Balls Creek Small Area Planning Committee Meeting 
April 8, 2002 

Members present: Vance Dalton (chairman), Jerry McCombs, Phillip Beard, Nancy Smyre, Eddie Barringer, and Robert Couch. 

Members absent: Stanley Stewart, Eric Shook, Mike Rutledge, Paul Beatty (Planning Board liaison), Janice Morrow, Nancy Jo Teague, Robbie Bennett, and Michael Isenhour.

Staff present: Mary George and Rich Hoffman from the Catawba County Planning Department; John Kenny and Anthony Star, consultants from the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG).

Mr. Dalton: Called the meeting to order at 7:10 PM.  The minutes from the March 4, 2002 meeting were approved.

Mr. Kenny: Reviewed the draft plan.  He asked about page 3, number of farms.  Len McBride was the name given to Ms. George as a contact to obtain information on the number of farms and total acreage of farms in the study area.  Mr. Kenny discussed the Guiding Principles section, which is a combination of the committee and community input results.  He emphasized to the members to carefully review the draft and especially the Plan Recommendations.  The committee wanted to add the wording that the required internal open-space in the village area excludes the 30’ perimeter buffer.  They clarified this requirement to be 5% of the parcel or 10,000 square feet, whichever is greater. 

A map was displayed showing the revisions to the high and low-density areas.  

Ms. George: Mentioned that when we talk about lot size we are concerned with overall parcel density, not that each lot has to be a specific size.  This acknowledges the revisions to the Subdivision Ordinance that allows for clustering.  The committee wanted to add in clarification that clustering is allowed for density averaging.     

On page 6, the Committee agreed to delete the School House as a historic site to preserve since it is in a dilapidated condition.  

A discussion arose regarding tree requirements on the overall parcel versus on individual lots.  The committee agreed to not specify any tree requirements in the low-density areas (1 lot per 2-acres) and to create some requirements for vegetative buffers in the high-density areas (1 lot per 3/4 acre to 1 lot per 1 acre).  This would consist of retention of trees in the common open spaces as opposed to individual lots and a perimeter landscaped buffer for a “natural” feel.  Ms George mentioned the St. Stephens/Oxford SAP is considering a scale for required open-space depending on the density.  For example, high-density areas are required to dedicate 5% open-space, medium density areas to dedicate 7.5%, and low-density areas to dedicate 10%.     

Ms. George: Discussed ideas for protection of future right-of way by establishing an additional setback when new roads are proposed on adopted NCDOT thoroughfare plans.  This would be the area for additional right-of-way area when a new road is proposed to be widened.  Currently, when a new subdivision is proposed where it will be impacted by a future thoroughfare, the County requires the developer to incorporate the location of the roadway into the subdivision plan based on the adopted thoroughfare plan.  In the case of development (new structures) in areas of future right-of-way, all that staff can do is inform the owner that a new right-of-way is proposed and encourage them to build outside of the right-of-way.  If not, this can put the State in a position to have to buy the property when the right-of-way is being acquired by NCDOT. 

The committee had concerns for owners of small parcels where the additional right-of-way would create unbuildable lots.  In these cases it was felt that the County should not prevent the development of the parcel due to a future road widening.  This may be a good time for NCDOT to acquire the new right-of-way.  

The committee agreed to research a future setback ordinance, but did not want to impose one now.  If anything is imposed, then the committee also wanted to create incentives for property owners. 

The Office/Institutional section was discussed.  The committee agreed to delete the words “high-tech” and add the word “near” so the statement would read: “Pursue a high quality business park along the Highway 16 corridor near Highway 150”. 

The committee wanted to add under the Industrial section that industrial uses be focused in the Highway 321 Business corridor between Newton and Maiden. 

Ms. George: Began a discussion on housing.  The committee seemed to like the concept of attaching open-space requirements based on housing density.  The committee wanted to require 15% open-space in single-family subdivisions which can include the 30’ perimeter buffer and recreation areas. 

A discussion on residential rezoning to R-1 was brought up.  The committee qualified the areas recommended to stay R-2 that it would allow more affordable housing opportunities since these areas could be subdivided with more density thus more affordable lots.  The displayed map showed approximately 38% of the study area is zoned to allow for manufactured housing.

The next meeting is scheduled for May 6th, 2002.  The meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM.