July 21, 2005
Members present: Scott Rhoney, Chairman, Pinkney Hull, Teresa Lail, Jon Gladden, Donna Cullum, Barbara Hamrick, Tawanna Jarrett, Travis Norman, Terry Bledsoe, Greg Fulbright and Jim Crafton.
Staff present: Andrea Lytle and John Kenny from Western Piedmont Council of Governments and Mary George, Sue Ballbach and Connie Killian from Catawba County.
Chairman Scott Rhoney called the meeting to order at 7:02 pm and welcomed all those in attendance.
Chairman Rhoney asked for a motion for the approval of the June 2, 2005 minutes. Jon Gladden made a motion, seconded by Teresa Lail, to approve the minutes with a minor technical correction.
Mr. Kenny stated that he would like to review the housing map with the group to make sure that staff had the Committee’s recommendations correct.
Ms. Andrea Lytle stated that the map was totally different than what they had seen at their last meeting. She noted that initially they wanted the entire district rezoned to R-1. They re-evaluated this due to the impacts on affordable housing and then had discussed two specific corridors to limit manufactured housing. She told them the red hatching shown on the map would only allow stick-built and modular homes. This was located along Hwy. 10 and the Cooksville area. The R-3 area (doublewides but not singlewides) they were proposing would be along the scenic highways – Hickory-Lincolnton Hwy. and the Plateau Community. She stated they wanted to bring these proposals back before this Committee because there were so few members present at the last meeting when these suggestions were made. All yellow sections on the map would remain R-2 residential, which would allow single and doublewide mobile homes.
Mr. Kenny informed the group that compared to other planning committees the land area proposed to be rezoned is very small. Ms. George stated that they differ from the other planning groups because they would be allowing mobile homes, but they would be spread out and would be required to have two-acre lots. Ms. Lytle said because of the density requirement, there probably would be very few mobile homes being placed in this area.
Chairman Rhoney reminded those present that it is the Committee’s job is to look at the future and recommend accordingly.
Mr. Kenny said that this Committee should make the best recommendations they can, and then these recommendations would go to the Planning Board and to the Board of Commissioners for a final decision.
Ms. Lytle stated that if there was something they were not comfortable with, then they needed to discuss it now before the Planning and Board of Commissioners meetings so that they would be content with their recommendations.
Ms. Cullum asked the question how they picked the corridor lines along Hwy. 10. Mr. Kenny replied that they followed lot lines and that was why the corridor looked so uneven on the map. He also said that if they felt this needed to be changed, they certainly could do so.
Ms. George stated when the initial plan was first completed there were holes left, so they decided to clean up and follow property lines.
Chairman Rhoney mentioned that they are large tracts of land owned by retirees who would some day be selling their property. He could see a potential of mobile home parks being developed on these properties.
Ms. George explained to the group what is required for a mobile home park. The first thing she told them was that public water is required and this should prohibit this type of development because there is public water in their area where mobile homes would be allowed.
Mr. Kenny asked if they wanted to add more to the R-1 and R-3 districts or would they like to take some areas out.
There was discussion about the Hwy. 18 area. Ms. Lytle stated that this area at the present was shown under the two-acre requirement.
After discussion, it was the consensus of the Committee to make the following two changes: 1) add a R-1 corridor on Hwy. 18 and 2) evaluate adding more depth on the Hwy. 10 corridor around the Hefner Road and Cat Square Rd.
Mr. Kenny stated that would make these changes before the Community meeting.
Mr. Kenny said that next they needed to talk about the economic development section. He discussed the Current Conditions and Trends of their area. The Guiding Principles he stated are very non-specific and general. They included: 1) encourage new, community-focused economic development in the Plateau area; 2) create more aesthetically pleasing commercial and mixed developments; 3) industrial development should be direct to areas with appropriate infrastructure; and 4) encourage limited commercial and office-institutional development in the identified nodes to provided additional retail opportunities for area residents closer to home. He stated that staff had included the Land Use Plan Recommendations as it related to economic development. They included: 1) a neighborhood commercial node at the intersection of NC Hwy. 18/Willis Rd.; and 2) three rural commercial nodes to be located at NC Hwy. 10/Hickory-Lincolnton Hwy., NC Hwy. 10/Rhoney Farm Rd./Cat Square Rd. and NC Hwy. 10 at Honey’s Supermarket near the Lincoln County line.
Ms. George brought up the discussion about the pottery trail as good economic tourism for the area. She wanted to know if they wanted to add this trail to the Economic Development recommendation section, and if they didn’t feel good about this, maybe they could set up a meeting with the potters to see if this is something that they might want to happen.
Chairman Rhoney said that it would be a good idea to meet with these particular people and asked their opinions concerning the making of a pottery trail before adding to their Plan. No additional economic development recommendations were made.
Mr. Kenny stated that he would like to discuss Natural and Cultural Resources. He reviewed the current natural resources in their area including the Jacobs Fork River and the significant acreage of undeveloped land, which is woodland and open fields located along creeks throughout this area.
Ms. Lytle reviewed Map 8, which showed the State-designated watersheds in this planning area. She informed the group that the light green area was a WS-III watershed protected area, while the olive green showed the WS-II watershed protected area. She also said that the orange area was in the WS-III watershed critical area.
