SHERRILLS FORD SMALL AREA PLANNING COMMITTEE MEETING - 
SEPTEMBER 20, 2001 

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

Members absent: Mark Sigmon, Clyde Sigmon, Paul Beatty (Planning Board liaison), 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 7:08 p.m.  The minutes from the last meeting were reviewed and approved with two minor changes.  The first change was to clarify the area around Little Mountain Road allowed for singlewides to be between Mt. Beulah and the curve in the road at the powerline.  The second change was to have a 1000 foot buffer of R-1 zoning along Murray’s Mill and Little Mountain Road.

Mr. Nolley asked Mr. Howard to review the changes on the proposed land use map to be sure that he agreed to what the group had decided.  He agreed with the change that the group had made at the previous meeting.

Mr. Smith informed the group that on Monday, September 17, 2001 the Board of Commissioners approved the Nixon/Little rezoning on Slanting Bridge Road at the Lincoln County line.

Mr. Nolley then turned the meeting over to Mrs. George to continue the discussion of the areas to be rezoned.  Mrs. George reviewed the draft-rezoning map with the group.  She informed the group that she had checked with the Tax Office and they told her that even if a singlewide mobile home were underpinned with brick, it would typically be treated like personal property and not real property.  Mr. Neill asked where the rezoning map went from here and Mrs. George told him that it would first be presented at a community meeting and then it would go to the Planning Board and Board of Commissioners.

The group reviewed this map in detail in order to fully understand what they were recommending.  The total acreage for their area was calculated at approximately 45,000 acres with 25,000 acres proposed to be rezoned R-1 (representing 55% of the area), 9,700 acres proposed to be rezoned R-3 (representing 22% of the area) with 1400 acres remaining R-2 (representing 3%).  Mrs. George said that she would have the GIS staff to review the percentage and acreage numbers for accuracy.

Mr. Nolley said that he would like to see a future zoning map which included the total acreage of all three residential districts including the rezonings as discussed.  Mr. Howard asked if there was any area in the proposed high-density that was zoned R-2 (which allows singlewide mobile homes).  He said that from a legal standpoint, it seems that it would be tough to justify this proposal without some of the high-density area being zoned R-2.  He said that the percentage that was currently being proposed for this area did not seem to be fair to him.  Mr. Stewart said that this point of view could be looked at from a reverse angle in that the taxpayers of the area would probably view it as fair since singlewide owners do not pay real property taxes on them. Mr. Stewart said that he thought the group should try to get as much of this area rezoned from R-2 as possible.

Mr. Neill said that what is on this map is what this group is recommending and that it would get legal interpretations (filtering) when it got to the Planning Board and Board of Commissioners.  Mr. Neill recommended making the density higher for the areas that are to remain R-2.  He recommended going with 2 units per acre.  Mr. Howard said that it seems more logical to him to stay with the densities as the group has already recommended and if any changes were going to be made, then he would say that it would be better to identify another “pocket” or area that could  remain zoned R-2.

Mr. Beatty said that he thought that the area near the intersection of Sherrills Ford Road and Slanting Bridge Road might be better suited as an R-2 area.  The group discussed this area and possibly making it high-density, but they decided to leave it as already recommended.  The residential area around Prodelin and CommScope was discussed as an area that could be changed to R-2.  Mr. Stewart asked about a percentage recommendation for areas near industrial uses/zoning.  
Mr. Neill stated the purpose for the proposed R-1 rezonings was that from a planning perspective, this area with its proximity to Charlotte and the Mooresville area has a greater demand for stick-built homes.  He also said that the majority of the past rezonings in this area for residential properties has been to the R-1 designation.  In addition, permits historically from this area have been for stick-built homes.   Mr. Neill said that another justification for the rezonings from R-2 was the new four-lane Highway 16 and the demand for stick-built homes that it would bring to the area.   

