October 28 , 2004
Members present: Scott Rhoney, Chairman, Tawanna Jarrett, Teresa Lail, Jon Gladden, Donna Cullum, Terry Bledsoe, Pinkney Hull, Travis Norman, James Crafton and Greg Fulbright.
Staff present: Andrea Lytle and John Kenny from Western Piedmont Council of Governments and Mary George, Rich Hoffman, Sue Ballbach and Connie Killian from Catawba County.
Scott Rhoney, Chairman, called the meeting to order and welcomed all those in attendance.
Pinkney Hull made a motion, seconded by John Gladden, to approve the minutes/summary as written and submitted. The motion carried unanimously.
Chairman Rhoney welcomed Rich Hoffman, County Planner to this meeting, as he had not met with this Committee before.
Mr. John Kenny discussed the Foresight Committee and its makeup and reviewed its brochure entitled, "Foresight - Executive Summary" with the Committee. He stated that the main focus of the Foresight Committee as shown in the brochure was economics and education in Catawba County. Other issues addressed by the committee were environment, and leadership and political action. He informed the group that he had copies of the entire document for any of the members who wanted one.
Mr. Kenny also discussed with the Committee a brochure entitled, "Future Forward Economic Alliance," which is an alliance among the following counties: Alexander, Avery, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Iredell, Lincoln, McDowell Mitchell, Rutherford, Watauga and Wilkes Counties. This alliance was established to evaluate strategies to renew economic prosperity in our region. By working together as a regional force, the area could see displaced workers re-educated and find jobs, attract new businesses and industries, and make this region a destination for your people, active retirees and tourists.
Ms. Mary George informed the Committee about Catawba County's long-range planning initiatives, including its land use plan called "Vision Quest 2010." She explained that this comprehensive planning tool included the whole the County. She also said that this document is used for future zoning recommendations and work plans. She reviewed the map that was part of the plan and explained that it was very general. She stated that after this plan was adopted a "Strategic Growth Plan" was developed. This plan is made up of two parts - the first part being demographics of the County and the second part was strategies for the following issues: 1) land use and development; 2) transportation and traffic circulation; 3) schools; 4) general government services; 5) utilities; 6) environmental; 7) parks and recreation; and 8) economic development. There were 16 different growth strategies developed by the Planning Board which could include amendments to the Zoning Ordinance to implement these strategies.
Ms. George stated that one of the strategies recommended in the Growth Plan was a Voluntary Agricultural District program. This program would establish districts, at the request of farmers, which would afford some protection for farmers from nuisance law suits and other negative impacts to farmland generally associated with growth. A map would include all farm locations in a designated agricultural district program to let potential buyers of adjacent tracts decide if they want to live near a farm. Signs would also be placed on roads stating that the area was a voluntary farm district. She stated that this item would be included in next year's budget for implementation. At this time Ms. George reviewed the 16 growth strategies that included the following: 1) residential development approval process; 2) utility extension policy 3) joint land use planning program; 4) voluntary transfer of development rights; 5) residential development standards; 7) voluntary farmland preservation; 8) park and open space provisions; 9) revised capital improvement program; 10) aggressive right-of-way purchases; 11) rewrite the County Thoroughfare Plan; 12) district, small area and corridor planning; 13) obtain local option sales tax; 14) protection of scenic byways; 15) historic preservation; and 16) economic development approaches. She gave an overview and status report for each of these 16 items.
Mr. Rich Hoffman then spoke to the group concerning the subdivision approval process in Catawba County. Mr. Hoffman stated that the Growth Plan caused changes in the Subdivision Regulations and the Zoning Matrix was established. He explained to the group that the matrix shows how many lots can be created from a piece of property. He said that this was a temporary measure to control growth. He explained that 5 lots can be cut off a State maintained road and be approved administratively. Any more than 5 new lots being created must be approved by the County's Subdivision Review Board. He also explained that anytime one creates a new road the Subdivision Review Board must approve it. He discussed the 2-acre lot requirement that was put into place in 1999 and stated that this was one way to manage growth. He explained that minor, family and 5 lots off State maintained roads are not subject to the 2-acre rule.
At this time, Ms. George handed out Catawba County's capital projects for all its schools. The Committee had requested this from its last meeting. These capital projects showed that Banoak School is scheduled for a land acquisition project in the next 3 years.
