SHERRILLS FORD SMALL AREA PLANNING COMMITTEE MEETING - AUGUST 16, 2001 

Members present: Ed Nolley (Chairman), David Stewart, Cathy Weaver, Helen Sides, Paul Beatty (Planning Board liaison), Ed Neill and Jerry Beatty.

Members absent: Mark Sigmon, Clyde Sigmon, Glenn Hunsucker, Doug Howard, Bryan Harvey and Keith Gabriel.

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

Mr. Nolley called the meeting to order at 7:14 p.m.  The minutes from the last meeting were approved.

Mr. Nolley then turned the meeting over to Mrs. George to continue the discussion of housing issues.  Mrs. George presented the group a copy of the revised land use map for this area and asked them to review it for all of the recommendations to date and for any other changes that they might have.  Mr. Nolley said that he had received a phone call from a property owner that has an industrial site in the eastern part of this small area.  He said that the owner had heard that the group was recommending to change this to residential, but he told him that he did not think that this had been brought up as a recommendation.  Mrs. George said that none of the previous working maps for this area had indicated a recommendation such as this from the committee.  The Committee approved the land use map as presented.

Mrs. George reviewed graphs with the group that depicted the number of permits issued for manufactured homes in this area and in the entire county.  Mr. Neill said that he thought that a great deal of this decrease in manufactured homes could be attributed to the change in land use laws where the units per acre was increased to one per two acres.  Mrs. George noted to the group the areas of this district in which these permits were being issued.  

Mrs. George reviewed the latest proposed rezoning draft map for this area.  She went over the details of what the group has recommended thus far and pointed out these specific areas on this map.  She told the group that under this proposal, 83% of this area was shown to be rezoned.  

Mrs. George pointed out a letter that was included in the group’s packets from the Staff Attorney and Interim Planning Director, Debra Bechtel, which addressed the rezoning recommendations that have been made by the group.  

Mr. Neill said that the group might want to consider expanding the existing industrial areas further.  He said that the group could then possibly abut these areas with a district that allows singlewide manufactured homes.  He said that he would like to see the group to “up zone” the entire area and then let someone that wishes to have manufactured homes present a request to rezone the area that they have in mind.  

Mr. Jerry Beatty asked about the impact fees and the manufactured homes and if they were applicable to these homes also.  Mrs. George said that it would be and Mr. Beatty said that with this and the 2-acre requirement, he did not foresee many singlewides coming into the area. 

Mr. Nolley said that he drove through the area and observed that there were no singlewides located on Joe Johnson Road, sixteen on Sherrills Ford Road, and 30 on Buffalo Shoals Road.  Mrs. Sides said that an area that should allow singlewides would be the portio of Little Mountain Road between Mt. Beulah and the curve at the powerline.  Mr. Stewart said that Mathis Chapel Road should be designated for this also.  

Mr. Neill asked about widening the corridor along the roads in order to restrict them and then to designate for other areas to allow for singlewides.  Mrs. George said that the group would need to justify these changes from a planning perspective and not just from a property value perspective.  Mr. Stewart asked about the zoning codes for the use of these singlewides for storage and those that have been trashed and destroyed.  Mrs. George told him that there are regulations for this, but the County does not have minimum housing criteria.

Mr. Stewart said that he would be willing to testify in court about the manner in which singlewides become less appealing visually and do not maintain their usefulness.  Mr. Neill and Mr. Paul Beatty said that they wonder about other counties’ guidelines and how they are able to prohibit singlewides, for instance Mecklenburg County.  Mrs. George told them that staff could look into this.

Mrs. Sides asked about properties that are presently zoned R-2.  Mrs. George told her that if these areas wanted to change their zoning to R-1, they would have to apply for rezoning.  She explained that this could be done on individual tracts or on multiple tracts.  She said that maybe the Mt. Beulah area should remain as R-2, but Mr. Nolley said that this area mainly had just older singlewides.

Mr. Jerry Beatty asked if the group identified these pocket areas would they not be inflating the value of these properties since they would be the only ones that would allow singlewides.  Mr. Neill said that the two-acre requirement would probably keep the value from rising too much.  Mr. Beatty said that he would prefer to see these manufactured homes grouped together more.  

Mrs. George said that the group needed to consider the impact that not allowing singlewides would have on family situations where a child wanted to live near their parents, but could not afford anything but a singlewide.  The Committee asked if exceptions could be made for this.  Mrs. George said that once property is zoned to the R-1 district then a singlewide could not be placed on that piece of property.

Mr. Stewart asked if staff had heard from the group members that have not been attending these meetings.  Mrs. George told him that the Planning Staff has continued to mail packets to these members, but has not heard anything from them otherwise.

Mr. Neill asked about the upcoming proposed accessory dwelling unit amendments to the Zoning Ordinance.  He asked if this would not help to minimize the singlewides.  

Mr. Stewart said that the problem that he has with the singlewide manufactured homes is that taxes are not paid on them, but they are required to be given the same consideration as other types of housing.

Mr. Neill asked about the requirements of attaching singlewides to property.  Mrs. George said that right now all that is required is underpinning.  Mr. Neill asked if the group could recommend that all singlewides must be underpinned with brick or in some form that legally attaches them to the land on which they are located.  Mrs. George said that there are some uncertainties in the Tax Office with this change causing the singlewides to become part of the property.  She would pursue this with the Tax Office.  Mr. Paul Beatty and Mr. Neill said that they thought that masonry underpinning should be required for singlewide manufactured homes.  Mr. Nolley asked for the group’s opinion on this matter.  Mr. Stewart said that he agrees with this and thinks that it should be done also.  The exception would be for temporary situations where a house is being constructed or the like.  Mrs. George clarified that temporary manufactured homes are still prohibited in districts that do not permit manufactured homes outright.  Mr. Neill made a motion to require that any singlewides manufactured homes that are placed in this area must remove their axles and tongues and would have to be underpinned with a masonry underskirting.  Mr. Stewart seconded and the group approved this recommendation unanimously.

Mrs. Sides went over some proposed changes that she and Mrs. Weaver had identified with a marker on the working map.  Mr. Neill suggested that the bigger tracts owned by Crescent Resources remain R-2 to suffice for this zoning classification being included in this planning area.  Mrs. Sides said that the only problem with this proposal was that the majority of the Crescent property is located along the lake and is mostly within the buffer along the lake that the group has identified for R-1 zoning.

Mr. Nolley asked the group their feelings about the changes that had been suggested by Mrs. Sides and Mrs. Weaver.  The group reviewed these recommendations on the map and identified areas for each zoning district and then marked these areas on the map.  Several pockets of R-2 zoning were located in the interior of properties, away from roads.  The Committee requested that Murray’s Mill and Little Mountain Road be buffered with 1000 feet of  R-1 zoning.  They also indicated that where parcels were split, the zoning would go to the higher designation of R-1.

Mrs. George told the group that the cost for rezoning this area would be somewhat high and could not be funded under the current budget.  Mr. Stewart said that he thought that the Commissioners would have taken this into account when these Small Area Plans were initially being kicked off.  She told the group that more than likely this would not be able to be funded until the 2001-2002 budget was adopted.  Mr. Neill said that it should be assured that this next budget includes the fees for these rezonings, otherwise the group has worked in vain for the last two years.

Mrs. George told the group that these changes would be updated on the map so that they could review this at the next meeting.  She said that the group would then need to cover a few other areas and wrap some topics up for their recommendations.

The corridor for the new area of the four-lane Highway 16 was briefly discussed.

The next meeting date is scheduled for Thursday, September 20, 2001.

Mr. Nolley adjourned the meeting at 9:05 p.m.