SHERRILLS FORD SMALL AREA PLANNING COMMITTEE MEETING - 
January 17, 2002 

Members present: Ed Nolley (Chairman), Cathy Weaver, Jerry Beatty, Doug Howard, Clyde Sigmon, David Stewart, Helen Sides and Ed Neill.

Members absent: Paul Beatty (Planning Board liaison), Glenn Hunsucker, Bryan Harvey and Keith Gabriel.

Note:  Mr. Mark Sigmon resigned from this committee prior to this meeting.

Staff present: Mary George and Richard Smith from the Catawba County Planning and Community Development Department.  

Also present was Commissioner Barbara Beatty and Joel Cherry.

Mr. Nolley called the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m. and the minutes from the last meeting were approved.

He then turned the meeting over to Mrs. George and she moved the group into the review of the draft plan for this area.  Mr. Neill asked to add community traditions to Key Issues on the Assets page.  Mr. Stewart said that it should be clarified in the plan that there are not many dairy farms in this area, but there are other types of farms such as grain and beef.  This change was needed in two places within the plan.  Mr. Stewart said that it should also be changed to read one hydroelectric plant.  Mrs. Sides pointed out item number 2 on page 17 and said that the last portion of this comment should be taken out.  It was also agreed that this should read “agricultural/open space” in addition to residential.

Under point number 5, the question was brought up about the use of the word downtown and the group decided to use “village center” instead.  The group also asked to add “in Terrell” to this statement because there is a distinction between what is actually known as the Sherrills Ford area and what is known as Terrell.  Also, to be added to the Industrial section of this page was the Little Mountain Airport.  

Mrs. George passed the current land use maps out to the group and the maps depicting the proposed land use for the area.  Next, she reviewed the plan recommendations with the group.  She pointed out to the group that their recommendation was that the areas identified as low-density residential would require clustering if property in these areas were subdivided.  

Mr. Neill asked about the density requirements being met and the possibility of the remaining acreage being developed in the future.  Mr. Beatty said that he would like to see the open space allowed to be used for agricultural, forestry or some type of similar use.  Mr. Sigmon said that he thought that it could be used for recreational purposes also.  Mrs. George explained that this was permitted.  The group discussed whether or not this remaining portion of undeveloped land should be shown as future development.  Mr. Howard said that he wondered whether or not these types of projects would have to be considered using today’s standards and that the developer would have to gamble if they wanted to wait for these requirements to change in the future.

Mr. Stewart said that he wondered about how this open space area would be maintained in the future.  The group discussed this requirement further.  Mrs. George told the group that the purpose of a cluster subdivision identified originally was to preserve rural character.  Mrs. Sides asked if water and sewer become available, would the density be allowed to be changed.  Mrs. George said that this could not happen without the land use plan density designation being amended.  Mr. Howard said that he understood the concerns, but that he thinks that this is what the group had intended as an outcome to their plan.  

Mr. Beatty said that he had concerns about the potential for future farming uses because he did not think that you could get a homeowners’ association to agree to this type of use.  Mrs. George said that she would check with other planners to see what else was being done in other places.  Mr. Beatty said that the other question that he had was the value that was being taken away from property owners for the loss of lots that they originally potentially could have had.  Mrs. Weaver referred to the discussion of transfer of development rights in the draft of the plan.  

Mr. Beatty also expressed his concerns of the effect that this plan was going to have on various property owners in different ways.  Mrs. George explained that what the group devises in this plan would affect everyone that owns property in this area; however, the public had expressed their desire to have growth addressed.  

Mr. Nolley asked the committee what they preferred for a resolution to this portion of their recommendations.  Mr. Howard said that he struggled with this, but from the community meeting this seems to be the desire of the residents of this area.  Mr. Stewart said that he thought that the 2-acre requirement was there until the group came up with a different recommendation.  The group asked what was coming out of the other areas and Mrs. George told them that Mountain View’s SAP is recommending approximately 50% of their area to be high density, but still have retained the 1 unit per 2 acre density beyond that.  

The group decided that they would prefer for staff to check on the legal ramifications of this particular recommendation before they decided to approve it as is or to change the density requirements to be more intense.  The future development of property left that is more than the required open space is the issue that the group will need to resolve.  

Mrs. George continued to review the recommendations in the draft plan with the group.  Mrs. Weaver pointed out that the group had also discussed adopting some type of lighting standards for new residential and commercial development within the Hwy. 150 corridor.  

Mrs. George explained that the watershed for this area had not been discussed in much detail.  She explained the watershed requirements and the 10/70 option for higher density development.  Mr. Howard said that this sounds reasonable because of the minimum amount of commercial uses that are being proposed for this area which could use this option.  The group agreed that this option should be made available for development for commercial properties in this area.  They decided to add this to the “Natural Resources” section of their plan recommendations.

The acreage size for the commercial nodes was discussed.  Mrs. George told the group that an acreage requirement is established to keep the commercial uses from spreading too far beyond the actual intersections.  Mr. Howard made a motion to make it 20 acres around these intersections and the group approved this unanimously.  Mrs. Sides made a motion that their be no square footage limits to the building sizes and the group approved this unanimously.  

Commissioner Beatty made comments to the group regarding the newly created Rural Transportation Planning Organization (RPO).  She explained to the group that Highway 150 is not on the current Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP) and she said that it is crucial for this group to identify problem areas along this route and to get the word out about the need for this route to be improved.  Mr. Neill pointed out that Mr. Linh Ngyen’s name should be added to the plan as another participant on NCDOT’s behalf.

Mr. Neill said that he thought that corridor preservation should be added to the guiding principles in order to assist with the Highway 150 improvement process.  Mr. Neill said that he thought that the corridor preservation areas should warrant bonus open space reductions for developers.  He said that some type of flexibility in this area would allow staff to use this as a tool to preserve corridor areas for future right-of-way acquisitions.  

Mr. Cherry asked about the transportation recommendations from the group and wanted to be sure that the Charlotte Area Transit System coordination was included and Mrs. George assured him that it was.  

The next meeting date is scheduled for Thursday, February 7, 2002 at 6:00 pm in order to assure that there is ample time to complete the recommendations to make the projected dates for presentation to the public, Planning Board and Board of Commissioners.

Mr. Nolley asked the group members to bring pictures that they would like to see included on cover of the final plan.  Mr. Smith made the group aware of the pending annexation that was going to occur along Bolton Road consisting of over 870 acres.

Mr. Nolley adjourned the meeting at 9:14 p.m.