Catawba Small Area Plan
Committee Meeting for February 11, 2003

Members present: Dean McGinnis, Margaret Garrison, Glenn Pattishall, Rick Young, Lanny Hartsoe, Trent Cloninger, Christopher Niver, Jerry Setzer, Jeff Murray and Todd Clark.

Members absent: J.V. Huffman Jr. (Chair), Linda Moose and Charles Connor III

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

Vice-Chair Margaret Garrison: Called the meeting to order at 7:06 PM in the Claremont City Hall. The minutes from the last meeting were approved. She mentioned that viewing the adjoining Small Area Plans already drafted on the County's website could help the committee.

Ms. George: Mentioned that Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan will be going before the Board of Commissioners on February 17, 2003 and this could be an educational meeting if anyone is interested.

Various committee members displayed their pictures from the photo exercise.

Ms. George displayed pictures from Ms. Moose, which included:
1) Schools and churches which contributed to a sense of community - like.
2) Remodeling of commercial building. Good example of reuse of existing structure - like.
3) Hwy 70 - new road (Tate Blvd. Extension), allows more capacity - like.
4) Traffic issues in Conover - dislike.
5) Sofa in residential front yard - dislike.
6) Conover Street lights - like.
7) Stagnated pooling of water near road - dislike.
8) Vacancy building in County, need to try and reuse - dislike.

Ms. George displayed pictures from Mr. Connor, which included:
1) Landscaped area in residential neighborhood - like.
2) Pedestrian crossing in front of Charlie's restaurant - like.
3) High-density in mobile home park - dislike.
4) Clearing of stream bank, results in erosion - dislike.

Ms. Garrision displayed her pictures, which included:
1) Zebulon Drive (as an example of road conditions). Pitted pavement, substandard neighborhood with no recreation amenities especially for kids - dislike.
2) Claremont post office to be relocated
3) Drainage issues at roadways (pooling water) - dislike.
4) Vacant commercial buildings - dislike.
5) Bethlehem Church and St. Marks, good examples of day care and pre-school with outside play grounds for kids - like.
6) Claremont Elementary needs more capacity, no more mobile classrooms - dislike.
7) Claremont Library, a good community asset - like.
8) Good police protection in area.
9) CommScope, a good industrial site. View from the road does not identify as a typical industrial use and blends well with the area.
10) Bunker Hill Covered Bridge, new Fire Department, new Town Hall - all good examples of community sites and uses.
11) Maintain rural spaces.
12) Area has good traffic patterns, strive to maintain.

Mr. Cloninger displayed his pictures, which included:
1) Hwy 70 treescape - like.
2) Industrial park at new Hwy 70. Shows good use of access road lined with trees.
3) Lyle Creek Elementary School shows good use of turn lanes. School is far enough off the State Road, which reduces traffic impact - like.
4) Large lot mobile home park as opposed to high-density compact design. Not a bad design if mobile home parks are needed.
5) Hand drawn residential and commercial signs - dislike.
6) Development on Swinging Bridge Road. Lots too small. Would prefer open-space requirements in high-density developments with areas for play ground amenities for kids.
7) Avoid clear cutting of large parcels with no plans to develop. This creates areas where brush and weeds grow up.
8) Turn lane in front of truck stop on Rock Barn Road - bad location. Exit 138 is the last undeveloped exit in the County. We should be proactive with future road design plans at this site.
9) River Bend Middle and Bunker Hill High School are too close together creating traffic congestion - dislike.

Mr. Young displayed his pictures, which included:
1) Fox Hollow and Clark's Creek subdivisions road conditions. Pitted road surfaces - dislike.
It was noted by Ms. George that these subdivisions pre-dated County requirements for paved roads.
2) Area needs a park for kids and walking.
Mr. Clark mentioned that a grant has been applied for to rehab the "Lions Club Park" to include a 50/50 matching of funds.

