St. Stephens/Oxford Small Area Planning Committee Meeting 
January 9, 2002

Members present:  Mike Williams, Larry Brittain, Mack Stafford, John Cline, Todd Miller, Anne Barrier (Chairperson and Planning Board liaison), Cliff Isaac and Jeff Kerley.

Members absent:  Ira Cline and John Robinson.

Staff present: Mary George and Richard Smith from the Catawba County Planning and Community Development Department, Anthony Starr from the City of Conover, and John Tippett from the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG).

Others present: Brenda Isaac, a citizen.

Mrs. Barrier called the meeting to order at 7:11 p.m.

Minutes from the December 19, 2001 meeting were approved as submitted.

Mrs. Barrier turned the meeting over to Mr. Tippett and Mrs. George to continue the discussion about land use for this area.  Mrs. George reviewed the land use working map for this area with the group, pointing out the areas that were not given a final designation at the previous meeting.  The area at the intersection of Springs Road and St. Peters Church Road, near Sigís Tire Center was designated as a neighborhood commercial area.  

Mr. Cline asked for something showing the differentiation of the designations such as neighborhood commercial and what was used to determine this.  Mrs. George referred to previous handouts that had zoning use charts on them and explained how these were used to determine these particular designations.  After these designations were discussed, Mr. Cline said that he thought that there should be smaller scale uses allowed for those intersections previously designated as neighborhood commercial along Hwy. 16.  He explained that he did not want to see strip centers coming in and taking away from what the cities such as Conover, Hickory and Newton already have to offer for the community.  

Mr. Starr said that Conover has not even been able to attract a supermarket within their Highway 16 corridor with infrastructure available because of the lack of enough people.  Mr. Cline said that he was just worried about these nodes being out in the area because of what effect that they could have on the towns and the sense of community.  Mr. Williams said that he would worry about the flip side of that and be scared that people would not move into the area because of the lack of commercial uses out in the area.

Mr. Cline said that he had heard his fellow members discuss the desire for green space in this area and he feels like rural nodes would achieve this better.  Mrs. George went over the uses that would not be permitted at these nodes if they were changed to rural.  Mr. Brittain said that he did not see a total of 25 acres at each node as something that would create sprawl.  

Mr. Williams said that the group is trying to answer questions about commercial uses without the residential information available to determine this.  Mr. Brittain said that he sees the groupís challenge is to look into the future and project what changes will occur and to plan for those accordingly.  Mrs. Barrier noted that plans do change and clarified that just because the group designates a particular area a certain way does not mean that someone will rush to change it to a use allowed within that particular designation.  Mr. Brittain said that there has not been a new house built near the intersection of Oxford School Road and Highway 16 in the last 40 or more years.

Mrs. George asked the group for a consensus regarding these nodes noting that this could be downgraded with a note that it be re-evaluated in the future.  Mr. Stafford said that he thought this could be revisited later due to the time that the group has already spent on it at this meeting.  The Committee agreed to re-designate the nodes on Hwy. 16 as rural with a note that they be re-evaluated in five years for upgrading to neighborhood commercial.
Next Mrs. George reviewed on the map the mixed use, office institutional and industrial use designations that were determined at the last meeting.  Mr. Williams asked about industrial zoning in the county and Mrs. George explained that these uses were evaluated for rezoning based on the current plans and existing uses, on a case-by-case basis.  The Committee identified the intersection of C &B Farm Road and Hwy. 16 as a future office-institutional node.

Mr. Cline asked about billboards and what it would take to prevent several from being constructed in an area so close to one another.  Others asked what it would take to keep billboards from being constructed along Interstate 40 and Highway 16.  Mrs. George explained what was included in the Highway 321 Corridor Plan, which prohibits these types of signs.  Mr. Tippett said that logo signage is more common now and seems to be more effective.  The group decided to recommend provisions preventing billboards along Interstate 40 and Highway 16.  

The location of existing waterlines and sewer lines was discussed and Mrs. George showed the group a map with this information on it.

Next, Mrs. George asked the group to use the working map to facilitate a  discussion of future residential densities within their district.  The group discussed a one-acre lot size density and a minimum lot width of 100 feet within 500 feet of the Catawba River or Lookout Shoals Lake to protect water quality.  The Committee began reviewing other densities within their district.  This discussion will continue at their next meeting.  

The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, February 13, 2002 at 7:00 p.m. in the Conover City Hall. 

Mrs. Barrier adjourned the meeting at 9:10 pm.