St. Stephens/Oxford Small Area Planning Committee Meeting
July 11, 2001

Members present: John Cline, Mike Williams, Cliff Isaac, Larry Brittain, John Robinson and Jeff Kerley.

Members absent: Mack Stafford, Todd Miller, Anne Barrier (Chairperson and Planning Board liaison), and Ira Cline

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

Mrs. George called the meeting to order at 7:07 p.m.

Minutes from the last meeting were approved with no changes.

Mrs. George introduced Randy Williams, Planning Director for the City of Conover who presented Conover's newly proposed land use plan. (A copy of the slide show is attached as part of this meeting's minutes.) His presentation included various specific items such as boundary agreements, growth areas, nodes, connectivity, development trends, area planning, open space, and other areas.

Mr. Randy Williams told the group about the City of Charlotte's idea to minimize cul-de-sacs and to promote more connectivity. The group discussed whether or not connectivity should be a requirement. Mr. Mike Williams and Mr. Kerley argued that they thought that cul-de-sacs were still needed and were demanded greater by consumers. Mrs. George explained that safety is usually what is looked at when requiring connectivity or alternate entrances/exits to developments.

The group discussed development trends and compared strip developments with traditional developments. The location of buildings close to the roads as opposed to set back off of the road some was also discussed.

Mr. Randy Williams explained to the group that the annexation agreements were just areas agreed upon by the cities involved that clarified where they would annex when or if they ever do. He explained that it was cost prohibitive to annex an enormous sized area because of the services that the cities would have to provide.

Mrs. George explained that different people define high density differently. She said for example Hickory-By- Choice defines high density as six units per acre, whereas the Mountain View Small Area Plan includes a recommendation of two to two and a half units per acre, which is considered high density out in the County.

Mr. Randy Williams reviewed the Land Development Plan map for the City of Conover from 1992 and compared it to today's map. He pointed out to the group how much the city had changed or grown in these past ten years.

Mrs. George went over the process that the County requires in order for property to be approved for development in Catawba County. Mr. Mike Williams asked about Cline Plantation and how it was given approval and Mrs. George explained that this particular subdivision was in the City of Conover's jurisdiction, which does not have school capacity requirements. Mr. Mike Williams said that this means that there are other choices for developers then.

Mr. Brittain asked how much River Bend Park was being used since it had opened. Mrs. George told him that from all indications, this park has been a big success. She said that it was opened on the Fourth of July and had over thirty cars to sign in. She told the group that the park's hours were shortened due to budget constraints.

Mr. Randy Williams went over a map with the group and pointed out the predominate features and obstacles that the group would need to consider in order to develop their plan for this area. He told them that existing infrastructure, expanding infrastructure in the future, transportation, and other factors would need to be looked at when identifying areas as urban versus rural.

Mrs. George thanked Mr. Randy Williams for his presentation to the group.

The group will complete the discussion on transportation at the next meeting. Mrs. George told the group to be mindful of the transportation issues that they would want to discuss that pertain to this area. The next meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, August 8, 2001.

Mr. Tippett told the group that he believed that they now had an opportunity to see how complicated a task they have before them to plan for this area. He said that Conover, Hickory, and Claremont would affect this area and the information that Mr. Williams presented was a good example of this. He told them to be mindful of the issues that the group sees this area being faced with in the next 50 to 100 years.

Mrs. George adjourned the meeting at 9:06 pm.