Startown Small Area Plan Committee Meeting
for June 10, 2004

Meeting Summary - REVISED August 12, 2004

Members Present: Tony Wolfe, Chairman; Reba Reinhardt, Clarence Hood, Charlie Wyant, Dawn Mull, Jerry Lael, Thomas Jones, Chip Canupp and Glenn Pattishall.

Members Absent: Rusty Lutz, Kevin Saunders and Keith Stahley

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

Mr. Tony Wolfe, Chairman, called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm and welcomed those present. He announced that Mr. Starr was going to be the new Manager for the Town of Catawba and would be leaving Western Piedmont Council of Governments, so he no would longer be working with this Committee after this meeting. He stated that the Committee members appreciated all the hard work that Mr. Starr had done for them on their Plan.

The minutes of the May 13th meeting were approved with changes to #1, #2 and #5 under the specific recommendations identified by the Committee. Changes included: #1 - turn lane to left turn signal; #2 - left-hand turn to left turn signal and 5 - left hand turn to signal light.

Mr. John Kenny stated that this meeting would conclude presentations on local planning initiatives. Reports concerning future land use developments and services would be presented by Mr. Glenn Pattishall, Planning Director and Assistant City Manager for the City of Newton, and Cal Overby, City Planner, for the City of Hickory.

Mr. Glenn Pattishall informed the Committee that the City provided a variety of services for its citizens including water, sewer, garbage pickup, road paving and electricity (unlike many cities). He said the City of Newton is planning for development within the Startown SAP boundaries. The City has extended waterlines and sewerlines into this Plan area primarily along Hwy. 10 and Startown Rd. He pointed out on a map two areas that had been annexed by the City in this area - approximately 100 acres which contain the City's raw water intake on the Jacobs Fork River and Rudisill Trucking, which is part of a business park located on Hwy. 10 just west of the new Hwy. 321. He stated that the City's water resources were dependable and during periods of drought no one had ever been put on any type of mandatory restriction. He said that they also have a city lake, which is located on 180 acres off Hwy. 10 at the end of Boston Rd. He stated that they are in the process of upgrading their water treatment facility that was built in the late 1980s and are dredging the lake to add capacity and would be constructing a new weir on the Jacob Fork at the raw water intake. A totally new retention facility will be built in the near future. Mr. Pattishall stated there are no plans at the present time to annex land in the area of the Startown Plan. He said there had not been an involuntarily annexation by the City of Newton since 1988. It is the City's approach to annex as development occurs when it has to provide services. He pointed out areas on a map that had been annexed into the city limits and the small amount of remaining ETJ. There is a 20-year Boundary and Annexation agreement with the City of Hickory that allows the City of Hickory to extend its boundaries north of a line shown on the map and the City of Newton to extend its boundaries to the south. He stated that this is a legally binding agreement, which can only be changed with a 5-year notice from one or the other of the parties. He further stated that no boundary agreement has been made with the Town of Maiden.

Mr. Pattishall said the City of Newton is trying to find industries that would be interested in locating in an industrial park area along Hwy. 10 West, tentatively called the Prime Power Park. Water, sewer and electricity are already in place to serve these properties. The Electri-cities organization may consider a partnership with the City to construct a bank of generators to power this area and other areas if needed. The City identified about 400+ companies who could benefit from having a generator and thast several of these companies are presently using these generators. One of the new trends is to have a generator located at individual plants for backup power that would also help reduce the price of electricity during peak power consumption times.

Another project that the City is working on is a new recreational park called the Jacobs Fork Park consisting of 100 acres, which was funded from a PARTF Grant. This park will include baseball and soccer fields, hiking and biking trails and a canoe launch. The plan is to have this park constructed by 2005.

Mr. Pattishall stated the City has a Water and Sewer Master Plan, which shows where future water and sewer expansions are projected. He noted that this plan respects its Boundary and Annexation agreement with the City of Hickory. He stated that the County is working with the City on extending waterlines along Settlemyre Bridge Road, Rocky Ford Road, Hickory-Lincolnton Hwy, using Blackburn Bridge Road, Sigmon Dairy Road, Rome Jones Road as loops to the existing water system. They are also working with the County to get sewer to the landfill and G&G lumber site.

Mr. Pattishall showed a map of fire districts located within this Plan's area. He stated that Newton currently provides most of the fire protection and they currently have a fire rating of 4. He further stated there are several districts within this area, which sometimes causes a delay in response time because the emergency services have to decide who needs to answer the call.

Mr. Pattishall said there were four general observations he would like to make. First, he addressed the Committee's expressed concern that there was an overabundance of industrial zoned land which would affect the quality of life. He reminded the Committee that the Hwy. 321 Corridor Plan defined the industrial areas based on proximity to Hwy. 321, a four-lane highway. Also the corridor standards in place promote higher quality development in the corridor. He stated that a mixture of residential and industrial uses is necessary for a healthy community. Next, he said that in order to preserve farmland and rural character, higher density development needs to be concentrated where the infrastructure is in place. This furthers the "smart growth" principles that are being applied across the State where you don't extend infrastructure into the areas designated as rural. Thirdly, he stated that utility service areas need to be delineated to ensure proper planning and financial commitment and to avoid territorial disputes. Last, he noted that the types of industry and businesses that locate in an area will have a direct impact on the local socio-economic factors, such as income levels, retail services established and schools.

Ms. Reinhardt said that there are a lot of places in Newton that could be developed as well as, empty buildings that could be used instead of moving out into this Planning area where they would like to keep the land as greenways and farmland.

