Startown Small Area Plan Committee Meeting
for March 10, 2005

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

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

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

Chairman Wolfe opened the meeting at 7:01 pm. The summary/minutes were approved as submitted.

Chairman Wolfe stated that the first discussion of the meeting would be housing plan recommendations and standards.

Mr. John Kenny told the Committee that he would like to start with the manufacturing housing issue. He showed the locations on Map 8 of the major existing manufacturing home subdivisions. He stated there are two located north of Hwy. 10 near Robinson Rd., one located on Startown Rd. at Hass Dr., a couple on Sigmon Dairy Rd., one located on W. Maiden Rd., one near Maiden and the Catawba County line, and the Cedarfield subdivisions, which is located near Fairway Acres subdivision. Mr. Kenny asked the group where they would like to see these manufactured homes allowed in the future and he needed to know the reasons for their suggestions. He reiterated that there is a need for this type of housing.

Ms. Andrea Lytle explained some of the criteria used by other committees to help them make their recommendation concerning manufactured homes. She explained that they looked at the areas within their districts where manufactured homes were already located/ allowed and then they decided to increase or retain that area for this future use.

A question was asked about allowing children to be able to put mobile homes on parents' property. Ms. Sue Ballbach explained that only one principal structure per lot is permitted; therefore, the parents would need enough land to subdivide the property and still meet the acreage requirements of the zoning district (exclusive of right-of-ways). Ms. George reminded the committee that permits for manufactured homes has declined significantly in recent years. One committee member stated that lenders were making it more difficult to finance single and doublewides. It was also suggested that economic factors will probably minimize the demand for manufactured homes.

Mr. Eubanks said all the yellow area, which the Committee proposes to be designated as R-1, would not allow mobile homes as a matter of right. Existing mobile home subdivisions could continue to allow mobile homes and if there are empty lots in these subdivision. They would still be subject to the appearance criteria as is required presently. He said the other SAP committees decided to allow certain areas to remain R-2 for mobile homes, and this Committee may decide to do likewise to accommodate mobile homes.

A committee member asked what options were available concerning manufactured homes. Ms. George explained that they could retain R-2 zoning where it currently exists, which would allow single and doublewide manufactured homes, or they could select areas where they wanted manufactured homes to be located.

Ms. Lytle stated that Balls Creek Small Area Planning Committee chose to rezone 51% of the planning area for stick built homes only (R-1) and to rezone 13% to permit doublewides (R-3). She stated the committee needed to justify their reasoning when choosing what areas should be rezoned.

A Committee member asked how much land in the other Small Area Plans that was originally zoned for manufactured homes had recommended rezoning to not permit them. Ms. George replied that about 60% of the land in the adopted Small Area Plans was recommended for rezoning to not permit manufactured homes. She informed the members that at the present time about 80-90% of the Startown area allows manufactured homes. Mr. Glenn Pattishall mentioned that if manufactured homes are restricted in the Small Area Plans other than Startown, many of the manufactured homes may migrate to the Startown area.

Mr. Glenn Pattishall stated that mobile homes are different than affordable housing because they depreciate in a way that most stick-built housing does not. He said in most cases they have a negative impact on surrounding housing. However, the law states that some areas must be provided for manufactured homes.

Ms. Reba Rinehardt stated that she would not like mobile homes located along Startown Rd. The idea of deed restrictions and adding more appearance criteria to mobile homes was mentioned.

A suggestion was made to create a buffer around existing stick-built neighborhoods and along the scenic loop the Committee had recommended. After some discussion and working with the map, the Committee recommended R-1 zoning in the following areas:

  • From Rocky Ford Rd. north and east of Hwy. 321
  • Startown Rd. - 100 ft. along each side of road from Hwy. 10 to County line
  • Scenic corridor loop roads - 100 ft. along each side of the road
  • Rome Jones Rd. around The Knolls subdivision

The map will be discussed further at the next meeting.

The next discussion concerned options for multi-family and retirement housing. Ms. George reminded the group that the proposed village and 321 ED-MX zoning district would permit these types of development. In order for apartments to be developed, the property would have to be rezoned and would have to have water and sewer available. The consensus of the Committee was that the areas recommended for mixed-use zoning would be adequate to provide for multi-family and retirement housing.

Mr. Kenny stated that the next item for the group to review concerned economic development. He stated that one effort had been completed by the Foresight Committee, which is a Catawba County strategic planning group that was facilitated by WPCOG. This committee looked at four issues crucial to Catawba County's economy: 1) jobs and economy; 2) schools and education; 3) environment; and 4) leadership and political action.

Another planning effort, called Future Forward, has developed a comprehensive economic development strategy for a 12-county area stretching from I-77 west to McDowell County and from the mountains to the South Carolina state line. This effort will make these areas available to apply for grant monies and give them a better chance to get these grants. He discussed the Guiding Principles that had been included in their agenda packet. Under Plan Recommendations, he discussed some of the development standards that would make developments more attractive. One suggestion was made to use native plants so that the vegetation would be more likely to survive and require less maintenance. Mr. Kenny stated that this recommendation would also be added to the Future Land Use Recommendations as well.

Mr. Kenny suggested that an additional meeting would be necessary for the Committee to complete their work before the May public meeting. The May public meeting will be a drop-in meeting to give the community a chance to review the recommendations by the Committee. The three dates suggested were May 12th, 17th, or 19th depending upon gym availability at Startown School. This group decided that its meetings in April would be on April 7 and April 19.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:57 pm.