Mr. Laney displayed his pictures, which included:
1) Stop clear-cutting all trees on large parcels - dislike.
2) Farmland area/ rural character - like
3) Loose trash in front of businesses getting loose - dislike.
4) Too much density in some residential developments - dislike.
5) Some mobile home parks with double-wides and paved roads are declining - dislike.
Can something be done?

Mr. Murray displayed his pictures, which included:
1) Advertising signs on light poles - dislike.
2) What to do with abandoned old buildings, i.e., old Lowe's on Hwy 70 - dislike.
It was mentioned that the old Lowe's is owned by Wal-Mart and they plan on expanding on this site.
3) It takes too much time to replace stop signs that get knocked over - dislike.
4) Need more storm water controls, i.e., stagnated water in front of Lowe's as an example - dislike.
5) A camper acting as a replacement for a burned down residence - dislike.
6) Businesses conflicting with residential areas - dislike
7) GDS garbage pick-up. A good process utilizing a large roll out container one day a week - like.
8) Church growth is good for the area. This helps develop working relationships within the community.
9) Historic sites such as Bunker Hill Covered Bridge and Murray's Mill are good community assets.
10) Reflective street signs and addresses - like.
11) Need to continue to support local family businesses - like.
12) City park in Claremont - like.
13) Community outreach is positive in area, i.e., churches working together to create a thrift shop out of an old farmhouse planned for demolition.

Mr. Nivers displayed his pictures, which included:
1) Open-space areas and good recreation areas for kids - like.
2) Downtown Conover; buildings close to streets (parking in rear), sidewalks, street lights and bike paths - like.
3) A duplex that has the appearance of a single-family home - like.
4) Houses with side entrance garage take the focus off the automobile and more on the residence - like.
5) Commercial dumpsters enclosed with opaque screening - like.
6) High density mobile home parks - dislike. Require storage buildings to minimize toys, garbage in yards.
7) Too much asphalt in strip plazas. Need to break up pavement with landscaping and create some rear parking requirements.
8) High-density neighborhoods with common open-space and homes closer to the street for a sense of community and walkability - like.
9) Double frontage lots create traffic congestion issues - dislike.
10) Overhead wires in downtowns - dislike.

Mr. Setzer displayed his pictures, which included:
1) Strive to support local businesses. Examples included Southern Furniture and Smith Setzer & Sons.
2) Fire Department, Masonic Temple, Hickory Airport and Ramada Inn - good community services and uses.
3) I-40, railroad, airport - examples of good transportation network in the County.
4) Turn signals timing in area - like.
5) Residential developments with ample space between homes - like.
6) Rock Barn Golf Course, sail boats on Lake Norman and Hickory Crawdads Stadium provide good recreation opportunities - like.
7) Open-space to secure natural wildlife habitats - like.
8) Murray's Mill and Old County Courthouse in Downtown Newton are good examples of historic landmarks. Strive to preserve them and others.
9) St. James Lutheran Church - like.
10) Display of American Flag at People's Bank - like.
11) Cemeteries at churches - like.

Another general comment included to strive to keep large employers near business environments.

Mr. McGinnis: Claremont is an industrial city. The City's policies encourage being able to walk to industrial sites. Where residential subdivisions are developed the idea is to concentrate those neighborhoods near industrial sites. Claremont is striving to become an urban community with higher-density developments to include public water and sewer. Mixed-use is a focus.

Mr. Setzer: Public sewer should be a municipal venture when areas require it. It should not be up to the County to provide.

Mr. Eubanks: The Board of Commissioners adopted as one of their goals to re-write the County's Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances to implement the Small Area Plan recommendations. As the County adjoins the municipalities the County will look for uniformity with neighboring plans.

The next meeting is scheduled for March 11, 2003 at 7:00 PM at Claremont City Hall. Zoning, subdivision regulations, long-range planning ideas and the other Small Area Plans will be discussed.

A schedule of the upcoming meetings was discussed including the format for the community input meeting. May 20th was decided as a first choice and May 22nd as a back up for the community input meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 8:22 PM.