Planning board recommends Long Ferry Road development plans

Published 12:08 am Thursday, October 26, 2023

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Planning Board voted to recommend a plan that addressed any future development along the Long Ferry Road corridor. The plan is based on a study that primarily looked at the transportation needs that increased vehicle traffic would create on the road.

According to reports from planning staff, the staff asked for a study to be completed because of how the “development potential and current economic interests” will affect Long Ferry Road in the future. Currently, Red Rock Development is working to develop a 380-acre industrial park in the area. Chewy also built a fulfillment center in 2020.

The plan has not changed drastically since it was presented to Spencer’s Board of Aldermen and the county commissioners in August but planning staff did report citizen feedback from a community input meeting that was held in September. Most of the comments that staff relayed were related to specific concerns about the plan, such as speed limits on segments of the road or access to a business being restricted because of the introduction of a median to the road.

Staff also fielded a few questions from the board about how the increased right of ways will affect property owners on either side of the road. One building especially raised the question by having a portion of it inside the right of way. Ed Muire, planning director, said that they will not require buildings to be removed if they are inside the line. Any additions to buildings will need to be outside the right of way, however. The size of the right of ways range from 60 feet to 110 feet.

The plan divided Long Ferry Road into multiple segments between Salisbury Avenue and Leonard Road. Three of those segments are under the county’s jurisdictions, with the rest falling within the limits of Spencer.

Between Front Creek and the Red Rock project site, the plan called for a four-lane road with a median dividing the road. Between the project site and Dukeville Road, a two-lane road with a two-way left turn lane is recommended. Between Dukeville and Leonard Road, the plan recommends an undivided two-lane road.

WSP USA, the consulting company who performed the study, said in their report that the total cost of the proposed upgrades to Long Ferry Road is projected to be around $67.5 million.

According to the staff report, the proposal was brought before the planning board in order to determine whether they believed that it was consistent with policies related to the area and whether or not it “advances the public health, safety or welfare as well as the intent and spirit of ordinance.”

The planning board voted unanimously to recommend the plan to the county commissioners. The plan, along with the recommendation, will be presented before the commissioners at a future meeting.