Catawba Small Area Plan
Committee Meeting for April 8, 2003

Members present: J.V. Huffman Jr. (Chair), Dean McGinnis, Margaret Garrison, Jeff Murray, Glenn Pattishall, Rick Young, Lanny Hartsoe, Christopher Niver, Todd Clark and Trent Cloninger.

Members absent: Jerry Setzer, Linda Moose and Charles Connor III.

Staff present: Jacky Eubanks and Rich Hoffman (Catawba County Planning Department), Anthony Starr and John Kenny [consultants, Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG)].

Other present: Corey Teague, City Planner, Claremont; Randy Williams, Planning Director, Conover.

Chair J.V. Huffman: Called the meeting to order at 7:05 PM in the Claremont City Hall. The minutes from the March 11, 2003 meeting were approved with a correction noted on page 2 paragraph 3 last sentence to read "If public water or school capacity are not available, then the lot size would be two-acres."


Mr. Teague: Discussed current planning initiatives within the City of Claremont:

  • 1999 Centennial Boulevard Corridor Development Plan
  • Adopted Flood plain Protection Ordinance recently
  • Wireless Telecommunication Facilities Ordinance currently under development
  • Land Development Plan currently under development with the first draft scheduled to go to City Council in July 2003.
  • Future plans include updating the Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances to include principles recommended in Land Development Plan.

An annexation boundary agreement map for the City of Claremont and Town of Catawba was handed out and explained.

Mr. McGinnis: The annexation boundary agreement helps with future growth plans and expansion of public utilities. Claremont focuses on industrial and commercial development. Annexation of residential areas is not a priority. The I-40 corridor is an area that the city is looking at for future commercial and/or industrial annexation since this area is not ideal for residential development. Residential annexation is considered when residents require public water and sewer.

Mr. Pattishall: Displayed a City of Newton zoning map. Land use in Newton is predominately residential. Zoning for mobile homes is available in four quadrants of the City, although recent zoning changes preclude singlewide mobile homes in the city limits. The county's 2-acre zoning has created infill development opportunities inside the city limits. Newton has no current plans for involuntary annexation. A 1988 annexation added approximately 3,000 acres and 3,000 people to the City limits in the Startown area. It added approximately $50 million to the tax base.

In the past, the central railroad corridor has developed in a linear pattern. Future growth will be to the west, towards US Hwy 321, the only high volume transportation route. Unlike most cities in Catawba County, Newton is an electric provider city. For this reason a premium power park is proposed near the city's water intake. This facility could attract a number of clean high-tech/large electric user industries that would benefit from a continuous power supply. Other issues impacting growth will be the widening of NC Hwy 16 and the Area Specific Plans.

The city has been divided into six distinct areas and will compile community plans, involving public input. These plans will develop on an on-going basis. Currently the St. Paul's Area Plan is being discussed. This area is surrounded by Hickory and Conover industrial zoning and is rural in nature. This area could provide good locations for a mix of land uses. Newton bases higher density in residential areas on floor area ratios, not a minimum number of lots. Newton has an interest in the county SAP's due to the abutting boundaries and sees this as an opportunity to coordinate plans.

The city's ability to expand is limited by its Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ). Thus far, the county has not agreed to extend city ETJs so unless the cities annex their growth will be limited. Newton has a legal annexation boundary agreement with Hickory and an unofficial agreement with Conover. Also, the city has the largest national historic district in the county (about 100 structures) but it is not regulated. The city is looking towards economic development for the future.

Current and recently completed planning initiatives include:

  • A land development plan, which will include amendments to the Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances after the Area Specific Plans are developed (a few years out).
  • Sidewalk project in downtown is complete.
  • Greenway plan in progress.
  • Industrial park off NC Hwy 10 is experiencing good growth.
  • Developing a new cemetery.
  • Non-profit downtown development committee working on a downtown plan to include landscaping, underground utilities, sidewalk, etc.
  • Erosion Control Ordinance in place.

Mr. Williams: Current and recently completed planning initiatives for Conover include:

  • Land Development Plan update.
  • Seven Small Area Plans completed. These are community-based planning initiatives where public input was sought.
  • Conceptual Development Plan that does not dictate development patterns but serves as a guide for developers.
  • NC Hwy 16 corridor development plan.

Outcomes of recent Conover planning initiatives include:

  • A focus on traditional versus conventional development. Traditional development patterns use interconnected streets focusing on central civic uses, with smaller lots, nearer town centers radiating out to larger lots away from the town center with large open spaces. In contrast, a conventional development will have more dead end cul-de-sacs off main roads.
  • A variety of housing types in new developments are encouraged.
  • New development is to be of the same scale as existing development for at least one block, to respect existing uses.
  • Neighborhood commercial buildings are designed and placed in appropriate locations. This helps prevent strip commercial development, ensure appearance standards and more pedestrian-friendly buildings.
  • Ideas from the Rosedale Development in Huntersville were used in the Conover Plan.
  • Open space is required in residential and commercial developments. The emphasis is on usable, visible and easily accessible open space, not open space that is hidden and virtually inaccessible with narrow, uninviting easements.
  • Greenways along flood plains.
  • Sidewalk plan implementation.
  • Construct loop water line systems. Water quality suffers with dead end lines.
  • Policy for sewer line extensions.

The water line coming from I-40 north is one of the reasons Conover has an interest in the development of this SAP.

Conover has an annexation boundary agreement with Hickory, Claremont and unofficially with Newton.

Mr. Clark: Displayed a zoning map for the Town of Catawba including the city and its ETJ. Currently the town is working on updating the Zoning Ordinance and it could be complete by June 2003. The city's goal is to be ready for more growth. Other recent factors influencing growth include:

  • The primary emphasis is for industrial development at the I-40/Oxford School Road interchange, not residential.
  • Capacity is an issue in the city's public water treatment plant. The wastewater treatment plant is only being 50% utilized, but it is a small plant and could fill up quickly with increased development.
  • Developers in Iredell County have approached the town with annexation discussions.
  • Recent voluntary annexation of the Harvey property.
  • The town is not aggressively pursuing annexation due to issues with public water and sewer capacity.
  • The town is also constrained by a large portion in the critical watershed requiring low-density development. There is a lot of interest in changing this to higher density.

Mr. Eubanks: The Catawba SAP is unique since it is bound by several municipalities, which will initiate urban issues for discussion by the Committee.

Mr. Kenny: Discussed the goals of the first community input meeting. To allow the public to bring ideas to the committee members. Three questions will be asked; 1) What do you like about the Catawba SAP study area, 2) your dislikes, 3) what is your future vision of the area? Mr. Kenny wanted the committee to begin thinking about serving as facilitators at the community meeting. The meeting format will consist of small group discussions with all the ideas presented for consideration and prioritization by those present. It is scheduled for May 20, 2003 from 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm at St. Mark's Lutheran Church, Family Life Center, in downtown Claremont.

The next regular Committee meeting is scheduled for May 13, 2003 at 7:00 pm at Claremont City Hall. John Tippett from the WPCOG will discuss transportation planning.

The meeting adjourned at 9:15 pm.