Startown Small Area Plan Committee Meeting
April 19, 2005

The Startown Small Area Planning Committee met on Tuesday, April 19, 2005 in the 2 nd Floor Meeting Room of the Catawba County Government Center in Newton, North Carolina.


Members present: Tony Wolfe, Chairman, Clarence Hood, Reba Reinhardt, Charlie Wyant, Rusty Lutz, Tom Jones and Chip Canupp.


Members absent: Dawn Mull, Kevin Saunders, Jerry Lael and Glenn Pattishall


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


Others present:   Kenyon Kelly, Catawba Valley Heritage Alliance


Chairman Tony Wolf called the meeting to order at 7:00 pm and welcomed those present.


The minutes/summary was approved with one change – in one place Dawn Mull’s name was incorrectly listed as “Donna Mull.”


Mr. Kenny began by reviewing changes to Map 8 (Proposed Zoning Map) which reflected the existing underlying zoning (mainly R-2) with hatching on top to reflect the Committee’s proposed changes to either R-1 or R-3. Clarence Hood wondered why parts of two lots (perhaps one lot) were proposed to be rezoned to R-1, rather than R-3 like the other lots west of Clarks Creek. Staff agreed to check on this point. Committee members made no other suggested changes to the revised version of Map 8.


John Kenny then turned to a discussion of the Natural and Cultural Resources and briefly reviewed the introductory text, noting the creeks and rivers in the Startown area, the state-wide watershed regulations that apply to only minimal portions of the Startown area, and lands in the southern part of the SAP along the South Fork that have been designated by landowners as a conservation easement with the Catawba Lands Conservancy. The Committee recommended to explore passive recreational opportunities, such as canoe access and greenways on the South Fork, with the Catawba Valley Heritage Alliance.


He then briefly discussed existing recreational opportunities and asked the Committee to consider innovative adaptive reuse recommendations for recreational, educational or research related opportunities for some of the land at the Blackburn Landfill, especially along the southern portion of that County-owned facility. Examples could include alternate energy exploration, horticultural research, and recycling possibilities that could aid in economic development. Partnerships could be explored with the schools and colleges for study/research possibilities. Perhaps contact CVCC to explore the possibility of using golf course, bike trails or greenway areas as a working turf classroom/experimental laboratory.


He then turned to Cultural Resources and pointed Committee members to Map 9 showing historic houses and farms listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Clarence Hood called the group’s attention to a couple of slight inaccuracies in the location of two properties (staff will check with Sidney Halma on this). Committee members also suggested other “old” farm houses that might be located on this map. The sites listed on Map 9 are those listed on the National Register and staff agreed to consult with Mr. Halma about mapping some of the sites Committee members suggested. Rusty Lutz suggested that the 19 th century site of a proposed County seat, named Crowdertown or Ulrichberg, might be an interesting site to locate. It was located north of Mauser Dr. off Startown Road. Staff will pursue this suggestion as well.


John Kenny then turned the discussion to the Guiding Principles, as proposed by the staff. The Committee was in general agreement and suggested adding comments encouraging conservation easements along the Henry and Jacobs Fork Rivers as well as the South Fork. In the Cultural Resources section, Jacky Eubanks asked the Committee to consider suggesting that owners of historic houses consider the option of adaptive reuse to keep the houses occupied and in use. The Committee approved this suggestion.


In the Recommendation section, the Committee agreed to the language on open space preservation suggested in the Land Use section of the Report and agreed to propose 30% of total land in new subdivisions be set aside as open space. They decided to recommend that trees be preserved in new subdivisions or replaced with native species if this were not possible.


They also recommended asking the NC legislature, if necessary, to allow the Transfer of Development Rights option to encourage preservation of farm lands and open space in exchange for more intense development in more urban areas with sufficient infrastructure. The Committee recommended the expansion of the Voluntary Agricultural District Program and establishment of a NCDOT-approved Scenic Byway along Startown Rd, Blackburn Bridge Road, Hickory-Lincolnton Hwy and NC Hwy 10. They also decided to encourage lands, already preserved as conservation easements along the area’s rivers and streams, be used for passive recreation by the general public.


As the meeting concluded, John Kenny reminded the Committee about the drop-in Community meeting on May 19 at Startown school, 5:30 to 8 pm. He distributed flyers advertising the meeting to Committee members to post at visible sites in the Startown area.


Chairman Wolfe and John Kenny thanked the group for its substantial work and encouraged them to tell friends and neighbors to attend the May 19 th Community meeting.


The meeting adjourned at 9 pm.