Catawba Small Area Plan
Committee Meeting for November 11, 2003

Members present: J.V. Huffman, Chair; Ricky Young; Lanny Hartsoe; Margaret Garrison; Trent Cloninger; and Dean McGinnis.

Members absent: Glenn Pattishall; Christopher Niver; Jeff Murray; Linda Moose; Charles Connor III, Jerry Setzer.

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

Chair Huffman called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm.

Minutes of the October 14, 2003 meeting were approved.

Chair Huffman turned the meeting over to Anthony Starr who reviewed the last meeting's decisions with the Committee. They included: Guiding Principles for residential, which included three density requirements-low, medium, and high density. The medium density would include 1 acre lot requirements from Wike Rd. east to the River; 2 acre lot minimum for everything north of railroad; and all land south of railroad would require a minimum of ½ acre if water and sewer are available, ¾ acre if water is available and 1 acre if water and sewer was not available. The map will be updated showing all the new waterlines as they are currently installed. Other residential recommendations included landscaping /buffering; clustering design; providing open space; limiting driveway cuts; and encouraging traditional neighborhood design with rear alley entrances. Open space was recommended in the range of 5-15% for new subdivisions.

Under commercial land use recommendations, it was decided to adhere to the following appearance and design criteria: landscaped areas along road frontages and within parking areas; encourage parking to the rear of buildings; encourage mix use development in commercial nodes; and require sidewalks in mixed-use developments. Mr. Starr reviewed with the Committee the four neighborhood commercial nodes that they had recommended these nodes would allow highway business type uses with a site area of 10-25 acres with maximum gross leasable areas of 50,000 sq. ft. per lot. They had agreed upon a Community Center note at the Oxford School Rd. and I-40 interchange. This node should include 20-40 acres and be limited to a maximum leasable area of 100,000 sq. ft. The Committee agreed that some language would be added to state that this area was to be an entryway or gateway to the County and the region.

Mr. Starr stated that Office-Institutional uses could be included in the commercial center. Industrial uses should be focused in the I-40 Corridor between Claremont and Catawba and should be coordinated with the municipalities of Claremont and Catawba for the development of Business/Light Industrial Park.

Mr. John Kenny next discussed with the Committee their recommendations for housing. He discussed single family housing and reviewed the two major recommendations. Number one was that residential subdivisions should incorporate the following design criteria: landscaping/buffering; the option of cluster subdivision design; open space provided in a subdivision; limit driveway cuts off major roads; and encourage traditional neighborhood design with rear alley entrances. The number two recommendation was the development of higher density single-family housing should only occur where appropriate infrastructure and services exist or are planned. He also stated that the Committee recommended the possibility of developing a countywide minimum housing standard, which should apply to single-family, multi-family housing and rental housing, with standards limiting the number of individuals inhabiting a single-dwelling unit.

Concerning multi-family, Mr. Kenny stated that duplexes could be allowed as a permitted use in all residential districts regardless of the availability of water or sewer infrastructure. Multi-family housing should be limited to areas where both county/municipal water and sewer are available or planned in the immediate future.

Mr. Kenny said that in reference to manufactured homes the Committee had recommended 76.9% of the land to be rezoned to R-1, which allows for stick-built or modular homes and 17.8% to be rezoned to R-3, which allows for doublewide manufactured homes, modular homes and site built homes. He stated that the basis for this proposed rezoning is to preserve the rural character of the community with its larger tracts and scenic views along Hwy. 70. He reminded the Committee that the singlewide mobile homes currently located in this planning area would be grandfathered and would be able to be replaced if residents wanted to.

A large parcel of property located on J.T. Possie Dr. was brought up by a Committee member and the fact that it was zoned industrial. Ms. George was asked to check out this parcel to find out why it was zoned this way for possible consideration of changing it to residential to be consistent with all adjacent zoning.

Mr. Kenny stated that the Committee had recommended encouraging retirement living in the Oxford School Road/I-40 area where a mix of uses is proposed. Retirement housing would also be an alternative at the other commercial nodes if infrastructure was available.

