Partnership in planning


By Eric C. Deines
[email protected]
Like the City of Concord before it, Harrisburg is at the cusp of a land-use agreement with Cabarrus County that will determine where and how the city will grow.

“Our (land-use plan) is several years old, and we’ve been talking about it for a while to do it,” said Josh Watkins, Harrisburg’s town planner.

Harrisburg and Cabarrus County would share in the cost of the study, which would include several community input sessions.

In the current budget, Harrisburg has set aside $10,000 for a land-use plan update.

In its agreement with Concord, Cabarrus County down-zoned development densities for several areas as a means of managing growth to keep up with public services, such as schools, and preserve open space.

In the proposed agreement between Cabarrus and Concord that will serve as a template for the county’s agreement with Harrisburg, it is stated that Concord will not extend utilities to developers or allow developers to tap onto utilities without the consent of commissioners.

It also states that Concord must maintain the applied zoning of an area when it is annexed into the city.

Officials have said the agreement is a first in the state for a county and a municipality.

“When you make rezoning decisions, you have to base them in part on what your zoning is,” said Harrisburg Attorney Rich Koch, who also serves as attorney for Cabarrus County and is the author of the land-use agreement between the county and Concord.

Officials said the proposed agreement between Harrisburg and Cabarrus would stand for 15 years.

Harrisburg Town Council lightly discussed how the land-use study would be paid for, with Cabarrus and Harrisburg splitting the cost based on population and the area studied in the plan.

Mayor Tim Hagler said that because the area Harrisburg will study is much smaller than that included in the Concord plan, the cost should be far less.

Hagler said Harrisburg is limited as to where it can grow, with Concord’s limits to the north and east and the Mecklenburg county line to the west.

“The only way we have to grow is south into the county,” Hagler said.

This week, the Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners plans to consider the land-use plan for the Concord growth area, which will subsequently go before Concord City Council for approval.

• Contact Eric C. Deines: 704-789-9141.

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