultimately, however, the board could not come to a consensus on approving the petition, voting 4-2 against it due to the fact that it was “out of scale” compared to existing land use plans and that it essentially “split the existing houses in the area up.”

The board will recommend that the Rowan County Board of Commissioners not approve the request, but the recommendation does not guarantee the actual decision that the commissioners will make when the proposal is brought to them, tentatively scheduled for early September.