Mr. Hoffman reviewed with the group the school capacity chart. He also showed a map of all the school districts to the Committee which indicated that as of June 2004 the Plateau area schools are overcapacity. He explained that the committees from the different Small Area Plans defined the densities that they wanted in their plans and this should eliminate the 2-acre requirement when these Plans are approved and implemented. He explained a new concept for major subdivisions - clustering - and showed examples of these subdivisions to the group. A cluster subdivision allows the same number of lots, but on smaller size lots. A percentage (30%) of the land has to be retained as open space. He reviewed charts from the Planning Department's yearly report concerning the numbers of subdivisions that had been developed and particularly those in this Committee's area.
Ms. Connie Killian informed the group about the County's present zoning. She told the group that there are three residential zoning districts in the County - R-1, R-2, and R-3. She explained that the R-1 district only allows stick-built homes and modulars. The R-2 district allows stick-built, modulars, mobile homes (single, double and triple), duplexes, and other residential uses. The R-3 district allows stick-built, modulars, and doublewide mobile homes. Under commercial zoning districts there are C-1, C-2, and C-3. She explained that C-1 is a neighborhood district for business to serve the surrounding area such as a neighborhood grocery store, gas station, drugstore, etc. The C-2 commercial district is a highway-business district, which serves the traveling public, i.e. car sales, mini warehouses, retail sales, etc. The C-3 district is a non-conforming commercial district for those businesses that existed before zoning was adopted in 1974. She said that the O-I (office-institutional) district allows for banks, doctor's offices and professional services, etc. The last two districts she explained were E-1 and E-2. E-1 is a light industrial district with uses including manufacturing and warehousing, while E-2 is a heavy industrial district with intensive uses such as livestock sales, meatpacking plants and refineries. She pointed out on a map the different zonings located in this Plan's area with most of the zoning being R-2 Residential. She explained a handout that had been given to the group entitled, "Schedule of Permitted and Permissible Uses By District." This chart lists alphabetically all the different uses and where they were allowed.
Ms. Killian talked about mobile homes in the County. She reviewed a chart that had been given to them, which showed a comparison of zoning permits for stick-built homes, singlewides and doublewides issued from 1991 to current. She explained that from 1991 to 1996 there were more permits for singlewide mobile homes than for stick-built homes. Because of this, the County developed mobile home appearance criteria that took effect on March 19, 1996. This new criteria included the following: lap vinyl, aluminum or hardboard siding, wood or other products which made the mobile home look like a stick-built home; shingled, pitched roofs; a 36 sq.ft. deck or front porch was required; removal of hitch, or underskirt or screened with trees or shrubs required; site controls to ensure that manufactured homes face the road and give an area an organized look; and for doublewide manufactures homes brick or masonry underpinning required when being placed on a non-rental lot and for singlewide homes, underpinning required that uses materials designed for use as underpinning. She further explained that when this began grandfathering provisions were provided, which she related to the Committee.
Ms. Sue Ballbach talked to the Committee about other planning and zoning standards. She said businesses can be located on residential properties, but there are stipulations that go with these operations. She explained that any time a new business is located in a commercial or industrial zone, specifications including landscaping, buffering and paved parking would be required. Another item she discussed was a PUD (Planned Unit Development), where more than one use is allowed on one tract of land. She reviewed with the Committee the process to get a PUD approved. She stated that this Committee needed to suggest uses that would be within reason in their Planning area. She further stated that they would be deciding with their recommendations in the Plan where new businesses, etc. would be able to be located. She iterated that rules should be the same and apply to everyone. She said that places should be permitted for small businesses in their area.
Ms. George reviewed the different watershed districts located in their area and the different regulations that go with each of these districts. She showed a map with districts drawn on it and noted that these regulations were approved in the early 90s. She said these regulations were established from a mandate from the State to protect public drinking water supplies.
Ms. Andrea Lytle talked to the Committee about its upcoming community meeting to be held at Banoak School on Thursday, November 4, 2004 in the school's lunchroom. She reviewed the proposed agenda for the meeting, which was scheduled to begin at 6:30 pm. She explained that at this meeting small groups will be asked to answer the following three questions: 1) What do you like best about the Plateau area? 2) What are you biggest concerns about the Plateau area? and 3) What is your vision for the Plateau area? From these answers each participant will be asked to pick five of his/her most important issues and these will be compiled and given to the Committee members at their next meeting. Facilitators for these groups will be WPCOG and County staff, as well as Committee members. She reminded everyone to invite at least 10 people each, to ensure a good turnout at the meeting.
Mr. Kenny stated that the next meeting for this Committee would be on November 18, 2004 at Sardis Lutheran Church. Mr. John Tippett, regional Transportation Planner for the MPO, will be at this meeting to address transportation issues in this Planning area.
Meeting adjourned at 9:05 pm.