St. Stephens/Oxford Small Area Plan Committee meeting - April 11, 2001

The meeting began at 7:05 PM in the River Bend Middle School library.

Members present: Anne Barrier (Chairperson), Todd Miller, Cliff Isaac, Larry Brittain, Mack Stafford, and Jeff Kerley. 

Members absent: Ira Cline, John Cline, John Robinson and Mike Williams.

Staff Present: Mike Dove, Mary George and Rich Hoffman from the Catawba County Planning Department; Susan Baumann and John Tippett, consultants from the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG).

Ms. Barrier opened the meeting and welcomed all present.  The minutes from the March 21, 2001 meeting were approved. 

Ms. George: Passed out a draft agenda for the community input meeting to take place on May 3, 2001.  The purpose of the meeting is to solicit responses from the community regarding specific questions.  The questions are 1) likes of the area, 2) dislikes or concerns of the area, 3) future vision of the area.  Staff will act as facilitators and/or as general help to answer questions.  The facilitators will ask each member of the public to respond to each of the three questions.  Responses will be complied and people will then vote on the issues.  This is a brainstorming exercise where all responses are welcomed. 

Mr. Dove: The goal of the meeting is to not get bogged down on any one issue but to rather compile all issues and to hear from everyone. 

Ms. Barrier: The idea is to get enough people from the community to attend the meeting. 

Mr. Brittain: Is there another way to compile responses to the questions since not everyone with comments can attend the meeting. 

Mr. Dove: Responded to Mr. Brittain by mentioning that the County has a web site and we may be able to set it up to accept responses.

Ms. George: Mentioned that there is a press release as well as flyers posted on various government bulletin boards.  This was in response to a question from Mr. Kerley.

 

Ms. Barrier: Began the photo exercise by discussing the pictures she took.  Her pictures included 1) an open display of junk, 2) a tractor-trailer parked overnight in the Highway 16 right-of-way, 3) a home close to the road on County Home Road, 4) sign clutter on road right-of-way, 5) lack of landscaping in medians on Highway 16 and Highway 127, 6) a positive image of the Ivey Arboretum, and 7) a negative image of land clearing for developments. 

Mr. Kerley: His pictures included 1) positive landscaping images at the Belle Hollow Shopping Center on Highway 127, 2) cul-de-sac neighborhoods which have adequate spacing of homes, nice landscaped yards, and show children playing, 3) general open-space, 4) positive landscaping at a doctors office on Sandy Ridge Road at Lowes Foods, 5) a 3-story office building that looks out of place in a residential area – this building blocks the view and the sun to the homes, 6) lack of maintenance (trash build-up and roads in need of repairs) in mobile home parks, 7) the piling up of 31 cars and 2 buses at a residence 8) general trash and junk in residential yards.  He cautioned the committee about recommending sidewalks on both sides of the street in residential subdivisions especially in rural areas.  He also mentioned keeping lots a certain size in the County to keep the rural feel. 

Mr. Brittain: His pictures included 1) neighborhoods that contain patio-homes where the resident does not have to maintain a large lot.  He mentioned the increased tax base opportunities with locating more residences on a piece of property, 2) a nicely remodeled older home at River Bend and Oxford School Roads, 3) views of open-spaces with cattle, 4) negative images of trailer parks where there is junk evident in plain view, 5) the safety concern of the intersection of C&B Farm Road and Highway 16.  Ms. George mentioned that this area is currently being studied by NCDOT at the request of this Committee.  He also mentioned that clustering and Transfer of Development Rights could be reviewed for future discussions.

Mrs. George presented Mr. Cline’s photos: His pictures included 1) Summerfield Subdivision and Strawberry Fields Subdivision are good examples of nice houses at starter homes prices, 2) the negative images of livestock in residential neighborhoods, 3) manufactured home neighborhoods where the houses are too close together, and trash on the side of the road. 

Committee:  A general discussion arose regarding trash and littering throughout the area. 

Mr. Tippett:  He mentioned that certain heavily traveled roads (where traffic counts indicate and higher accident rates are noticed) can be considered a more urgent need and NCDOT can address corrective measures as opposed to waiting for an adopted plan.  He discussed the pedestrian system where sidewalks are encouraged.  An idea for the bicycle network could be to link trails.  The committee mentioned that bicycle use is evident on Highway 16, Springs Road, and Oxford School Road.  Mr. Tippett mentioned that if the committee identifies routes and they become part of an adopted plan then when resurfacing projects are underway by NCDOT it will help secure extra pavement width.  This could help moped use as well.  A goal of transit is to link different modes of transportation.  This is difficult in Counties.  Currently human service transit is available in the County (i.e., mental health and meals on wheels); also Piedmont Wagon Service is available.  This is a service that can be expanded in the future.  Passenger rail service should be available by 2005.  A route linking Asheville to Salisbury is anticipated.  Funding is not in place yet, but there is approval for a Hickory junction.  Mr. Tippett asked the committee to look into the future and envision how they want transit to function. 

Committee: A general discussion arose regarding how narrow roads are.

Ms. Barrier: Brought up the issue of the further impact subdivision traffic will have on roads. 

Mr. Kerley: Asked what will the Small Area Plans impact be on existing zoning i.e., school capacity.  Ms. George responded that the outcomes of the Small Area Plans could help the County plan for needed facilities and services. 

Committee: General comments arose regarding the lack of commercial uses in the area and that it did not appear to bother members.  Although it was noted that residential taxes do not cover all of the costs of needed services. 

The next meeting will be June 13, 2001 in Conover.  The committee will not meet in May due to the scheduled community input meeting. 

The meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM.