News Briefs: Aug. 28 to Sept. 3

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Indian Trail’s Harris Teeter distribution center to expand
INDIAN TRAIL – Harris Teeter announced it will expand its Indian Trail distribution center beginning in October. The company is investing $5.5 million in the project and said it will add 41 jobs over the next three years.
The county approved incentives last September to ensure the company would choose Indian Trail as a location to expand. Those incentives were in the form of a grant, not to exceed $66,000 over five years. The state offered the company a $40,000 incentive from the One North Carolina Fund, mostly related to job creation, to help the distribution center, where 365 people are currently employed.
The center, which supplies nearly 1,000 stores from North Carolina to Florida, will see its perishable goods facility expand by 50,000 square feet as a result of the project.

Residents concerned over Waxhaw PD’s communications tower
WAXHAW – Residents have spoken out against a communications tower that city planners want to build at the back corner of the Waxhaw Police Department to help with slow wireless Internet speeds.
The department has struggled with sluggish connectivity since town staff moved from town hall into the building in June, town staff urged.
Residents of Kingston on Providence, a subdivision that backs up to the police department, have spoken out at the Waxhaw Board of Commissioners meetings in response to a letter sent by town staff regarding the tower, which could be up to 80 feet tall and would require a variance of town ordinance to be voted on by the board.
Board members have tabled the issue for two consecutive meetings while planners gather more information about the residents’ concerns, which include health risks and the tower’s effect on nearby home values.
“I’m disappointed that we don’t have concise, transparent communication about the scope of work,” resident Shana Halajian told the board on Aug. 26. “None of the options are going to be temporary. Would you enjoy having that in front of your house?”
Mayor Daune Gardner said she wants more information about the tower before moving forward with a decision.
“A worrying trend that I’m concerned about is to tell everyone else to follow our rules exactly and then say, ‘We don’t have to,’” Gardner said. “We should be on the other side of that spectrum, as opposed to making variances for ourselves.”
Planners hope the tower will not only help communications for police and town staff, but also provide free wireless Internet for town resident.

County reaches settlement with Monroe Mall Crossings
MONROE – The Union County Board of Commissioners disclosed terms of a settlement resulting from a contract dispute between the county and Monroe Mall Crossings, LLC (MMC) on Aug. 18.
The county paid MMC a total of $65,000 after originally filing suit to claim a $20,000 return of deposit from the company.
The dispute began after the county bought a parcel of land from MMC and then terminated the contract after deciding the land was not suitable for county use.
MMC claimed the county did not have the right to terminate the contract and refused to return a $20,000 deposit. When the county sued MMC for the return of the money, MMC filed a countersuit alleging breach of contract.
The lawsuits were dismissed and settled on July 25. As required by statute, the county must disclose the amount of any settlement of such suits at a later date. In the agenda for the Aug. 18 Board of Commissioners meeting, the county disclosed that MMC was allowed to keep the $20,000 deposit and the county paid the company an additional $45,000 to settle the suit.

County extends Carolinas HealthCare System contract
MONROE – The Union County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to extend the existing contract with Carolinas HealthCare System one month on Aug. 18. The extension give county manager Cynthia Coto more time to work on negotiating a long-term deal with CHS.
Coto and other commissioners have been active since June working out a new contract to speed up EMS response times.
Following a slate of June community outreach meetings, Coto and commissioners went back to the drawing board after hearing negative feedback regarding their dynamic deployment model, which would station paramedics near high-traffic areas, where accidents and other emergencies most often occur. County residents are concerned that rural residents would be too vulnerable if emergency vehicles were stationed in the busier areas of the county.
The new extension will keep paramedics active through September while Coto and other county planners work on a new contract. Coto said she fully plans to have a new contract worked out and signed by the end of September based on where the talks are now.
“Things could always change, but I believe that’s a realistic deadline,” Coto said.

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