Plateau Small Area Planning Committee Meeting 
February 24, 2005 

Members present: Scott Rhoney, Chairman, Tawanna Jarrett, Teresa Lail, Jon Gladden, Greg Fulbright, Jim Crafton, Donna Cullum, Barbara Hamrick, and Travis Norman

Staff present: John Kenny and Andrea Lytle from Western Piedmont Council of Governments and Mary George and Connie Killian from Catawba County

Chairman Scott Rhoney, Chairman, called the meeting to order at 7:03 pm and welcomed those in attendance.

A motion was made by Donna Cullum, seconded Jon Gladden, to approve the minutes with one change - delete the word "remove" and change to "install" caution light at NC Hwy. 10/Old Shelby Rd. and also add a request for a turn lane. This motion carried unanimously.

Ms. Mary George made an announcement to the Board stating that the Voluntary Agricultural Ordinance would not be heard by the Planning Board in February as previously planned. This is scheduled for the April Planning Board meeting which will be held on the last Monday of the month. This hearing was cancelled because of issues from by the Agricultural Steering Committee needed to be addressed.

Mr. John Kenny discussed this Committee's next meeting and the fact that it was scheduled during the Easter holidays. He asked the group if they would be willing to change their meeting date. He suggested March 17th if their meeting room was available. The room schedule was checked and found to be free, so the next meeting was re-scheduled to March 17th at the same time and place as this meeting.

Mr. Kenny announced that he would like to look at and discuss one of the crucial parts of the Plan - land uses in their Planning area. He reviewed a land use map, updated for easier reading and accuracy. He pointed out on the map that the light green represented open space and the yellow residential uses. The map showed that most of the Planning area was either green or yellow. The other colors - red represented commercial; purple - manufacturing; blue - office/institutional and white - no data available. The members were reminded that this map depicted how the land was being used - not how it was zoned. This map was to replace the one that was given to them earlier with the same title.

Mr. Kenny reviewed a list of possible ideas for land use recommendations for their planning area. He said he wanted them to think about whether they felt that there were enough commercial areas in this Planning area. He also stated that they needed to think 15 years ahead and recommend where these uses might best be located.

Ms. George explained to the group about a proposed zoning amendment that would allow small businesses to be operated on a residential tract of land. These would be called "cottage businesses," and would allow the owner to operate the business out of a separate building. She asked their opinion about what type of uses that could be allowed if this zoning change was allowed. Some of the standards would include: at least one acre of property; certain required setbacks; buffering along property lines; parking would have to be paved; no more than five employees would be allowed to work in this cottage business; certain times for hours of operation; and only a certain percentage of the lot would be allowed for this business. She reminded them that this use would most likely be permitted in their area since it is very rural. The reason the County is considering this change in the ordinance is because of the economic downturn in the area, and people without jobs might be interested in a chance to make their living in this setting. This ordinance is proposed to expire in the year 2008 and those businesses started before that date would be grandfathered and would not be closed down. She wanted to know how the group felt about this type of use. There was discussion about some of the standards, and the Committee expressed concerns about: what types of business operations would be allowed, the number of employees permitted, paved parking requirements, and lots possibly being too small for these operations.

Mr. Kenny reviewed the six proposed appearance and design criteria for commercial businesses to be located in this Planning area. He asked the question if they felt that there were adequate commercial uses in their planning area. Ms. George reminded the Board about some of the comments that were received at the public meeting with citizens in their Planning area. These comments were - some wanted more commercial and some didn't. The consensus of the group was that they had adequate commercial uses in their district.

Ms. George explained the three commercial nodes depicted in their handout - community center node, neighborhood commercial node, and rural commercial node. She told the group that they could look at areas (intersections) that already had commercial uses and propose these as commercial nodes with certain acreages attached to them. The Committee liked the Rural Commercial Node best because it would be less than 10 acres. Ms. George informed the group that the Hwy. 127/Hwy. 10 intersection had been designated a Neighborhood Commercial Node by the Mtn. View Planning Area Committee.

A question was asked about future sewer lines through this Planning area. Ms. George stated that no sewer lines were planned at this time and most likely would not be in the future because of the area is in the Jacobs Fork River basin. Hickory is currently reviewing sewer opportunities in the Henry River basin.

There was a lot of discussion concerning where possible nodes could be located. Ms. Lytle informed the group that there were design control standards that could be used at these nodes to make them look better as well as being more functional and not interrupting the rural concept.

Ms George asked the group what concerns they had with commercial area. The Committee noted noise, traffic congestion, smells, and buildings; all which would take away their pastureland. She stated that these things could be controlled by design standards and amount of acreage. These design standards would be for new buildings. For those already located in the area, if they come in for expansion some changes could be required. She reminded the members that this is a 15-20 year plan and there should be opportunities for people in the future that might want to open or expand a business of some kind. If they don't designate any nodes, existing businesses may decide to expand and thus could be located where they Committee may not want them.

After much discussion, the Committee decided to think about doing only Rural Commercial Nodes (10 acres with a maximum gross leasable area of 15,000 sq.ft. per lot) at Honey's, which is located at the intersection of Hoyle Rd./W NC 10 Hwy. and at W NC 10 Hwy./Catsquare Rd., which would be re-evaluated during the next five years, as NC Moving Ahead monies become available. These suggestions will be added to the land use map for the group to see and be written as land use recommendations. Ms. George told the members they could change their recommendations at the next meeting or any other time before final approved. There will also be another community meeting where all the recommendations will be shown again to the public for their input. Ms. George stated that staff would present design standards which could address their concerns about commercial areas to make these areas more pleasant.

Ms. George announced that NCDOT had informed the County that the NC Moving Ahead allocations have been put on hold and it would probably be 2006 and 2007 before the proposed road safety improvements, such as turn lanes on Hwy. 10 at Blackburn School, would be able to be constructed. If businesses were to locate in the Planning area, most likely NCDOT would require a turn lane, which would be the responsibility of the developer(s).

Mr. Kenny asked the group about the Office-Institutional areas that are shown on the map. He pointed out that there were only a few located in this Planning area. Ms. George stated that most of the blue areas shown on the map were for schools and churches, and what they needed to look at were areas where banks, doctor's office, accountant offices, and other small business could be located. They agreed that these uses could be allowed in all rural commercial nodes.

Mr. Kenny asked whether there was any need for additional industrial sites in this Planning area. The group decided they did not see any need for further industrial uses in their Planning area because of the roads and increased transportation impacts that these uses would cause. There are already industrial uses set aside in the US 321 corridor and current industrial zoning on Hwy. 10. They discussed the present manufacturing uses in their area and those that are nonconforming and found the number of areas to be sufficient.

Mr. Kenny told the group that they would update the land use map and text for them to review at the next meeting. Also, he said to pull out their watershed map for the next meeting when they will be discussing proposed densities for their planning area. The Committee was reminded that the next meeting date was changed to March 17th.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:41 pm.