COMMITTEE MEETING FOR OCTOBER 15, 2001
The Mountain View Small Area Plan Committee meeting began at 5:45PM in the Mountain View Elementary School Media Center.
Members present: Debbie Pitts (chairman), Paul Fleetwood, Larry Johnson and Jeanette Ringley.
Members absent: Steve Von Drehle and Wade Scronce.
Staff present: Mary George and Rich Hoffman from the Catawba County Planning Department; Dee Blackwell and Susan Baumann, consultants from the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG).
Ms. Pitts: Opened the meeting. The minutes from the September 17, 2001 meeting were approved. She confirmed that November 12, 2001 was the date for the community input meeting. It will take place in the Mountain View Elementary School cafeteria from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
Ms. Baumann: Began a discussion on the Small Area Plan draft.
She noted some statements to clarify including:
Committee: A discussion arose as to the amount of development that should occur on Baker Mountain. The committee referred back to the community input results where the preservation of Baker Mountain received many votes. The committee was in consensus as to their desire along with the community’s desire to retain as much of the current view as possible. The committee also wanted any regulations established for land clearing to be applied to existing subdivisions as well as new developments. Items that could impact the mountain include the amount (density) of residential development, the amount of land cleared for structures for each lot, the elevation where development occurs, and the distance from the mountain peaks where development occurs. Staff presented the committee with options, which they could pursue to try and preserve Baker Mountain. Along with the mountain, other areas of the County could be discussed for preservation as well. Recommendations from the committee to preserve the mountain included:
A) Moratorium – The committee included a recommendation to the Board of Commissioners that a moratorium be placed on development of Baker Mountain until such time as a study is completed. A specific time frame would need to be established. Legal issues would need to be clarified such as the ability to not approve preliminary subdivision plans for a specific time frame along with addressing the North Carolina General Statue for special subdivision exemptions.
B) Conservation Easements – If regulations are approved that limit development, property owners could be informed of the opportunity to donate an easement or the entire interest to a land trust, such as the Foothills Conservancy, and then receive federal and state tax breaks for the donated land.
C) Area of Preservation – A lengthy discussion took place regarding areas to be preserved and areas that could sustain some development. This discussion was aided by over a dozen photographs of the mountain from various viewpoints and detailed maps showing elevation contours of the mountain. One photograph showed a development which was at the 1,100-foot elevation level. This picture illustrated to the committee the threshold of development that they would be comfortable with. It was the Committee’s opinion that development above the 1,100-foot interval would substantially degrade the view of the mountain. A map was displayed showing individual parcels along with elevation contours. Using the 1,100-foot interval as a base line, staff outlined the parcels that appeared within the 1,100-foot interval. It appeared that all tracts that were split by the 1,100-foot interval had a portion of their property below the 1,100-foot interval, so there would still be the ability to develop those parcels below the 1,100 foot contour. Upon reviewing the maps, the committee recommended that no development occur above the 1,100-foot interval.
D) Special Legislation for Prohibition of Clear-Cutting – Due to current State exemptions, clear-cutting for purposes other than development is not regulated. The Committee included a recommendation to have legislation introduced as a special bill to prohibit clear-cutting on Baker Mountain.
The Committee then continued its discussion on the draft plan. Another item for clarification occurred on page 49 under Cultural Resources. The Historical Association Director presented to staff a list of suggested historic structures to consider for inclusion in the draft. These included: Zion Lutheran Church and Bethel United Church. Mr. Fleetwood mentioned that he came across a house that was built around 1840 which has not been recognized as a historic site. He wanted to make sure that all structures would be included if they were eligible for the Historic designation. The committee agreed to list all structures that are on the National Registry that appear in the planning area. This currently includes two sites: Yoder’s Mill and the Sharpe-Gentry Farm. Also, the Committee wanted to identify any structures from the submitted list which would qualify for the National Registry.
Ms. Baumann: Asked the committee to decide on the photographs that they want to appear on the draft cover. The committee agreed to the following views; 1) Baker Mountain, 2) Mountain View Elementary School, 3) Jacobs Fork River, 4) Highway 321 interchange, 5) A residential development i.e., the back section of Rainbow Hills showing Baker Mountain was suggested, 6) the medical office site with Baker Mountain in the background.
Committee: Discussed a draft of a newspaper article that advertised the public input meeting. Ms. George was looking for feedback from the committee to finalize the draft before the County’s Public Information Officer released it to the newspaper. The committee noted minor changes. Ms. George also handed out flyers for the Committee to post for advertising the November 12th community input meeting. The committee requested staff to ask the City of Hickory to state what their plans were for annexation in the Mountain View area so this could be addressed in the plan.
The next meeting was scheduled for November 7th, 2001 from 5:30 – 6:30 to discuss last minute details before the November 12th, 2001 community input meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 8:30 PM.