Mrs. George informed the group about the Board of Commissioners’ decision to suspend indefinitely the proposed sewer plant for this area.  Mrs. Sides asked about the impact that this would have on the 2-acre requirement for this area.  Mrs. George told her that the group’s recommendations included removing the school capacity, water and sewer requirement for their high density areas and the 2 acre lot sizes did not require public sewer.  She said that the bigger impact of the sewer plant not being constructed in the near future was mainly on commercial uses.

The group decided that it would be better to increase the amount of R-2 zoning in this area slightly.  They discussed and identified an area along Grassy Creek Road on the map as an area that should remain R-2.  Next they revisited the area of Bolton Road near Brown’s Chapel Road and also identified it as an area to remain as R-2.  Another area near Island Point Road was identified as an area to remain as R-2.  These areas were revisited by the group because of the existence of singlewides presently in those areas or near industrial areas.  

Mrs. George asked the group to clarify their reasoning for the higher density along the lake.  The group said that the reasoning for recommending ¾ acre lots was the current development patterns that are already occurring along the lake.  She told the group that the maps would be changed to include their latest recommendations and would be available for review at the next meeting.

The group asked about signage in the area and expressed concerns about some recent signs that were being constructed along Highway 150.  They said that they wanted to get a grasp on this immediately and Mrs. George explained to them that they had recommended this, but until it is adopted the signs are permitted under the current guidelines.   The group unanimously recommended prohibiting billboards along the Highway 150 corridor area.

Mr. Stewart asked about the speed limit recommendations for this area.  He said that the speed limit along Slanting Bridge Road in its entirety should be reduced to 45 miles per hour and the group concurred with this recommendation.  Mr. Beatty said that the portion of Mt. Pleasant Road from Little Mtn. Road to Hwy. 150 should also be reduced and the group concurred with this.  Mr. Stewart said that Buffalo Shoals Road from Hwy. 16 to Bandys Crossroads should be reduced to 45 m.p.h. also and this was the consensus.  

Mr. Nolley asked for other issues that the members wanted to discuss.  Mr. Neill said that he liked the new accessory dwelling unit change that was adopted by the Planning Board and Board of Commissioners.  Mrs. George explained this provision to the group.

Next Mrs. George reviewed the Guiding Principles and Plan Recommendations for the Housing Section that the group had established thus far.  These outcomes were listed on sheets that were distributed to the members at the beginning of the meeting.  

Mr. Hunsucker discussed his concern about the availability of multi-family in this area.  Mr. Neill said that with the sewer plant being put on hold, this group would need to revisit this in their recommendations.  He said that the requirement of public sewer should possibly be relaxed.  Mr. Hunsucker said that multi-family units in the form of condominiums should be considered for areas along the lake.  He said that with the ¾ acre per unit requirement, he thought that this could be achieved.  He said that he thinks that there is some demand for this type of housing along the lake.  He clarified that this was a higher-class type of housing unit and not the type that is on Highway 150 in Iredell County near Big Daddy’s restaurant.    

Mrs. George pointed out that the areas along the lake are recommended by the group to be R-1, which is a district that does not allow multifamily.  

Mrs. George asked the group if they had any thing that they wanted to add to the recommendations that were reviewed and the group did not have any others.  She then reviewed the handout that listed the Current Conditions for the Community Facilities and Public Services section.  Mr. Nolley asked that for sake of clarity, a change be made to the Growth Management wording under the Guiding Principles.  The group agreed that the wording of the plan should be such that the public could understand it.  

Mrs. George explained that the format of the plan had been adjusted so that it was more user-friendly and that the topics were listed together, rather than scattered throughout various areas of the plan.  She asked the group to review the handouts for discussion at the next meeting.

Mrs. George told the group that realistically, it would be best for them to target January or February of 2002 for the community meeting.  She also told the group that a representative from NCDOT would be at the next meeting to present information about the update to the County’s Thoroughfare Plan.

The next meeting date is scheduled for Thursday, October 18, 2001.

Mr. Nolley adjourned the meeting at 9:08 p.m.