Catawba Small Area Plan
Committee Meeting for July 8, 2003 
 

Members present: J. V. Huffman, Jr. (Chair), Lanny Hartsoe, Dean McGinnis, Margaret Garrison, Todd Clark, Ricky Young, Jerry Setzer and Jeff Murray.

Members absent: Glenn Pattishall, Christopher Niver, Linda Moose, Charles Conner III, and Trent Cloninger

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

Chair Huffman called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm in the Claremont City Hall Council Room. The minutes from the June 10, 2003 meeting were approved as submitted.

Mr. Kenny reviewed with the Committee the draft transportation section and Map 7. The following issues were discussed regarding the draft section.

The Committee discussed the previously suggested idea that community gateways be established. Mr. Eubanks suggested that the area, particularly the Oxford School Road exit on I-40, could serve as a gateway for Catawba County and the Unifour Region. The committee agreed that a sign with a slogan should be installed letting the traveling public know that they are entering the County/Region.

Mr. Setzer discussed the possibility of changing the traffic light and how it operates at the intersection of Highway 10 and Bethany Church Rd.

Mr. Kenny discussed the possible designation of a scenic highway designation for Highway 10 from Murrays Mill Road into Catawba and along Hwy 10 (Oxford School Road) from Catawba to I-40. The Committee agreed with the suggestion citing the opportunity to connect with scenic byway designations proposed in the Balls Creek SAP.

Mr. Eubanks stated that from a safety standpoint he would like to see the number of driveways reduced along main roads. Mr. Starr suggested that alleyways could be an answer to this problem. An alley is a narrow right-of-way (approximately 20 feet wide) located at the rear of a lot where the property owner would enter his property. These roads are usually 12-foot wide paved driveways that are maintained by the property owners or a homeowners association. The Committee agreed that requirements for alleys should be developed to reduce driveway cuts along thoroughfares.

The Committee also agreed to recommend amending the County Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances to require that all new driveways connecting to arterial and collector streets be at least 12-feet wide for the 20-feet of length with a minimum 3-foot turning radius. This includes Bethany Church Rd., NC Hwy. 10, US. Hwy. 70, Old Catawba Rd. and Emmanuel Church Rd.

Mr. Kenny discussed two proposed recommendations concerning pedestrian section that included:

1) Determining the feasibility of a greenway from the Bunker Hill Covered Bridge to the rest area on I-40 (eastbound side).
2) Determining the feasibility of a greenway from the Bunker Hill Covered Bridge along Lyle Creek to the Town of Catawba and then on to the Catawba River.

Mr. Clarke informed the Committee that the Town of Catawba had received a grant to refurbish and assume ownership of a park along the Lyle Creek. Mr. Starr told the Committee that the Town of Catawba already had flood zoning established along Lyle Creek to preserve land for a greenway if one were to be established.

A greenway was explained to the Committee members as being anything from a walkway, cart path to a wide area that is just mowed or landscaped. A question was asked about security and if this could be a problem. Mr. Starr replied that sometimes residents near the greenway have concerns about security. However, with proper design and patrol, security usually is not a problem. In fact, studies indicate that property owners along greenways enjoy an increase in the value of their property by about 2 to 4 percent.

Ms. Garrison was concerned about the security of a greenway and how this could be managed. She was told by Mr. Starr that greenways were normally not open at nights and could be designed with or without lights depending on the needs of the situation.

Mr. Clark stated that due to the rural character of this area, he was concerned that the greenway could be used by motorized recreational vehicles (motorcycles, four-wheelers, etc.). Mr. Starr stated that patrol and design would be the key issue in preventing such abuse.

Mr. Kenny stated that the more people who use these greenways, the safer they would be.

It was the consensus of the Committee section from the Bunker Hill Covered Bridge to the rest area on I-40 be developed as the first phase of the greenway.

Mr. Kenny reviewed the remaining portions of the draft transportation section.

