The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

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October 7, 2012

New London prepares for growth

Sunday, October 7, 2012 — The town of New London has a few good problems on its hands.

The town’s growth, plus the increased interest in industries wanting to move there, is creating situations where the town needs to push forward with a new proposed zoning map. That, and further discussion about the Carolina Thread Trail, were the top agenda items during Tuesday’s commissioners meeting.

The town’s zoning board put together a map that was presented on Feb. 14 that includes areas of suggestion for zoning. As it stands, some areas of the town are designated for agriculture (R-A) while others are listed as R-20, the highest zoning area. In some cases, they are listed as both.

The zoning board approved a map that takes those areas into account with the idea of going forward with a plan to zone it properly for things such as potential new businesses and residential areas.

New London Mayor Calvin Gaddy proposed that all land owners and adjacent land owners in the proposed areas be notified of the recommendations for zoning changes and that a public hearing be held before the commissioners come back to take a final vote. The proposal was approved by each commissioner.

“We have a lot of industry for a town as small as we are, a lot of industry,” Gaddy said.

“Maybe it will attract new residents to come and build houses, which everybody would like to see done.”

Gaddy said the county was in charge of zoning most of these areas in the past and, in some cases, took zoning requests on a case-by-case situation. That’s particularly true in the southern part of the town, which was acquired in 2000. Gaddy pointed out on the map situations where there was a house here, a highway business next to it, a neighborhood business next to that and so forth.

“It’s a hodgepodge there,” Gaddy said.

“Prior to New London taking this area down here in 2000, this was county zoning. They zoned it like they wanted, and it appears they just took it on a one-on-one basis.

“If I wanted to do a business that needed to be neighborhood, they made it neighborhood. If I wanted to do a business that was highway, they made it highway.”

Gaddy said the zoning won’t affect existing homes in the propsed areas at all. He wasn’t sure how many people would have to be contacted or how long it would take before the date of the public hearing could be determined.

The other major item of business is the Carolina Thread Trail. Misenheimer, Richfield and New London are working together to get their portion of the paved trail off and running.

The Carolina Thread Trail is a regional trail network that, when completed, will reach 15 counties and 2.3 million people, according to its website. Portions of the trail stretch from as far south as Rock Hill, S.C. and go through Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties up to areas just south of North Wilkesboro.

The proposed area also includes Stanly County. Gaddy said Albemarle has already completed a lot of its trails on its own. New London, Richfield and Meisenheimer want to do their parts to extend the trail into Cabarrus County. Gaddy presented a map that shows the winding trails going past places such as North Stanly High School, into each town and past Pfeiffer University.

Gaddy said the town will seek grants, including ones from Carolina Thread Trail, to help offset the costs, which he estimates will be $800,000-$900,000.

“All of these things attract industry,” Gaddy said.

“The first thing industry looks at is things like this thread trail, they look at schools and churches. They look at all of the things for the people that are going to work for them.

“This is where they want to locate. It’s a big deal now to try to attract industry.”

Other items discussed during the meeting:

n Last month’s agenda and minutes were approved.

n Mayor Pro-Tem Bill Peak said that all sewer pump stations were now working. The Highland pump needed around $2,000 in repairs.

“We hope it’s good for a while,” Peak said.

“These are 10-year-old pumps. We’ll take care of them as problems arise.”

He also said the ammonia nitrate levels were “the lowest I’ve seen.”

He also said a manhole that was knocked open in the town has been sealed.

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