Cabarrus

Decayed piers face removal

Old docks are deteriorating into Lake Norman off Cornelius Road near Mooresville, presenting what one resident calls a danger to unsuspecting swimmers and boaters.

Britt Walden wants whoever's responsible to repair the piers. They are off land where a lakefront development called Magnolia Bays is planned.

Walden lives on Tennessee Circle, several miles northwest of the piers, but sees them every time he drives Cornelius Road.

"It's uncalled for," Walden said as he inspected the piers with an Observer reporter on May 28.

The piers are off Pinto and Preston roads and Homer Lane, all of which are near where Cornelius Road crosses the lake, in a section identified on maps as Cornelius Creek.

Charlotte-based Clarion Realty Inc. is planning the 22-lot Magnolia Bays community off Preston and Cornelius roads and Homer Lane, according to its website, www.clarionrealtyinc.com. Lots range from $350,000 to $900,000. The company has filed septic tank permits for three- and four-bedroom homes.

David Holmes, who's listed on Clarion's website as the real estate agent for Magnolia Bays, said the company intends to remove the decrepit piers and is working with Duke Energy officials on where it can put replacement docks.

Duke Energy spokesman Jason Walls said Duke notified the property owner that the piers need to be repaired or removed.

As part of its federal relicensing for the power plants it operates on the lake, Duke developed a shoreline management plan that shows where piers can be developed, Walls said.

The owner of most of the land off Preston and Cornelius roads and Homer Lane is a company identified as "SLF II-Hwy 360+Camp Wisdom," according to computerized land maps at the Iredell County Department of Tax Administration and Land Records in Statesville.

The company is based in Dallas, Texas, according to its filing with the N.C. Secretary of State's corporations division in Raleigh. Efforts to reach officials with the firm were unsuccessful last week.

Walden also walked with an Observer reporter onto decaying piers along nearby Pinto Road. A sunken boat was in the water. Poles that appeared to have been part of a dock that was no longer there jutted from the water. A loose plank floated in the lake. A nearby dock was warped and had loose railing.

"This land isn't blocked off," Walden said. "Kids could come out here and literally lose their lives."

Rameses Development LLC of Salisbury owns the lakefront property along Pinto, according to the county's land maps. Leo Wallace of Rameses Development was out of the office last week, and efforts to reach him were unsuccessful.

Faster way set to obtain permits

Cornelius, Davidson and Huntersville businesses now have access to what local economic development officials call more customer-friendly permitting, including a commercial occupancy checklist.

The nonprofit Lake Norman Regional Economic Development Corp. brought various governmental agencies together over the past year to work on a faster way to process permit applications. It gathered feedback from architects, engineers and developers.

The new permitting process began last week in the towns.

Copies of the checklist and a new communications plan are available at www.lakenormanregion.com. Or call the towns' planning departments at 704-892-6031 (Cornelius), 704-940-9618 (Davidson) or 704-875-6541 (Huntersville).

UNC Charlotte moves into biotechnology hub

UNCCharlotte has opened a "bioinformatics" research center in the North Carolina Research Campus core laboratory building.

Bioinformatics is the application of statistics and computer science to the field of molecular biology.

Cory Brouwer, who joined the university recently, will oversee UNCC's scientific research at the biotechnology research center as director of bioinformatics services.

Brouwer has a doctorate in molecular biology from Iowa State University and worked for the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, heading a computational sciences group in the United Kingdom

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