Startown Small Area Plan Committee Meeting
for April 7, 2005

The Startown Small Area Planning Committee met on Thursday, April 7, 2005 in the 2nd Floor Meeting Room of the Catawba County Government Center in Newton, North Carolina.

Members present: Tony Wolfe, Chairman, Clarence Hood, Reba Reinhardt, Charlie Wyant, Dawn Mull and Thomas Jones

Members absent: Chip Canupp, Kevin Saunders, Jerry Lael, Rusty Lutz, and Glenn Pattishall

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

Chairman Tony Wolf called the meeting to order at 7:02 pm and welcomed those present.

The minutes/summary was approved with one change - Dawn Mull was shown as present and she was not.

Mr. John Kenny told the group that had a lot to cover at this meeting to get ready for the community meeting scheduled for Thursday, May 19th.

Mr. Eubanks handed out information regarding a landowner along Startown who had talked to him about a possible rezoning from R-2 Residential to a commercial zone. He told the group he informed the owner that he would bring his request to the Committee's attention for their input. He pointed out that half his property is located within Newton's zoning and the other half is in the County's zoning. He informed the group that he had told the property owner if he had a plan or knew what he wanted to do with his property if rezoned, those who make the decision to change the zoning might be more receptive. The Committee agreed that at this time they did not see any reason to recommend this property be changed from residential zoning.

Mr. Kenny reviewed Map #8 (Proposed Zoning Map) which reflected the suggestions that had been made concerning zoning. One of the members remarked that it looked like about 75% would be zoned R-1. He also didn't understand what was shown on the map close to the Lincoln County line. He further stated that there was not enough balance with the way the zoning showed on this map.

Ms. Reinhardt stated she didn't want to see the Committee cut out all the areas in which mobile homes could be located. Ms. Lytle said as the market changes, people are opting more for condos and townhouses vs. double or singlewides. Ms. Reinhardt stated that she wanted to give the people who owned land the ability to make decisions on what they can put on their property. Ms. George stated that this could be done by the use of buffers.

After a lot of discussion concerning the proposed zoning on Map 8, the Committee decided to add the Zoning District R-3, which would allow doublewides and stick built homes. This R-3 District would be located along Startown Rd., Blackburn Bridge Rd. and Hickory-Lincolnton Rd. with 100 ft. buffer setbacks that would include a 30 ft. vegetated buffer. This buffer would be required in new subdivisions only. The 100 ft. setbacks with the 30 ft. vegetated buffer were already recommended along Rome Jones Rd. and Startown Rd. (south of Hwy. 10) and Sigmon Dairy Rd.

Mr. Kenny summarized the discussion of Map 8 (Zoning Map) by noting that the area north of Hwy. 10 would remain R-1 Residential and the area south of Hwy. 10 would be rezoned to R-3 except that which is currently zoned R-1. The areas remaining would be zoned R-2 Residential. Also, 100 ft. setbacks would be required on Startown Rd., Blackburn Bridge Rd., Hickory-Lincolnton Hwy., Rome Jones Rd. and Startown Rd. The reasoning for the 100 ft. setback was to preserve the scenic byway proposed for their planning area and to allow for affordable housing south of Hwy. 10.

The Committee then turned to a discussion of the section dealing with "Community Facilities and Public Services." Concerning schools under Guiding Principles, Mr. Kenny told the group about the current school situation for their planning area and reviewed the School District Map with them. He explained to them that the new Maiden High School will be finished by the beginning of the 2006 school year, with some students moving from the Foard district to the new high school. Two elementary schools are located in the planning area. Startown Elementary remains near building capacity (775) since 2000 and will remain near capacity until 2011. Blackburn Elementary data shows student population has exceeded building capacity since 2000 and will remain over capacity until 2011. Under Plan Recommendations, the group wanted to change point #1 to read "Enhance the use of school facilities for public recreation building activities." They agree to leave points two and three under school recommendations as proposed but change point #4 to say "Explore the feasibility of options for construction of school facilities."

Mr. Kenny announced that Parks and Greenways would be discussed when Natural and Cultural Resources was reviewed by this group.

The next item to be discussed under Guiding Principles was libraries. There were two points presented - 1) maintain adequate level of library services for the community and 2) encourage continued cooperation with municipalities. The two recommendations for libraries in this planning area were: 1) continue cooperation with municipalities in providing library service and 2) maintain existing levels of library service and increase as needed. These recommendations were approved with no additions. It was noted that libraries for public use should be placed in new schools.

Mr. Kenny reviewed under Guiding Principles water/sewer services. There were two points under guiding principles. An addition was made to the second point at the end of sentence to read - "in close proximity to existing city infrastructure." The recommendations for water and sewer included four points, which the Committee agreed with. They did recommend adding to point 2 at the end of the sentence - "and smart growth principles."

Concerning Emergency Services under Guiding Principles there was only one point in this category. This was changed to read: "Maintain and consolidate facilities with fire, rescue, EMS, and law enforcement and expand existing levels of service as necessary." The two Plan recommendations of maintaining existing levels of service and continuing to support and develop measures to reduce medical response times were approved by the Committee.

Mr. Kenny informed the group that they would make necessary zoning changes on Map 8 for the Committee to review at its next meeting, as well as reviewing some of the other changes that they had recommended. He stated that they would also be discussing Natural and Cultural Resources at that time.
Mr. Kenny talked about the community meeting to be held on May 19th at the Startown School Gymnasium. This will be a drop-in meeting for the public from 5:00-800 pm. There will be large maps for the public to review as well as the Committee's recommendations. Also, there will be written handouts with the recommendations. There will be opportunities for the public to express their opinions about these recommendations in written form or in discussion with Startown Committee members or staff. He said that he would have handouts advertising this community meeting ready for the Committee at the next meeting. If they want church bulletin handouts, they need to contact him or Andrea before the next meeting so these can be printed.

Ms. George stated that once the public meeting is held, staff would be meeting with the Board of Commissioners on a one-on-one basis to discuss their recommendations before this Committee will have another meeting as a group. A joint meeting with this Committee and Planning Board will be held before the Planning Board hears this request. She stated that it would probably be July or August before their Plan would go to the Planning Board for its review and recommendations to the Board of Commissioners.

Chairman Wolfe reminded everyone that the next meeting is scheduled for April 19th (a Tuesday) in the 2nd Floor Meeting Room of the Government Center beginning at 7:00 pm.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:47 pm.