Mr. Lael stated that he feels the City of Newton is envisioning moving its center into the industrial corridor at Hwy321 and Hwy. 10 with the mall construction, etc. He said that Newton has not grown in the last 20 years and he felt sure that when the new Hwy. 321 was completed, new development would come to this area.

Mr. Pattishall stated that there had been a significant amount of residential and industrial growth within the City limits in the past 10 years. Commercial development comes with the market and this has happened for the City of Newton with smaller developments. He reminded the Committee that the County's Land Use Development Plan for the Hwy. 321/Hwy. 10 areas show mixed uses and the City of Newton's Land Use Plan shows the same.

Mr. Lael asked what the cost of a tap-on fee for water was from the City of Newton. Mr. Pattishall replied that the cost was $450 for a waterline tap and $650 for a sewerline tap.

Ms. Reinhardt asked where the industries were located that used the generators that he had told them about. Mr. Pattishall replied that Moretz Hosiery, Hickory Springs, Sarsted, Prodlin and Casa Christina now use these generators to ensure that dependable power is available.

Mr. Lael asked about air pollution that these generators might create. Mr. Pattishall informed the Committee that he would get them information concerning generators at peak times and their emission data. He said that at the present time the City and County are in a down economic time and air quality had to be balanced with job creation.

Mr. Eubanks stated that the possibility of using empty warehouses or old industrial buildings is not always possible because the ceilings are not high enough or other factors with the building may not be compatible for modern manufacturing systems.

Mr. Cal Overby, City of Hickory Planner, then informed the Committee about the City of Hickory's planning initiatives. He told the group that the City of Hickory does not have an annexation plan for this area, but if someone wanted to be annexed they would entertain the idea if services could be provided. He said in 2000 the City of Hickory adopted a new Land Use Plan, and he reviewed a map that showed their five areas in this Plan. The northeast area showed Hickory's new industrial business park with a road, presently called Amity St., intersecting with St. Pauls Church Rd. There are 12 lots located in this park, which will require heavy landscaping, sidewalks and greenways when developed. He said that a creek runs along the Western boundary of this property. He explained that the area in the northeast and then south to Sandy Ford Road was the medium density area with lots in this area recommended to be ¼ to ½ acre in size. The extreme northeast corner of the area was the high-density area which is primarily residential. The area located along Catawba Valley Blvd. when developed and annexed by the City of Hickory, will also become high density. The area south of Sandy Ford Road and along Hwy. 321 was designated as the low-density area with one-half to 2-acre lots sizes. The map showed open space for future parks, waterways, floodplains or a geography feature that would not allow development. He noted that the Plan is projected for the next 20 years.

He pointed out the Henry River Overlay, which coincided with the City's sewer expansion in that area. To allow the City of Hickory to get NCDENR discharge permits for this area, an overlay had to be adopted in order to mitigate environmental effects. This overlay will impact properties only if the City annexes them. Low impact designs or wetlands must be shown on properties in this specific area. A 50 ft. buffer would be required along the Henry River and 100 ft. buffer along the Jacobs Fork River, and storm water runoff would require some kind of retention. He stated that to tap onto a sewerline from the City of Hickory, the property owner would have to be annexed into the City of Hickory.

A question was brought up about satellite annexation and whether Hickory does this or not. Mr. Overby stated that there were several areas that the City had satellite annexed. He said that a lot of properties along Lake Hickory did not perk, so they were satellite annexed to allow homes to be built on public sewer.

Mr. Overby reviewed a map that showed the proposed alignment of the Catawba Valley Blvd. extension as shown in a study of alternative alignments. The alignment suggested by Hickory and Catawba County showed this road going southward across Short Rd., Robinwood Road and crossing Startown Rd. below Camelot Dr. and then continuing to connect to St. Pauls Church Rd. This alternative alignment is not currently on the adopted thoroughfare plan. The original alignment on the current MPO Thoroughfare Plan had the road coming across the Catawba Valley Community College campus. Overby stated that this road when constructed would give an alternative for drivers other than Hwy. 70 and will be utilized by the future industrial park along St. Pauls Church Rd.

A question was asked about the Southern Corridor project (partially using Settlemyre Bridge Road) and where it was on DOT's funding list. Mr. John Tippett informed the Committee this project had a higher priority than the Catawba Valley Boulevard. He stated that if some of the Catawba Valley Blvd. Ext. project would be funded by the City of Hickory, it could very easily be moved up on the funding list.

There was a concern voiced from the members about having two east/west roads being built so close. They felt that there was not a need for both. Mr. Tippett informed the Committee that DOT planners must look ahead at least 20 years and try to estimate the amount of traffic these roads would be handling at that time, and this was one of the reasons for these two roads.

A question was asked about the future plans of the Piedmont Wagon system. Mr. Overby said that the City is in the process of buying new buses and was going to build a new facility in Hickory. He further stated that the buses do have limited service throughout the County at the present time. Mr. Tippett informed the group that in the next 20-30 years he sees the bus system expanding its services greatly and with a much larger ridership because of the increase in traffic.

Clarence Hood asked if anyone could tap onto Hickory's 36-inch waterline that runs through this Plan's area. Mr. Starr stated that you could not put an individual tap on the 36-inch line since it was a main trunk line to serve the Town of Maiden. Mr. Lutz was informed that a parallel 8-inch line was being constructed for connection by the adjoining property owners.

Due to summer vacations, Mr. Kenny asked the members if they wanted to move the meeting to another date or cancel the July meeting. It was the consensus of the Committee to cancel the July meeting. He stated that they would complete the transportation guiding principles and recommendations at its August meeting.

The meeting adjourned at 8:58 pm.