Balls Creek Small Area Planning Committee Meeting – May 7, 2001

Members present: Robert Crouch, Eddie Barringer, Nancy Jo Teague, Michael Isenhour, Nancy Smyre, Janice Morrow, Jerry McCombs and Vance Dalton (Chairman).

Members absent: Paul Beatty (Planning Board liaison), Robbie Bennett, Stanley Stewart, and Mike Rutledge.

Staff present: Mary George and Richard Smith from the Catawba County Planning and Community Development Department, and Susan Bauman from the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG).

Mr. Dalton called the meeting to order at 7:15 p.m.

Minutes from the last meeting were approved.

Mrs. George informed the group about Mr. Dove leaving the County to accept a job as the Deputy Mayor of St. Petersburg, Florida.  Mrs. George introduced Ms. Susan Bauman from the WPCOG and informed the group that the COG would be serving as our consultant for this group.

Mr. Dalton started the meeting with the photo exercise and showed the group his pictures, pointing out his likes and dislikes.  He pointed out that a characteristic that he likes is houses that sit off of the road and open space in the form of pastures.  He also pointed out that he liked the concept of a one-acre mobile home lot that he had photographed.  He also said that although CommScope is not located in this planning area, he likes the way that their buildings are set back off of the road and seems to disturb very little, while providing good income and employment to the County.

He then went over his dislikes and showed the group various pictures that depicted things that to him are somewhat of an eyesore.  One of his dislikes included a mobile home park that was “gaggled” together.  Another dislike was a junkyard that really stood out.  Overall his likes were open areas that were neatly laid out and his dislikes were areas that were somewhat cluttered.

Ms. Smyre reviewed her pictures with the group.  She said that recently there were two cattle farmers that had sold their businesses out and she was afraid that this might end up being the trend since it seems more and more difficult for farmers to make a living.  Her likes were pastures, farmlands, and open space.  Her dislikes were one-family and two-family dwellings being built on lots that seemed too small and too close to the road.

Mr. McCombs reviewed his photographs with the group.  He emphasized that he likes houses that have good landscaping and beautification.  He had several pictures of yards and houses that were clean and well manicured.  He said that he likes farms, but he likes farms that are well maintained.  He pointed out an abandoned vehicle as one of his dislikes.  He emphasized that he thought that the abandoned vehicle ordinance in Washington, D.C. was ideal because if a car did not have a tag it could not be parked on your property.  His pictures that fell into the dislike category included cluttered, junky yards and structures that were somewhat dilapidated.

Ms. Teague reviewed her photographs and pointed out her likes and dislikes to the group.  She pointed out an entrance to a subdivision (Barringer Woods) that she thought was something very desirable and appealing.  She also emphasized open space and well-groomed lots.  As her dislikes, she pointed out a house that had partially burned and was left standing.

Mrs. George reviewed Mr. Beatty’s pictures that he had taken for the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning Committee photo exercise.  She pointed out that historic characteristics are something that the group will need to be mindful of while establishing their plan.  She showed where Mr. Beatty had emphasized that scenic views were something that should be preserved in this area, like the Buffalo Shoals area or Balls Creek Valley. 

She said that three more cameras were turned in at tonight’s meeting, so there would be a few more photo presentations at the next meeting.  Mr. Dalton said that he liked this exercise because it made you look at the area from a different perspective.  Mrs. George emphasized that this exercise would be used continually by the group as a reference for what they did and did not want to see in this area.

The group briefly discussed Code Enforcement and the need for more of it in this area.

Mrs. George said that next the group would review the transportation topics that were discussed at the last meeting.  She reviewed the intersections that were identified by the group as needing some kind of improvement.  The total was six intersections that needed improvements.  She also went over the areas that were identified for bike lanes and gateway improvements.  Another gateway that was identified by the group tonight was that of Hwy. 16 and Balls Creek Road. 

East and West Bandys Roads were identified as roads that need to be widened due to safety reasons.  Ms. Teague identified North Olivers Crossroads as also needing improvements especially in the curve.  The intersection of East Maiden Road and NC Highway 150 was identified by Ms. Morrow as needing improvements because of how unsafe it is especially for drivers coming off of East Maiden Road onto Highway 150.   Other improvements identified were widening of Smyre Farm Road and Love Road, especially at the bridge.  Balls Creek Road was also identified as an additional bicycle route as well as Hwy. 10 and W. Bandys Crossroad.

Mrs. George asked the group for any other transportation improvements that they may have at this time.  She then reviewed the recommendations that were being made by the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning Committee in regards to transportation.

Mrs. George then reviewed the transportation statistics for this area, including traffic counts and existing conditions.  She reviewed two handouts with this information included on them.  She explained to the group how these numbers could be used to plan better for the roads in this area.  She told the group that the major transportation improvement project for this area is the four-lane construction of NC Highway 16.  She told the group about the plans of the Charlotte Area Transit System to coordinate routes in the Mooresville area and that this could also be an indication of the possibilities of such a link being provided to this area.

Mrs. George explained how the information that was discussed in the photo exercises would be compiled along with the Community Input Meeting outcomes to devise the plan for this planning area.  She then reviewed the current zoning map for this area with the group.  The group discussed the possibilities of protecting the corridor of the new Highway 16 since it is such a big corridor and will impact this area tremendously.  Mrs. George explained nonconformities to the group and that this was something that the group would need to decide how they would deal with these when devising their plan.

Mrs. George commended the group on the progress that they had already made thus far regarding the transportation issues for this area.  She told the group that they were further along in this process than the other groups were when they encountered this topic.

Mr. Dalton said that the next item on the agenda for the members to decide was the meeting place for the Community Input Meeting.  Mrs. George explained the planning process that would be used (small group facilitation) for this meeting.  The group decided that the best meeting place for the Community Input Meeting would be Balls Creek Elementary School.  Mrs. George told the members that they would need to come up with a target meeting date and an alternate date due to scheduling. 

The group decided on Monday, July 23, 2001 as the primary date for the Community Input Meeting and Thursday, July 26, 2001 as the alternate date.  The meeting will start at 7:00 pm and the members were asked to arrive at the meeting one hour prior to the start time.  The group decided to have the Community Input Meeting in lieu of the regular planning meeting for July.

The group will continue the photo exercise at the next meeting and discuss land use issues.  The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 4, 2001.

Mr. Dalton adjourned the meeting at 8:57pm.