Startown Small Area Plan Committee Meeting
for February 10, 2005

Members Present: Tony Wolfe, Chairman; Chip Canupp, Vice-Chairman; Reba Reinhardt; Clarence Hood; Jerry Lael; Thomas Jones; Glenn Pattishall; and Rusty Lutz

Members Absent: Charlie Wyant, Dawn Mull, and Kevin Saunders

Staff Present: Jacky Eubanks, Mary George, Sue Ballbach, and Connie Killian from the Catawba County Planning Department; and John Kenny and Andrea Lytle from the Western Piedmont Council of Governments.

Chairman Wolfe called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm when he welcomed everyone present.

The minutes were approved with one change - a misspelled word on page 3, fourth line from bottom, "wise" to "wished."

Mr. Wolfe turned the meeting over to Mr. John Kenny to discuss land use planning recommendations. Mr. Kenny stated he wanted the Committee members to look at their previous recommendations to make sure that this is wanted the group intended. He reviewed the written document concerning Land Use Plan Recommendations and specifically the area under residential recommendation concerning multi-family homes which included the following design elements: limited access/internal access road that is landscaped; 30 ft. landscaped buffer along road frontages; and limited signage such as monument style sign that is low to the ground. He discussed their recommendation concerning open space and the fact that a single-family subdivision should be required to dedicate 30% of its total acreage to open space. The group did agree that this is what they wanted.

Mr. Jerry Lael, member of this committee, wanted to go on record to state that he was opposed to the village center proposed along Startown Rd. as shown on the map as he owns property that would be part of a proposed village.

Mr. Kenny reviewed the high-density development recommendations from the last meeting. There were three major recommendations including: 1) single-family homes should be developed at a maximum density of 1 unit per .5 acres with no public water or 1 unit per one-third acre where water is available; 2) mandatory clustering required for all major subdivisions on Startown Rd. south of NC Hwy. 10, Sigmon Dairy Rd. and Rome Jones Rd. to preserve rural character; and 3) new homes which would include all new subdivisions (minor and major) along Startown, south of NC Hwy. 10, Sigmon Dairy Rd., and Rome Jones Rd. should be set back 100 ft. from the road right-of-way. The committee noted that where a 30 ft. landscaped buffer is required, it could be included in the 100 ft. setback.

The next item discussed was the remaining area shown on the map in the Planning Area, which included the area south of NC Hwy. 10, west of Startown Rd and a one-half mile corridor along US Hwy. 321. Development in this area was recommended as low-density residential which would adhere to the following: 1) single-family homes should be developed at a maximum density of one unit per two acres clear of right-of-way; and 2) cluster subdivision design is encouraged.

Concerning major residential subdivisions in this SAP, all their points previously stated were agreed upon.

A question was asked about the two-acre school capacity and why the statement was made that the Committee recommended that school capacity no longer be a consideration regarding minimum lot sizes for new developments. Ms. George answered this by saying that the school capacity requirement was a temporary measure adopted by the Board of Commissioners. The Board stated that the ordinance would be amended based on the density recommendations from the small area plans.
Mr. Kenny stated that it would be useful to put the County's landfill on the land use map as well as the recreation map.

At this time Jacky Eubanks, Planning & Development Director, spoke to the Committee concerning the County's landfill. There are 500 + acres with additional lands being bought to establish a 300 ft. buffer surrounding the landfill. He said that a master plan for parks and recreation is now being developed and they would like to have some type of active recreation located in this buffer area. A possible golf course was discussed earlier when the County Engineer spoke to the Committee about the landfill. He said that there is a 33.6 acre tract northeast of the landfill which is owned by the Hmong community. They have been working on a master plan for a recreation area for their acreage. He noted that a portion of this property is located in the flood plain. Their goal is to make this a regional center for the Hmong people to come on weekends and special holidays. Eventually they want to build a building, picnic areas, and have passive recreational uses. In the future they want it to grow into a multi-state facility where people from the southeast could come for a weekend activity. He said that they are in the process of raising funds to start this project, but they had a long way to go. He stated that this property is zoned ED-I (321 Industrial) and they would have to have this property rezoned for a special use. They currently have limited zoning approval for temporary events. He stated that he is bringing this up for the committee to be aware of this potential use which could affect traffic in the area. He noted that this could possibly be a mixed used development under the new Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). He stated that if they wanted to make provisions to accommodate this use, it should be noted in their land use section. Ms. George reminded the group that this area is located in the Hwy. 321 corridor, which has very stringent regulations for development.

Ms. George reminded the group that when this Hmong community requests a rezoning, this small area plan will be used to make a recommendation for the rezoning. After a lot of discussion, it was the consensus of the group that they should not go on record as to recommending for a different type of use other than the current zoning. They commented that all should be treated equally in abiding by the county rules.

The next area discussed was current conditions and trends in housing in the Planning Area. Ms. Lytle stated that there had been a decline in houses constructed in this Plan's area every year since 2001. She stated that the number of permits issued for manufactured homes had dropped dramatically. She noted that this could be due to rising costs of these homes, appearance standards adopted by the County in 1996, and consumer demand for larger homes with more amenities.

Ms. Lytle discussed the Guiding Principles with the group and staff's recommendations. She informed the group that they could add, delete or change these principles if they so chose. These principles were for single-family, multi-family, manufactured homes, and retirement communities.

Mr. Kenny asked the group where, if anyplace, they wanted multi-family development to be located within their Plan area. He said that multi-family development should be located only where public water and sewer lines exist. Currently, multi-family development is allowed in the mixed-use zoning district at the interchange of Hwy. 321 at Hwy. 10 and the 321--Startown Rd interchange near Maiden, as well as the proposed interchange at US 321 and Rocky Ford Rd. It was explained to the Committee that multi-family dwellings were anything above a duplex. The committee agreed to allow multi-family at these locations in addition to the proposed village on Startown Road.

Mr. Eubanks stated that last year there were 2,041 houses sold in Catawba County - 31% of these houses were in the range of $80,000 - $131,000. Because of all the jobs being lost and salaries decreasing, there is a need for this range of housing. A place needs to be made for these types of housing. Multi-family housing could help alleviate the affordable housing problem because a lot of people can't afford homes, so they would have apartments as a place to live.

Concerning manufactured homes, about 90 percent of all permits up to 1996 were for manufactured homes but that manufactured home permits decreased dramatically since then. Ms. George pointed out on the map the zoning areas that would allow for manufactured homes and those areas that did not. She explained that the other Planning Committees had made recommendations for areas that they wanted to recommend for rezoning to not allow additional manufactured homes.

Mr. Eubanks pointed out on the density map that the properties that they are proposing to be two-acre lot sizes could be considered to prohibit manufactured homes. All the other plans have been consistent and recommended properties to be rezoned so that manufactured homes would not be allowed. Ms. George noted that the other Committees used criteria such as scenic road corridors, historical sites, etc. when they made their decisions about where to prohibit manufactured homes. A committee member commented that you probably would see very few mobile homes being placed on two-acre lots because the land would be so expensive they couldn't afford to place the home on the acreage. The Committee was asked to think about areas that they would like to have manufactured homes and areas that have housing that they might want to buffer to maintain the character of the area. They were asked to look at Map 3 (Zoning) and Map 6 (density) and mark up these maps where they would like to see manufactured homes. A suggestion was made that an inventory be conducted where manufactured homes are currently located to begin the discussion.

The next meeting is schedule for March 10, 2005 in the Government Center. Mr. Kenny stated that an extra meeting might be required in the next couple of months so this group can get back on schedule.

Chairman Wolfe adjourned the meeting at 8:57 pm.