Ms. George told the group that the watershed regulations were State mandated and the different watersheds were discussed with this committee right after it was formed. She explained the difference in these three areas. Orange – WS-III Critical Area allows one house per acre with 12% coverage - Dark Green - WS II Protected area watershed permits 1 house per one acre with 12% coverage - -Light Green - WS-III Protected area allows 1 house per half-acre with 24% coverage. She reminded the group that watersheds are to protect the drinking water supplies for local governments.
Ms. Lytle talked about recreational services. She told the Committee the only organized recreational activity in the Plateau area was the youth sports program that was operated locally at the Banoak Community Center, behind Banoak Elementary School. The other youth sports activities took place at the various schools in the area. The issue concerning the ball field behind Banoak School was brought up again and the fact there was no way to find out the actual owner. The group asked Ms. George to have the County’s staff attorney look into this matter.
Ms. Lytle announced to the group that NCDOT had funded the bicycle routes and when these roads are resurfaced it is recommended that they be widened two feet on each side to accommodate bicycles. She stated that this Committee had not talked about the Landfill even though it was not technically located in their Planning Area. She also stated that the Board of Commissioners in 1998 approved the use of buffer areas around the landfill, when available, as passive recreation areas for things such as ball fields, walking trails, swimming pools and possibly a golf course. She said that this could be a very good resource of recreation for southern Catawba County.
Concerning Cultural Resources, Plateau had several sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places which Ms. Lytle stated were shown on Map 8. She pointed out three properties located along Hickory-Lincolnton Hwy. – Shuford-Hoover House, Grace Union Church and Cemetery, and Abraham Anthony Farm. Also there is a house located on the Keever-Cansler Farm near the intersection of Macedonia Church Rd./Reepsville Rd. Other sites included the Wesley’s Chapel Arbor and Cemetery on Wesley Chapel Rd. and the Warlick-Huffman Farm located on Providence Church Rd. She said that another unique cultural feature in the community was the local pottery tradition that has been maintained since the early 1800s. It is estimated that 130 potters lived in this area because of the local clay from the Jacob Fork and South Fork Rivers. She asked the group if they knew of any other house, etc. that might be a historical site that could be added to those already mention. She asked them to notify her or John if they had additions.
Under Guiding Principles Ms. Lytle stated that these had been generalized, and she asked if they wanted to add to or take away any of the points. It was the consensus of the group that they agreed with the four statements under Natural Resources and Open Space. They also agreed with the three items under Recreation Opportunities and the three points under Cultural Resources.
Ms. Lytle reviewed and explained the four proposed Plan Recommendations under Natural Resources and Open Space.
Ms. George told the group that recommendation of a Voluntary Agricultural District program had gone before the Board of Commissioners in May. There was a provision concerning condemnation that the Board could not agree with so they postponed their hearing until June so they would have time for further review. She stated that the farming community was originally for this program, but when it went back to the Board of Commissioners they opposed it because the condemnation clause was removed. The farming community asked the Board to not adopt the program they the Board did not pass it. The committee agreed to take out the fourth point concerning the Voluntary Agricultural District since the Board of Commissioners did not approve the program at the request of the farming community.
A suggestion was made to add some kind of encouragement to keep this area as a farming district – some type of language that would support the continuation of farming in this area. Ms. George stated that staff would add this.
Concerning Recreation Opportunities, under the first point, there was a question about what was a passive park. Ms. George explained to the group it was like the canoeing that was currently taking place on the Jacobs Fork River. They decided to add at the end of the point – such as canoeing. Pertaining to the second point, which stated they would be working with schools and the community group for recreational facilities, the Committee wanted to change the word explore and make it more specific. Staff will establish the correct wording. Regarding the third point concerning bicycle routes, this had already been approved by NCDOT. The Committee agreed upon the third and fourth points.
Ms. George told the Board about the Catawba Wildlife Club and the fact that they have a lot of property located on the Jacobs Fork River. She said this area along Lynn Mountain Road would be a good place to acquire property with grant funds for access to the Jacob Fork River for canoeing and other activities. She said that a Natural Heritage Inventory had been completed several years ago that identified key areas in this planning area that showed significant habitat areas and this information could be incorporated into one of the strategies. It was noted that some properties in this area are located in the wetlands which have been acquired by NCDOT for mitigation lands or are turned over to land trusts. This concept was also incorporated into the plan.
Pertaining to Cultural Resources, all were in agreement with the two points under this section. Dr. Hart’s village, which is called “Hart Square”, was also discussed. It was mentioned that this should be incorporated also.
Ms. Kenny discussed the community meeting that was to be held on Thursday, August 18th. He said that this would be a drop-in affair that would give people in the community the opportunity to react to the plan recommendations and maps. He said he would like for as many of the Committee members as possible to attend in case there were questions from the citizens. He handed out leaflets concerning this meeting for the Board members to distribute. He asked if anyone wanted to distribute at their Church again, to notify him or Andrea and they would get the necessary leaflets to them.
The meeting adjourned at 8:31 pm by a motion from Jim Crafton, seconded by Barbara Hamrick. The vote was unanimous.