Mountain View Small Area Plan Committee
April 17, 2000 meeting

The second meeting of the Mountain View Small Area Plan Committee began at approximately 7:05 PM in the Mountain View Elementary School Media Center. Members present: Debbie Pitts, Jeanette Ringley, Larry Johnson, Wade Scronce, Rose Lackey representing Carroll Lackey, and Paul Fleetwood. Member Steve Von Drehle was present at 7:30 PM. Members absent: Donald McSwain and Linda Sturgill

Staff present; Mary George and Rich Hoffman from Catawba County Planning Department, Doug Chapman from Catawba County Utilities and Engineering Department, John Tippett and Susan Bauman, consultants from the Western Piedmont Council of Governments, and Tom Carr from the City of Hickory Planning Department.

Chairman Ms. Debbie Pitts opened the meeting at 7:05 PM. Introductions were made by all present.

The minutes from the March 16, 2000 meeting were approved.

A discussion arose regarding starting the meetings earlier. The members present agreed to begin the meeting at 6:00 PM as opposed to 7:00 PM. The regular meeting day of the third Monday of the month will remain the same. Thursday, June 22, 2000 or Tuesday, June 27, 2000 were approved as tentative dates for a community meetings with the 27th being the first choice. A tentative location was discussed to be at the Mountain View Elementary School cafeteria between 7:00 and 9:00 PM.

Mr. Tippett continued a discussion from last month regarding demographics. A brief discussion was held mentioning that the majority of the Mountain View Small Area Planning area is contained in census tract 111. Mr. Tippett also mentioned that Mountain View is an area that has seen an increase in single family homes and not as much growth in the mobile home market. This is partly due to County regulations regarding appearance of mobile homes and market forces.

Mr. Carr was welcomed to the committee meeting. Mr. Carr began a discussion regarding what the City of Hickory's plans are in the future regarding this area. He passed out an executive summary of the Hickory by Choice report. Mr. Carr stated that the Hickory by Choice plan was similar to the Small Area Plans. Mr. Carr emphasized that community input for a planning process was the beginning of the Hickory by Choice plan. Charrettes (focused planning meetings) were held where photographs were taken of the community to offer suggestions as to what the community could look like. These pictures included housing types, commercial structures, etc. He mentioned that the population of Hickory is doubling every 25 years and the land area is growing even faster. The 321 corridor is a key area, (South of Hickory in the Mountain View Small Area Planning vicinity), linking Hickory to Gastonia and Charlotte.

A goal of Hickory by Choice was neighborhood developments containing a variety of housing types, ease of location to commercial areas, and walkable communities. Hickory is currently revising their zoning ordinance to reflect the goals of Hickory by Choice.

Mr. Carr noted that Mountain View has many opportunities for open space developments since it has not fully developed as of yet. He noted that the area around the Henry Fork River (in Mountain View) will be one of the great opportunities for greenway planning and encouraged the committee to consider this during the planning process.

Mr. Carr went on to discuss roads. The 321 corridor is already in place (commercial nodes) and planned is an east/west loop known as the southern loop. Currently Hickory is lacking an efficient east/west connector. US 321 is currently being looked at as a high technology business park area. Water and sewer is being proposed to extend to the Henry River basin/River Road interchange and Hwy. 321 corridor. Mountain View is not currently in Hickory's long range annexation plan. A goal he recommended was to try and get utilities in place prior to development and therefore, when development occurs it can be tailored to what is best. Trying to put in water and sewer after development has occurred can be very expensive and is difficult to recover costs.

Mr. Chapman began a discussion involving ways that the County partners with the municipalities with regards to providing utilities for development.

Mr. Carr further discussed a business park concept at the River Road exchange where the City has purchased 150 acres. This concept could be a high technology (non-smoke stack, no open storage), clean industry. Ideas such as telecommunications, research and development, or corporate headquarters were also emphasized as ideas in this area. This type of business can be very compatible with residential uses. High technology businesses and residential patterns are very similar (work is not typically on weekends, etc.). There is potential to incorporate schools and daycare into an office park or a charter school. Ideas such as a greenway/park along the Henry River to be part of the Business Park were also encouraged. Having compatibility with residential and commercial facilities will allow close proximity for easy commuting. This will help to deal with ozone levels from car exhaust and ease the need for additional roads, etc. He stated that a planning/architectural firm is working on a plan of which they will involve the Mountain View Small Area Planning Committee.

Mr. Carr went on to discuss a grant that was submitted to the Federal Highway Administration to look at overall planning of the River Road site. This will include planning for schools, parks, commercial, sidewalks, and other community facilities. By May of this year Hickory should hear if they get this grant. The grant was in the amount of $500,000. The emphasis is on the planning area around the River Road interchange.

Hickory developed without the emphasis on greenways and open space. An inventory was done and it was noted that along the area south of the Henry River that certain areas could be devoted towards preservation of greenways as development occurs.

Mr. Carr then discussed Highway 127. He suggested to keep it pedestrian friendly (i.e., sidewalks, landscaping) and require commercial development to be able to interconnect so strip development doesn't occur. A suggestion of grandfathering existing uses and revise zoning ordinances to allow new uses to have more modern characteristics was made.

Mr. Chapman began a discussion about water and sewer extension opportunities in the Mountain View Small Planning District. He emphasized that one of the rationales for line extensions is from a public health and safety perspective. There are two separate areas; 1) Advent Crossroads, and 2) Mountain Grove Road, where there have been complaints relating to failed private individual wells. There is money available from Community Development Building Grant (CDBG) funds for low to moderate income families for extensions of public water lines. The County wants to pursue a grant in one of these areas and Mr. Chapman was gathering information from the Committee as to their thoughts on this subject. If the Mountain Grove Road area is pursued, this would involve a partnership with the City of Hickory. The Advent Crossroads option would be utilizing water from Burke County due to cost restraints. The actual grant amount is limited to $850,000, so an extension to the Advent Crossroads area would result in the need for an elevated watertank if the lines came from Hickory or Longview, which could cost $500,000.

Mr. Johnson asked what necessitated the County to focus on the Mountain View area for waterline extensions. Mr. Chapman responded that it was the number of public complaints in that area. At this point one public hearing has been held which is a step in getting a grant. Another step in the process, conducting household surveys, has not been done yet.

Mr. Johnson wanted more information in order to feel comfortable in recommending a specific area to consider for a grant.

Mr. Chapman emphasized the time constraint with regards to submitting the grant request and expressed his desire for input from the Committee.

The Committee was concerned about promoting high-density development if the waterline was extended.

Ms. George briefly discussed the Strategic Growth Plan and stated that the Board of Commissioners had accepted the plan last year. They stated that the Small Area Planning process would refine it. An example could be that a Small Area Planning Committee could suggest areas of higher density. Another suggestion could be a rural conservation area in part of Mountain View.

Mr. Johnson wanted to know which of the two areas had the best potential to get the grant. Mr. Chapman was unable to specify one area over the other.

Mr. Von Drehle mentioned that Mountain Grove Road is closer to the City of Hickory, which will more likely be the area that would see denser development. Also, this would prevent a leap frog development pattern and be a better transportation network.

Mr. Johnson made a recommendation that the grant be pursued for the Mountain Grove Road area based on Mr. Von Drehle's previous statement. Mr. Von Drehle seconded the recommendation and all members approved.

The remained of the agenda was deferred until next month. Next months meeting was set for May 15th at 6:00 PM in the Mountain View Elementary School Media Center. Mr. Johnson suggested to have staff cut back on the amount of agenda topics so as to get better discussions. All members agreed to this.

Chairman Ms. Pitts adjourned the meeting at 9:25 PM.