Mr. Starr then discussed Community Facilities and Public Services section; he reviewed an informational map that showed the school boundary lines for this SAP. He reviewed school capacity for each of the schools that served this area. Mr. Kenny stated that before the next meeting they will revise the combined chart for Riverbend Middle and Bunker Hill High that showed the 1st Month Enrollment to make into two separate charts. These charts will also be changed to give future projections instead of past figures.

Mr. Kenny then discussed Parks and Greenways stating that there is no municipal or county owned parks within this study area; however, the Historical Association does own and operate Connor's Park with Bunker Hill Covered Bridge. Riverbend Park (located in the St. Stephens/Oxford SAP area) was mentioned, as well as Baker's Mountain Park, which are both owned and operated by the County. It was decided to add Francis Sigmon Park, located in Claremont, because it had two large ballfields, bathrooms and storage building and is often used by the public.

Mr. Starr stated that the County has a well established library system with six branch libraries. This study area is served by three of those branches - Newton, Claremont, and Conover. Most of the study area is located within a 3-mile primary service area of a library. All of the study area is within the secondary 6-mile service area.

Concerning water service Mr. Starr informed the Committee that the City of Hickory, City of Conover, City of Newton, City of Claremont and Catawba County have extended water service to portions of the Catawba study area. He said that the City of Hickory recently purchased the Town of Catawba's water and sewer system. A waterline down Boggs Rd. to Hwy. 10 was not shown on the map furnished to the Committee, but will be included in revisions. He stated that a water line extension is planned along Hwy. 10 from the Town of Catawba to the I-40 interchange. He stated that a Utilities Advisory Committee has been formed to include the County and all the cities involved to address water and sewer issues throughout the County. Mr. Starr stated that a Claremont sewer plant is located on McLin Creek, south of B & B Road and can serve most of this study area. He also stated that this facility will be added to the map.

Concerning Emergency Services, Mr. Starr stated that most of this study area is served by the County's Sheriff Dept. with Claremont and Catawba doing the EMS/Rescue service with Newton EMS as backup. .

Mr. Starr reviewed Guiding Principles for Schools and what they would like to see addressed: They agreed to the two mentioned in the draft. Mr. Starr reminded the Committee that presently subdivision lot sizes in the County were based upon school capacity. He said some of the other SAP groups have released this requirement and he wanted to know if this committee wanted to do this. The Committee agreed to release the school capacity requirement. Another issue discussed by other small area planning committees was exploring the concept of impact fees to be used for school. A fee charged for each new house would to be set aside and given to schools impacted by this particular home being built. Ms. George informed the Committee that legislation was already in place for Catawba County to collect these fees if it so chose. She said that different rates for single family, multi-family, etc. could be charged based on their impacts. Impact fees are currently not charged in Catawba County.

Concerning Parks and Greenways, three additional recommendations were added to the two presented in the plan, which included: 1) formulate public/private partnerships for recreational facilities 2) establish a greenway along Lyle Creek with Phase I being from the I-40 Rest area to Bunkers Hill Covered Bridge, maintained as a passive park; and 3) work with towns, YMCA or churches to bus children to recreational services/programs.

Mr. Kenny discussed Libraries and the two principles listed and the Committee was in agreement with the two presented.

Concerning Water/Sewer services, the Committee added the following to the two recommendations already proposed: 1) connect the waterline along Emmanuel Church Rd. to Hwy. 10; 2) encourage the Utilities Advisory Board to make decisions that would benefit all in the County. Take a "cooperative" regional approach to planning of future water and sewer infrastructure.

Regarding Emergency Services, the Committee agreed to the one recommendation shown in the report: maintain and expand existing levels of service.

Mr. Starr stated that he needed to discuss the next public meeting concerning its final plan. Staff would like to schedule this meeting on Tuesday, January 13th. This date was in agreement with the Committee. They will be given handouts at the December meeting to place throughout the community concerning this meeting.

The next regular scheduled meeting for this Committee will be December 9, 2003.

The meeting adjourned at 8:52 pm.