By Jessie Burchette
A local historic group has filed legal action against Rowan County seeking to halt construction of a proposed 2-mile road race course on the former N.C. Finishing Co. property.
Trading Ford Historic District Preservation Association and Ann Brownlee, president of the association, filed a petition Wednesday with the Rowan County Superior Court. The group wants to preserve historic elements of the site.
On Aug. 15, the Rowan County Board of Commissioners approved a conditional use permit requested by N.C. Warehouse LLC, a company created by Boston investment banker Dave Risdon.
Brownlee and the association are seeking a halt to any development while the court proceedings go forward.
During the hearings before the board of commissioners, Brownlee cited the historical significance of the Trading Ford area and called for preservation.
Brownlee and the association contend that the area was a trading path used by Native Americans for thousands of years and that Trading Ford was a site of commerce as well as the site of a skirmish in the Revolutionary War.
Andrew Abramson, an attorney with the Woodson, Sayers firm, represents Brownlee and the association.
In his court filing, Abramson contends that Risdon failed to produce "competent, material and substantial evidence" to show the development will have access to required roads, meet standards for buffering, comply with noise limits or keep lighting off adjacent residential property.
County Attorney Jay Dees said he has seen the petition, which amounts to an appeal of the decision by the board of commissioners.
Dees said he plans to discuss the issues with commissioners at their meeting Monday night.
One of the questions commissioners may answer is if they want to do anything.
While the conditional use permit process was going forward with the county, Risdon apparently began discussions with Spencer to annex the property.
Spencer officials met earlier this week to begin the process of annexing the 200-plus acres.
Commissioners and county planning staffers were less than enthusiastic in granting the permit.
County Planner Ed Muire questioned whether Risdon had met county requirements. Muire specifically challenged the traffic study required as part of the conditional use process.
Muire pointed to several errors and omissions in the documents, although commissioners had given Risdon 45 days to complete the revised application.