Startown Small Area Plan Committee Meeting
for May 13, 2004

Members Present: Tony Wolfe, Chairman; Dawn Mull; Reba Reinhardt; Rusty Lutz; Clarence Hood; Jerry Lael; and Thomas Jones

Members Absent: Chip Canupp; Charlie Wyant; Kevin Sanders; Keith Stahley; and Glenn Pattishall

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

Chairman Wolfe called the meeting to order at 7:01 pm, and he welcomed those in attendance. He thanked all those who had participated in the Tuesday, May 11th community meeting held at Startown Elementary School. He said that he felt that this meeting was well attended and they received very good input for their plan recommendations.

The minutes were approved as submitted.

Mr. John Kenny addressed the Committee saying that he thought the public meeting went very well-people were responsive and had a lot of comments. He said that one of the things that this Committee needed to do is to make sure that the community knows who they are and who is on this Committee so if there are concerns or issues they can get in touch with a Committee member. He handed out the results of the May 11th public meeting for the group to review. He said that these results were organized by the three questions that were discussed with a breakdown of general issues. The three questions were: 1) What do you like about the Startown area? 2) What concerns do you have for the Startown area? and 3) What is your future vision of the Startown area?. The categories under these three questions included transportation, community, residential, public services, environment, commercial/industrial and other comments.

One of the positives mentioned was Walnut Creek Subdivision, but the Committee stated that they did not want to identify a specific subdivision but rather look at what made the development attractive, such as a landscape entrance or retention of trees. The Committee discussed land use controls, density and the availability of water and sewer in this area and how it could control the types of development that they would like to see take place. Ms. George said that a goal for this Committee would be to discuss how to balance these issues - land use controls, water and sewer and density and how all these factors can affect or control development.

The Committee then reviewed the community's identified concerns. The Committee asked how the Robinson Road extension project could be removed from the County Thoroughfare Plan. They felt that the short leg extension from Hwy. 10 to Robinson Rd. would be a better plan than the overall roadway connecting to W. Maiden Road. They felt that traffic would be increased if this section of roadway was constructed, especially since the Southern Corridor would cross Startown Road.

The Committee discussed the County's landfill and what possible uses could develop on the property when it was closed. The possibility of a golf course was discussed. A comment was made by a Committee member that he would like to see recreational uses on this land, not businesses that would use this property for commercial purposes. Several comments made at the community meeting concerned the landfill. Citizens wanted to find out about how to best manage the landfill for people living in the area, i.e. road trash, monitoring wells, etc. for the area. Another concern was the large tracts of land adjacent to the landfill that could possibly be used for future landfill area. Ms. George informed the Committee since there were so many questions concerning the landfill, she would have the County Engineer come and speak to the group to inform them on the County's future plans for the landfill.

Mr. Jacky Eubanks stated that this area is the only small are plan district in the County which is impacted by the landfill, so the Committee should go on record as to how they feel about the landfill and what they would like to see happen with it now and in the future. Mr. Eubanks also stated that this Committee should support cleaning up solid waste and junk cars within its Planning area.

The Committee then reviewed the future vision comments from the community meeting:

  1. Concern over the extension of Catawba Valley Blvd. - there would be two east/west roads in close proximity to each other which would generate more traffic.
  2. A middle school to be located in the Startown area.
  3. Have residential and shopping areas be developed into a village concept. This would be located in the north end area of Startown Road toward Hwy. 70.

The Committee members were reminded that they needed to use these suggestions as they make recommendations in their Plan. Mr. Eubanks told the Board that their final Plan will be used to help Planning Staff make decisions when new businesses, new schools, etc. are recommended to be placed in their Planning area.

Mr. Starr told the Committee that they needed to develop guiding principles for transportation in their area. Guiding principles are broader ideas that they would like to see happen. The principles formulated included the following:

  1. Evaluate the need for increased number of traffic signals/turn lanes to improve traffic safety.
  2. Improve communication by transportation officials when advertising public hearings for new roads, road changes, etc. which may include individual notification to property owners when affected.
  3. Adopt transportation policies that do not negatively impact air quality.
  4. Utilize transportation facilities that are already available, i.e. public buses and school buses, railroads, etc.
    The specific transportation recommendations identified by the Committee included:
  1. Install a turn-lane at W. Maiden Road at Canslers Crossroads.
  2. Install a left-hand turn at Hwy. 10 and Startown Rd. turning west onto Hwy. 10.
  3. Improve the intersection of Sigmon Dairy Road at Hwy. 10 to include a turn radius to accommodate truck traffic.
  4. Re-route truck traffic from Robinwood Rd./Sandy Ford Rd. directly to I-40.
  5. Install a left hand-turn at the intersection of Sandy Ford and Startown Rd.
  6. Evaluate the extension of Robinson Rd. to extend from Startown Road through Hwy. 10 to Rocky Ford Road. The remainder of the Robinson Road extension project was undesirable due to loss of open space along the Hwy. 321 corridor.
  7. Make a new interchange at Rocky Ford Rd. and Hwy. 321. This will alleviate landfill traffic concerns along Hickory-Lincolnton Hwy.
  8. Incorporate the early action air quality compact into the transportation improvement plan for this area.
  9. Recommend that future phases of the Catawba Valley Blvd. not be built; instead focus on the Southern Corridor as the top priority for the next east/west road to be built.
  10. Recommend that the Southern Corridor be built in a landscaped boulevard design cross-section.
  11. Require internal access of subdivision lots (not allow driveways along State roads).

Mr. Starr informed the Committee that they would continue the discussion of transportation recommendations with John Tippett, Unifour MPO Coordinator, at its next meeting to be held on Thursday, June 10th in the Meeting Room of the Catawba County Government Center. Also, planning staff from the Cities of Hickory and Newton will be presenting their future land use and infrastructure plans.

The meeting adjourned at 9:08 pm.