Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning Committee Meeting – April 25, 2001


Members present: Ed Nolley (Chairman), Paul Beatty (Planning Board liaison), Doug Howard, Ed Neill, Cathy Weaver, Glenn Hunsucker, and Helen Sides.

Members absent:  Mark Sigmon, Bryan Harvey, Clyde Sigmon, Charles Thomas, Keith Gabriel, Jerry Beatty, and David Stewart.

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

Mr. Nolley called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m.  (The meeting was held in the Sherrills Ford Lions Club building due to the school not being unlocked.)

Mr. Hunsucker asked if a synopsis from the previous meetings could be given to members for sake of clarity of what the group has discussed and decided on.  Ms. George responded that this was being handed out to them later in the meeting.  Mr. Howard asked about the commercial uses along Highway 150 and Mr. Dove said that this also would be discussed in more detail tonight.

Mr. Nolley asked the group to review the minutes from the last meeting.  Mr. Neill said that on page 1 in the minutes, the 30% applied to a typical village project.  Mrs. Weaver pointed out that on page 5, the neighborhood center was for the intersection of Long Island Road and Sherrills Ford Road instead of Joe Johnson Road.  The minutes from the last meeting were approved with these minor changes.

Mr. Nolley reminded the group that nothing about the plan for this area has been cast in stone at this point in time.  Mr. Dove began by reviewing the land use recommendation map with the group.  Mr. Neill asked if anyone had been able to contact Lincoln County about their plans for the intersection of Highway 150 and the new four-lane Highway 16.  Mr. Smith said that he had contacted Lincoln County and they had indicated that they have no plans in the works for this particular area.  Mr. Beatty recommended more coordination between Catawba County and Lincoln County for this area because of the potential effect that it could have if these efforts are not coordinated.  Mr. Dove indicated that staff would take the initiative to coordinate these efforts with Lincoln County.

The village concept near the Terrell area was discussed.  Mrs. George asked the group if they wanted mixed use or residential uses in this area and the members indicated that they wanted both.  Mr. Hunsucker said that the group could just take the immediate area around the intersection in Terrell (Highway 150 and Sherrills Ford Road) and not allow any modern structures here to protect the historic nature.  Mr. Dove asked where the historic boundaries were and Mr. Beatty indicated that it is just around the intersection.  Mr. Beatty asked what specific standards would be best to try, like architectural design criteria, and if this is what the group would want to see.  Mr. Neill said that he thought that architectural controls were good to have and he said that he did not have a problem with higher density in certain areas, just not in the entire area.

Mr. Dove reminded the group that they had decided to recognize the commercial uses that already exist in this area.  He said that the group had indicated the possibility of going with office and institutional or high density residential along the remainder of Highway 150.  The group reviewed these areas of the map to get a view of the overall layout.

Mr. Howard asked about the upcoming rezoning request on a 20-plus acre tract located off of Hwy. 150 to change from R-2 to C-2.  He said that he did not see why a single entrance commercial development could not be located at this site.  Mr. Dove told him that this was not a bad idea, but that it set up the potential for more of these types of requests and consequently more entrances off of Hwy. 150, which could lead to “stripping.”  Mr. Howard said that this just seems kind of restrictive, but if this was something that the group agreed on, he would not stand in the way of it.  He said that he just did not understand why the group would limit someone if they came forward with a plan that would, in this case, limit the number of accesses along Hwy. 150. 

Mr. Neill said that the plan still needs to be put into place.  He said that the group couldn’t let one request hold up the process of designing the plan for this area.  The open space requirements were generally discussed and Mr. Howard expressed concerns about requiring too much open space from individual property owners.  The idea was discussed about having a certain threshold set that if a subdivision was done that involved lots of 10 acres in size or greater, or something similar, then the open space requirement should then not be applicable.

Mr. Neill said that he agrees with this concept, but the big point to remember is that with the commercial request mentioned earlier, the group cannot be selective while deciding what plan to implement.   Mr. Dove explained that another concern is having too many commercial uses in the area, which can hurt the value of the existing commercial tracts.  He mentioned that there are other existing vacant commercial tracts near the subject tract of the aforementioned rezoning request.

The group said that office and institutional is the most feasible use along Hwy. 150.  Mrs. George gave examples of the type uses that are typically allowed in this district. 

Mrs. George pointed out the proposed neighborhood centers that were identified by the group at the last meeting.  Mr. Dove asked about the area east on Hwy. 150 from the intersection in Terrell to the Iredell County line.  He said that he was not sure what the group had decided, if anything, about the proposed uses for this area.  Mrs. George told the group that this is in an area that the group had identified as a gateway for this area.  Mr. Beatty said that he viewed this whole area, or at least from the railroad bridge to the County line, as a gateway area.  He said that setbacks and other development restrictions should possibly be more stringent in this area. 

The industrial tract on the north side of Hwy. 150 that Marshall Steam Station is located on was discussed.  Mr. Hunsucker said that he thought that the area closest to Hwy. 150 should not be zoned industrial.  He, and some other members, said that they would like to see at least the Hwy. 150 corridor area of this property zoned something besides industrial.  They indicated that they thought it might be a good idea to target a corridor protection of some kind, especially in this identified gateway area.  Mr. Beatty suggested having an overlay area around the Terrell area (which was marked on the map by Mr. Dove). 

Mr. Howard expressed to the group his concerns about the effect of these proposed plans on property owners.  He said that for some of these people this is their 401-k investment that the group is messing with.  Mr. Dove reminded the group that if some part of this plan is not working adequately, it could be revisited for revisions or updates.  He said that if this plan is not looked at again in five years, then something is wrong.

The group decided that a policy should be written that requires the plan to be revisited no later than five years out.  The concern continued to arise over the lack of infrastructure in this area.  The plans for water to this area were discussed and staff told the group that water along Hwy. 150 is included in the next fiscal year funding.

The next topic of discussion was density along the lake.  Mr. Dove told the group that at the last meeting, they had indicated possibly going with two units per acre.  Mr. Hunsucker said that he thought this was too dense.  He suggested going with lots that were at least ¾ of an acre in size (or two units per 1.5 acre).  The group decided that this was a good density unless water and sewer is available, then two units per acre would be sufficient.

The watershed map was displayed for the group to see the actual areas that run along the lake.  Mrs. George pointed out that the more intensive watershed area runs a half of a mile off of the lake.  There was discussion of whether or not this would make the area for the ¾ acre lot size too large.  Mrs. George told the group that they did not have to go with the watershed boundaries for their density requirements but rather she used it for an example to review.  The group decided that it would probably be best to use the watershed boundaries for these boundaries because of the concerns about the impact that lots with individual septic tanks located on them can have.

Mr. Neill said that three factors should dictate the review of this plan at a later date: 1) no more than five years pass by; 2) the sewer site is constructed and completed; or, 3) if NCDOT improves Highway 150 in less than five years. 

Mr. Dove told the group that they had been given a list of the proposed policies for this area.  He suggested that the members review this and be prepared to discuss it at the next meeting. 

He also told the group that he had really enjoyed the experience of working with them during this process.

Mr. Nolley told the group that he was concerned about how the group had dwindled.  He said that the decisions that are being discussed and made are very crucial and he suggested that the other members contact the members that have not been attending.

The next meeting date is scheduled for Wednesday, May 16, 2001.

Mr. Nolley adjourned the meeting at 9:40 p.m.