Mr. Starr spoke to the Committee concerning land uses in the Catawba Small Area and reviewed Map 3 - Catawba Small Area Plan Current Zoning. He explained the differences of the three residential zones and stated that most of this area is zoned R-2 residential (low-density residential development permitting modular homes, site-built homes, as well as single and double wide manufactured homes). He also pointed out on the map that there were some large undeveloped tracts of land located along the Catawba River and I-40. He told the Committee that commercial activity in this area is very sparse with scattered businesses existing along Highway 10 at the intersections of Mt. Olive Church Rd., Bethany Church Rd. and Boggs Rd. Concerning industrial uses, Mr. Starr stated that there is only one company located on Highway 10 at Murrays Mill Road at the present time. He informed the Committee that much of this study area is subject to State mandated water supply watershed regulations and is located in a WS-IV Protected and/or Critical Area. He explained to the Committee exactly what these two watersheds were and what their specific regulations required in reference to present and future commercial and industrial development in this area.

Mr. Eubanks informed the Committee that the trend of the adjoining SAP committees thus far have been to approve plans that recommend greatly reducing the area zoned R-2. The other SAP Committees were greatly concerned about the number of singlewides in their areas, so their recommendations were to rezone the properties in their areas to R-1 zoning, which allows only stick-built and modular homes. He said they also needed to consider this option.

Mr. Kenny reminded those present that the number of mobile homes had decreased dramatically since 1996 when the County enacted its new Mobile Home Regulations/Criteria.

Mr. Starr reviewed Map 4 - Catawba Small Area Plan Current Land Uses - with the Committee. He said that this is just an informational map for them to use to help in their decision-making. He informed the Committee members if there were any uses not shown on this map they knew about, they needed to let him know, so they could be added.

Mr. Starr reviewed the land use guiding principles. The Committee agreed to add or change the following: (changes or additions are underlined)

Residential

Balance growth with the community's rural character
Organize and plan residential development
Encourage aesthetically pleasing subdivision design
Promote affordable housing for people in all stages of life
Reserve open space in new subdivisions

Commercial

Target commercial growth to appropriate areas
Pursue incentives to encourage on quality, community-oriented businesses
Require more aesthetically pleasing designs for commercial uses
Buffer residential areas from commercial uses
Encourage quality mixed-use development on appropriate sites

Office Institutional

As with commercial uses, require more aesthetically pleasing designs and buffers from residential areas

Industrial

Target industrial growth within the study area to specific, appropriate sites

Open Space

Preserve open space, pastures and scenic views
Support and encourage agricultural uses
Protect natural resources

Mr. Starr reviewed Map #6 (Future Land Use Recommendations) with the Committee and stated that it was blank in the Catawba SAP area because they would be adding their recommendations. He stated that it showed the neighboring SAP recommendations and where they overlapped. Some of the specific overlaps from the Balls Creek SAP were Highway 10 and Boggs Rd. and Bethany Church Rd. and Highway 10. Both intersections have been designated Neighborhood Commercial. The intersection of Mt. Olive Church Rd. and Hwy. 10 had been designated as Village - Mixed Use. Also, the St. Stephens Small Area Plan designated the I-40 interchange at Oxford School Road as Community Commercial. Community Commercial allows large scale shopping centers. They also recommended the area along I-40 from Oxford School Road toward Conover to allow industrial and manufacturing uses because they felt residential development would not be the most appropriate use along I-40. In closing he asked the Committee members to think about these designations by the other Plans and determine whether these recommendations are something they wanted to support in their Plan. In addition he told the Committee to think about other areas within their SAP that they may want to assign a non-residential classification.

Mr. Starr stated that Map #5 was the proposed density districts. Again the Committee would develop recommendations for their area. Information about what other SAP's had recommended was included on the map. Residential densities will be discussed at a future meeting.

The Committee will continue the land use discussion at the next meeting scheduled for Tuesday, August 11th at 7:00 p.m.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:07 pm.