The Mountain View Small Area Plan Committee meeting began at 5:30 PM in the Mountain 
View Elementary School Media Center.

Members present: Debbie Pitts (chairman), Paul Fleetwood, Larry Johnson, Jeanette Ringley, and Wade Scronce.
Member absent: Steve Von Drehle.  

Staff present: Mary George from the Catawba County Planning Department; Dee Blackwell and Susan Baumann, consultants from the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG).

Others present:  Tom Carr, City of Hickory

The minutes from the August 20, 2001 meeting were approved. 

Ms. Baumann reviewed the “Current Conditions” of the “Community Facilities and Public Services” section of the report.  The guiding principles were then discussed.  A question was asked “What does a high quality school look like?”   Mr. Blackwell responded that this could include high-test scores and adequate facilities.  He further added that the School Board recently completed a strategic plan which analyzed the data from the WPCOG’s Catawba County Growth Estimation Model (CGEM).  With this data, the Board was able to identify future school facility needs and corresponding costs.  This information will be included in their plan recommendations.

The Committee stated that a guiding principle for libraries should be the retention of the library within the community and to expand the facility to serve the growing area.  

Under the water and sewer guiding principle, the Committee wanted the language to reflect that future decisions for providing service should be based on the high/low density residential maps.
Mr. Carr informed the Committee that Hickory is focusing in the Robinson Rd./Hwy. 321 area for sewer service and noted that their high density residential designation included this area.  Mr. Fleetwood noted that there seemed to be more problems of failing water systems rather than septic systems so this guiding principle was changed to reflect this.  Also the Committee wanted to ensure that public water/sewer would be extended to areas to address public health issues.

The Committee included a statement under “Emergency Services” to note that the services would remain in the community and should be centralized.

The Committee then reviewed the “Plan Recommendations.”  The over-riding principle is to coordinate and group the facilities in one area and locate them where they would serve the high density development.  An example of one such location was the corner of Hwy. 127 and Zion Church Road.

It was noted that in locating new schools, the Board should coordinate school siting with the availability of infrastructure.    

Language for the recommendation of connecting Baker Mountain Park and the Henry River  Park by using existing roads would be similar to the road widening language used in the Transportation section.  Also, the language for the trails along the Henry and Jacobs Fork Rivers would be “to accommodate” users.  

Mr. Carr stated that the NCDOT will not allow sidewalks in the DOT right-of-way unless curb and gutter is installed (this is a recent policy change by NCDOT).  He stated that the City requires sidewalks on both sides of the roads in major subdivisions.  Also where their adopted sidewalk plan shows, sidewalks are required in commercial developments when they are constructed.  Mr. Johnson said he would like to promote connections to developments so there is pedestrian access.  The Committee agreed that sidewalks should be required only in developments along major thoroughfares with a sidewalk being required only along the major road frontage and constructed outside of the DOT right-of-way.  Also sidewalks would be required for commercial developments like the City of Hickory’s ordinance.  In further reviewing the parks and greenway section it was noted that “wildlife corridors” was also a purpose for preserving open space.

A “Plan Recommendation” for libraries was suggested to be: “ to keep pace with growth and plan for facilities.”

The language for water and sewer was revised to: “Cooperate with municipalities to provide utilities to be consistent with land use plans.”

Emergency services recommendations were added: to actively recruit an urgent care facility, consolidation of services at one location and to include those facilities being reviewed in the County’s facilities plan.

Ms. Baumann then reviewed the Housing current conditions.  She then led a discussion of the “Guiding Principles.”  The Committee wanted to see open space preservation encouraged as developments are constructed.  This would include cluster developments, low density development, etc.  Also they recommended that affordable housing is a difficult issue to resolve so they removed this from their principles.  

In discussing multi-family, manufactured homes and retirement developments, the Committee noted that the language should be “direct and provide” these developments in the appropriate locations.

The Committee wanted to include the residential design standards from the Land Use section under the Housing “Plan Recommendations.”  For manufactured homes, the Committee wanted to reference the locations shown on the rezoning map.  Also, this section would include a statement that replacement manufactured homes within the rezoning areas could only be doublewides.

Ms. Baumann then reviewed the “Guiding Principles” for Economic Development.  The Committee wanted to add that industrial development would be directed to where infrastructure would support it.  In the “Plan Recommendations,” a reference should be made to the Hwy. 127 corridor standards from the Land Use section and that ED-Industrial zoning would be in the northeast quadrant of the Hwy. 321 interchange of River Road.

The Natural Resources section was discussed next.  The Committee wanted to add: “education of farmers on programs for farmland preservation” to the “Guiding Principles.”  The “Plan Recommendations” were then reviewed.  Wildlife corridors were added to the river section as another type of open space purpose.  The Committee then discussed standards for a mountain protection district for Baker Mountain.  Some standards the Committee asked staff to research are: a ridge law, clear-cutting and minimum lot sizes.  These standards would be higher than those currently in the Zoning Ordinance.  Language was then clarified for the recreation/open space link between Baker Mountain Park and Henry River Park to include adoption and implementation of a plan.  This section would also include the scenic highway recommendations from the Transportation section.

Cultural Resources was the last subject discussed.  Being that there was limited input from the public on this matter, staff will discuss this with the Historical Association personnel to receive their suggestions.

The Committee then discussed potential dates for presenting its draft plan to the public.  Two dates were chosen:  Monday, November 12, 2001 (first choice) and Thursday, November 15, 2001 (back-up choice).  The meeting will be formatted as a drop-in style from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. Specific location information will be organized by staff.

Mr. Carr suggested that the draft plan be presented to Hickory’s Planning Commission and City Council.

The next meeting is scheduled for Monday, October 15, 2001 beginning at 5:00.  The Committee will receive its final draft plan for review and discuss the specifics of their community meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45.