Catawba Small Area Plan
Committee Meeting for January 14, 2003
 

Members present: J.V. Huffman Jr. (Chair), Jerry Setzer, Jeff Murray, Rick Young, Trent Cloninger, Lanny Hartsoe, Linda Moose, Glenn Pattishall, Charles Connor III, Margaret Garrison and Dean McGinnis.

Member absent: Chris Niver

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

Others present: Peggy and Douglas Smith.

Chair J.V. Huffman called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM in the Claremont City Hall. Members and staff introduced themselves.

Mr. Eubanks: Discussed expectations and the process of comprehensive planning. It provides an opportunity for citizens to create a vision of future growth for a region. The Small Area Planning process is one of the 16 strategies to come out of the 1999 Strategic Growth Plan (SGP) accepted by the County Board of Commissioners (BOC). Planning is a dynamic process where ideas can change over time. Plans need to be evaluated periodically in order to ensure that they are carried out. Implementation of the plan is the goal. Without implementation a plan is merely a static document. Recommendations by the committee may be somewhat adjusted once the plan goes through the public process. The important thing to realize is that the overall goals will remain in tact even if certain specific recommendations are adjusted.

Ms. George: Discussed the planning area of the Catawba SAP. It consists of areas outside of the neighboring cities extra territorial jurisdictions (ETJ's), bounded by Newton, Catawba, Conover, Claremont and portions of the County planning area. The typical Small Area Plan (SAP) process lasts 18-20 months. In the beginning it a good idea to educate committee members on common planning terms, concepts, zoning, environmental issues, the SGP, transportation and other relevant topics. A community input meeting follows where committee members solicit resident's visions for the region. Seven topics are emphasized: land-use and community design, transportation, community facilities and public services, housing, economic development, natural resources, and cultural resources. A web site has been set up for the Catawba SAP and can be accessed at:

http://www.co.catawba.nc.us/depts/planning/small_area/catawba/

Mr. Starr: Reviewed the process: Start to think about a vision for this area, formulate your likes and dislikes, coordinate with neighboring city plans, factor in transportation goals, coordinate a community input meeting, develop goals and strategies, then present the plan.

Mr. Huffman: Discussed meeting logistics. The committee will meet regularly on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00 PM in the Claremont City Hall unless otherwise noted. Meetings will not typically go past 9:00 PM. Ms. Margaret Garrison agreed to be vice-chair. The meeting will not be as formal as Robert's Rules of Order, but members are asked to be respectful of other's opinions and to refrain from side conversations that distract from the member who has the floor. The Chair may at times re-direct a topic if it appears to be going off course. Members should not take any redirection personally.

Mr. Tippett: Gave an introduction of the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) functions. The WPCOG was hired by the County as a consultant to this project. They will be doing presentations and providing research information and various other tasks. Anthony Starr as well as John Kenny will be working on this project. The WPCOG was formed in 1968 along with 16 other regional planning agencies across the State. Today there are 18 COG's. Catawba, Burke, Alexander and Caldwell make up the Unifour region of the WPCOG's planning area. GOG's provide planning assistance for municipalities and counties and provide other functions such as: GIS, section 8 housing assistance grants, economic development, council on aging, demographics, and workforce development. WPCOG is comprised of approximately 50 staff members.

Mr. Starr: Discussed the demographic information provided to members in their notebooks. Included are: study area map, school boundary map, area population demographics, census tract information, and residential building permit data from 1996-2002. A question was raised regarding data used for recent population projections. Are figures taking into account the recent economic slow-down or are figures based upon long-range projections, which would discount periodic slow-downs? For now projections are based on a linear regression and short-term adjustments are not emphasized. Depending on how long a slow-down lasts could further redefine the way we project populations.

Mr. Tippett: Economic effect on the population is being debated by various other people, (for example the Foresight Committee), and whether or not the slow-down will have longer lasting effects on population. Re-adapting and recovery prospects are part of the discussions.

Ms. George: handed out cameras and explained the photo exercise. She noted the number of pictures taken is up to each committee member. Members can document both positive and negative photo images of the Catawba study area and/or other areas. These photos can help in the planning process by emphasizing what to strive for and what to avoid. After pictures are collected the members will do a presentation of the images. The cameras should be returned to Mary by February 6th to allow for processing time. Presentations will take place at the next scheduled meeting.

Ms. George continued by explaining various maps on display. These maps will be used as visual aids for the committee. Maps include: flood plain, current zoning, soils, study area, watershed, natural and cultural resources, other neighboring SAP's future land-use plans and the County's current Vision Quest 2010 future land-use plan, farmland use, and residential uses.

It was mentioned by a committee member that knowing the neighboring cities future public water and public sewer expansion plans can help to guide the SAP planning process.

The next meeting is scheduled for February 11, 2003 at 7:00 PM at Claremont City Hall.

The meeting adjourned at 8:40 PM.