China Grove Main Street Study Continues, Rock Lane Warehouse Under Study
Posted at 12:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 13, 2022
By Madeline Wagoner
CHINA GROVE — A plan for an IDI Logistics warehouse was presented to the China Grove Planning Board on Tuesday, along with a discussion on how the city can better meet the needs of the community and visitors.
The November city council meeting a week earlier presented the results of a study of the corridor that stretches from US 29 (at the new Food Lion) to Coach Deal Road. Priorities focused on pedestrian safety, on-street parking protection and wayfinding.
Community involvement was the focus of planners and 77 people participated in a survey. The solution process aims to meet the needs of area residents and business owners.
Many comments from the polls pointed to concerns about pedestrian safety, such as cars traveling too quickly along Main Street and the lack of crosswalks to access shops on either side of the street. Business owners mentioned the need for more signage to direct business to their stores.
Sidewalk connectivity, crossing amenities and cycling infrastructure were discussed as three Rowan County bike lanes now run down Main Street in the city. The idea is to make China Grove a more touristy and bike-friendly destination by adding details to the asphalt to raise awareness among cyclists.
The city is developing a concept to apply for a rural transformation grant worth up to $950,000 through the Department of Commerce from remaining Cares Act funds. Governor Franklin. Deputy General Director, completed this process on November 1.
“The vision for this was really driven by our conversations with the community,” said Kristina Whitfield, a transportation planner who worked with China Grove to revise the Main Street corridor. “So the concepts will provide what pedestrian safety feedback was looking for.”
Another possibility is new uses of in-between spaces in downtown storefronts to provide services such as outdoor dining for restaurants. The idea does not apply to grant requirements, Whitfield said, but could be considered later.
Banners and an arts district were other options mentioned by Whitfield to find his way. Signage would be attached to streetlights through a collaboration with Duke Energy.
The next step includes forming an official China Grove Main Street Association to apply for the NC Main Street Downtown Association Community Program in partnership with the state’s Main Street and Rural Planning Center. Whitfield says it would “leverage the resources that were there” to initiate the changes.
“There are approximately 4,500 people at China Grove and 77 chose to participate in the survey,” said board member Steve Stroud. “I hope we all keep that in perspective when we look at this in the future. That’s 77 people, that doesn’t necessarily mean that all of China Grove wants the same thing. I hope we get more participation as we go along. and as the process progresses.
Pro Tem Mayor Arthur Heggins said he already had a vision for the concept of a transformed Main Street.
“We appreciate all the effort you (Whitfield) are making because we want our city to have this experience and this opportunity,” he said. “I think the plan itself is something great because there’s so much conversation about what we would do downtown.”
In other threads:
• The China Grove Planning Board made a unanimous decision on Tuesday to recommend the rezoning application for a light industrial warehouse. The 2.2 million square foot IDI Logistics site in Rock Lane is currently under Rowan County jurisdiction on 148 acres of property behind the existing Altec warehouse near the closed Hitachi Metals plant. Light industrial projects are classified as having limited nuisance, all interior works and limited dust pollution.
Emphasis is placed on conditional uses to ensure compatibility with Timberfield residents. A 30ft Class A buffer zone is provided between the proposed rezoned property and the Rock Lane residences within the Timberfield developments. Compared to IDI Logistic’s location in Buford, Georgia with a 200 foot buffer zone, the question is whether it is possible to increase the border of vegetation that separates the owners’ properties from the parcels requested.
According to Lisa Arnold, a planning consultant working with plaintiff Tom Hardy’s rezoning application, the 30-foot buffer meets the limit required in the Unified Development Ordinance for China Grove. However, with a road being so close to a rural residential property, some expressed concern at a public hearing about property values and cleanliness from dust when moving to a new location in a high traffic area. Along with the construction, it is also proposed to install another roundabout between the Macy’s project across the road and the Timberfield houses.
Hardy said the new facility will feature a modern design.
“I would like to see any effort to provide an alternate outlet,” said planning council chairman David Morton, observing the number of vehicle outlets compared to other IDI Logistics locations. “It is also to be negotiated with other owners.”
As for traffic studies in the area, Morton said the city council may consider it.
“At this point, we recommend just firing a dart. We don’t know what we recommend,” he said.
• China Grove Community Center will host a discounted two-day CPR course for $39 that will provide certification from the American Heart Association. Dates are Tuesday and Thursdays from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at 412 S. Myrtle Ave. Mayor Charles Seaford will also provide on-site training. Prior registration is required. Email [email protected] or contact Michael Moon at 404-548-7752.
Individuals must attend both days for certification.