Granite Quarry approves draft of growth agreement

Published 12:05 am Friday, September 1, 2023

GRANITE QUARRY — The Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen voted to approve the non-annexation agreement between them and Salisbury during a special meeting Thursday morning. The non-annexation and growth agreements are a way for the Rowan EDC to identify to developers what municipality they should work with in the future if they desire to be annexed.

The staff of both Granite Quarry and Salisbury have been the main catalysts to the negotiations between the two towns. Larry Smith, Granite Quarry’s town manager, said during the meeting that the main emphasis during the negotiations was which municipality would serve an area best. Smith also said that Salisbury, who is the largest municipality in Rowan County, was waiting on a finalized agreement between the two towns before moving forward with negotiations with Spencer and East Spencer.

“We’re here to serve the public. So that’s where we were looking is into who can serve the public best, whether it’s county, whether it’s Salisbury, whether it’s Faith or Granite. Who can service the public safety of everyone and provide for the best welfare,” said Smith.

Granite Quarry has been in negotiations about the agreement since late last year after the county asked all of the municipalities to put their heads together. The main issue has been each town’s borders around Interstate 85. The agreement approved Thursday would set the north border at Heilig Road, the southern border at St. Paul’s Church Road, and the western border would run from Old Concord Road up to Peach Orchard Road, where it would no longer follow the road and go up to I-85.

The board’s approval of the agreement means that it now goes to Salisbury for approval as well. If Salisbury approves, then the areas would not immediately become a part of either municipality. State law requires that any annexations into a city’s limits is voluntary, so municipalities need to be asked before they can annex a property. The agreement serves as a blueprint for future growth of each town.

“We need to remember that with this, the most important thing is not tomorrow, but this is for 40 years down the line. This is like a visionary plan to go down to our successors for generations,” said Mayor Brittany Barnhardt.

There was some discussion led by Barnhardt about postponing the final decision and continuing negotiations with Salisbury. The reasoning was to allow for the town to ask Salisbury to relinquish the areas west of Old Concord Road and north of Peeler Road. This would have provided the town with more future lands around I-85, but some of the aldermen worried that it would be arguing over a moot point.

Alderman Doug Shelton stated that the land around I-85 might be developed long before Granite Quarry is able to offer a viable solution for annexing, as with the General RV Center development happening now. The center is in the county and the company has an agreement with the county government, so there is generally not much incentive for an application to be annexed by any municipality.

Northeast of the town, where the area has many of the empty quarries that give Granite Quarry its name, did not end up a controversial issue between the two towns. The agreement will set the border at Stokes Ferry Road, where it will go west until running north on Dunn’s Mountain Road.