You need to know. That’s one of the great things about newspapers, and one of the horrible things about the decline of newspapers. Information and knowledge is power, and a strong newspaper empowers its community.

Before we dive into today’s Friday Five, I want to take time to thank you for reading and subscribing to our newspaper. Without you, we wouldn’t exist. I want to especially thank those of you who have persevered even when we’ve dropped the ball on delivery and when we’ve been a little late getting something into the paper.

This is your newspaper as much as it is BH Media’s (our parent company). We always appreciate your help and input.

No. 1

A wealth of useful information. A couple of weeks ago, I told you about the Dollar Tree on South Union and mentioned that there hadn’t been a lot of complaints like the folks over on Pitts School Road, who don’t like the new Dollar General being built.

One of our readers responded, saying she would have complained had she known about it.

Once upon a time, The Daily Independent, The Concord Tribune and, later, The Independent Tribune would have been at nearly every government meeting. That’s simply not possible now, given the fact that we have two reporters and one editor covering a community of 211,000 people.

Here is what is possible: Keep an eye out for zoning/rezoning signs and notices. Every municipality in Cabarrus County now has extensive websites, complete with maps and notices about issues coming up. If it is something that is concerning, contact me or one of our reporters.

Had the upset folks off Pitts School Road looked at a zoning map before buying their houses, they would have known a store was a possibility.

Many of the issues being considered by Planning and Zoning are relatively mundane. For example, the Cabarrus County Planning and Zoning Commission meets Tuesday and will consider creating a lot on Brandon Roberts’ property on Legacy Lane, on the south side of Tuckaseegee Road. I doubt anyone has a lot of interest in that except maybe Roberts’ family and immediate neighbors. You can read all the details among 42 pages of documents posted on the Cabarrus County website.

Here are some of the other up-coming meetings: Concord Planning and Zoning, Oct. 15; Concord Board of Adjustment, Oct. 22; and Mount Pleasant Planning and Zoning, Oct. 29.

No. 2

Land-use plans and zoning maps. If you want to know what the government thinks should happen in and around your neighborhood, look at zoning maps and land-use plans that are online and also available in their offices.

As I scanned a couple of planning sites today, one that jumped off the page is the land-use plan for Mount Pleasant. There were a couple of bright-red spots at the edge of the map, along Cold Springs Road at N.C. 49.

The town describes the red spots as future high-intensity uses: “This land use classification is intended to accommodate high-density residential uses of between 4 to 8 dwelling units an acre and a wide variety of civic, institutional, retail, service and office uses. These areas are immediately adjacent to major transportation corridor intersections where utility infrastructure is readily available.”

We’re all interested to see what happens here. Across Cold Springs Road is where the entertainment complex sign is, and just down N.C. 49, a new sign popped up in the last couple of weeks for the hotel complex beside the Cabarrus Arena that has been discussed. It’s now being called “Arena Commons.”

The sign says Whip’d Properties and Don Deason Co. are bringing a convenience store, restaurants, retail and family entertainment, with outparcels available.

There are a couple of issues that will have to be addressed before the projects can go forward: sewer capacity/availability and zoning. The hotel and entertainment property is within the city of Concord’s zoning jurisdiction.

Stay alert and stay tuned.

No. 3

New pet-supply store. Meanwhile, back on the busy west side, more businesses and construction continue. The Pet Supermarket is now open in front of the Harris-Teeter at the corner of Poplar Tent Road and George Liles Parkway.

Pet Supermarket is a chain, with more than 200 stores in seven states. There are 15 in North Carolina, including shops in Mooresville, Matthews and Charlotte.

It appears to be smaller than the PetSmarts and Petcos, and similar to Pet Supplies Plus.

I don’t go into the pet shops much anymore. I miss the pet store at the mall. The stores were smaller and packed wall to wall with kitties, puppies and fish. It was always so much fun to see how cute all the animals were.

No. 4

New restaurant coming. SilverLake Ramen has a sign up at Christenbury Corners, on the Lowe’s Home Improvement side of Concord Mills Boulevard.

It will be the first location outside California. There are several out West, including in Concord, California. The company’s website describes SilverLake Ramen as being “a lowkey Japanese noodle bar.”

The photos of the food look really good.

No. 5

Happy and sad. Congratulations to Erin Kidd, whose last day with the newspaper is today. She is leaving for a better job. Erin has written hundreds of stories in her time here and won several N.C. Press Association awards.

We are sad to see her go, especially with the joy and lighthearted attitude that lifted us all. When there was party or celebration, she led the way, or if we just needed to be picked up. I am sure many of you who have met her know what we mean.

We are thrilled for her, but know that she will leave big shoes to be filled by the next reporter.

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