Startown Small Area Plan Committee Meeting
for October 14, 2004

The Startown Small Area Planning Committee met on Thursday, October 14, 2004 in the Second Floor Meeting Room of the Catawba County Government Center in Newton, North Carolina.

Members present: Chairman Tony Wolfe, Glenn Pattishall, Rusty Lutz, Reba Reinhardt, Dawn Mull, Jerry Lael, and Thomas Jones.

Members absent: Chip Canupp, Charlie Wyant, Keith Stahley, Kevin Saunders, and Clarence Hood.

Staff present: 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 Wolfe called the meeting to order at 7:00 and welcomed those present.

Chairman Wolfe asked if there were any additions, corrections etc. to the September 9th meeting summary. Mr. John Kenny stated that as a matter of clarification that the August 12th minutes include additional information that was discussed at its last meeting. This information is shown underlined. There being no amendments, the minutes were approved as submitted.

Mr. Kenny stated he wanted to verify the changes made in the Plan's text to make sure that they were the wishes of this Committee. The changes in the recommendations were as follows:

  • Coordinate with Lincoln County the possibility of extending a scenic highway loop south along Startown Road to River Road or Ritchie Road then north back into Catawba County;
  • Explore with DOT the possibility of diverting truck traffic from Sandy Ford Rd. between Robinwood Rd. and Startown Rd.;
  • Recommend a new interchange on US 321 at Rocky Ford Rd. to accommodate industrial traffic, especially trucks from the Blackburn Landfill on Hickory-Lincolnton Hwy.;
  • Recommend that future phases of Catawba Valley Blvd. not be built because of the Committee's concerns over increased commercial development in the northern Startown SAP area and the number of east-west connecting roads between I-40 and Settlemyre Bridge Rd.;
  • Recommendation that the Southern Corridor be built with a four-lane designed road, divided, landscaped-boulevard design with sidewalks included in the design from the Startown SAP boundary west to Startown Rd.; and
  • Amend County Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances to encourage service roads for residential and non-residential development.

Mr. Kenny presented Map 7 which shows the current Thoroughfare Plan recommendations for new or extended roads in the SAP area. The Committee's transportation recommendations are shown on Map 7A. These include four changes that are recommended by the Committee: 1) no extension of Catawba Valley Blvd.; 2) a dotted blue line which shows Robinson Rd. going south from Hwy. 10 west of the existing subdivisions to near the intersection of Rocky Ford Road and US 321; 3) the deletion of the Robinson Rd. Extension project from Rocky Ford Rd. south to Maiden and then to Startown Rd.; and 4) recommendation of an interchange at Rocky Ford Rd. and Hwy. 321. He asked the Committee if these changes and the corresponding map correctly reflected their recommendations. It was the consensus of the Committee that this is exactly what they had wanted.

Mr. Kenny stated that there were a few items under the Land Use and Community Design introductory section that needed to be clarified. Ms. Andrea Lytle addressed these changes which included development restrictions for the designated watersheds in their area. A handout was given to the members to help them understand and clarify the difference between the two watersheds within their SAP district.

Ms. Lytle said that a few changes were made in the background information under "Land Use Distribution." In the Startown area, 91% of the land is zoned residential and 9% is zoned non-residential. This Committee's role is to decide where this growth is most appropriate. If 85% of the land available for residential use were to be developed, the Startown area would have an additional 13,560 acres developed for residential purposes. Mr. Kenny stated that this challenges this group to decide on how this area should be developed.

There was discussion concerning growth and the potential of growth along roads that had current or future infrastructure. Ms. George stated that their responsibility would be to decide the location, size, character or other concerns for development.

Ms. Lytle stated that the group needed to look at the "Guiding Principles" section as they pertain to the following categories: residential, commercial, office-institutional, industrial and open space. She stated these principles are very broad and specific recommendations will be developed for each area. The Committee members agreed on the principles listed. Additional principles were recommended to include passive recreation opportunities in their area and to protect green spaces for recreation for all users.

Mr. Kenny stated that he wanted to focus on the commercial and industrial areas and develop specific recommendations. He had the group look at Map 3 which had been given out at an earlier meeting. He pointed out the industrial and commercial properties in their planning area. He asked the group if they saw a need for more industrial properties in their area. It was the consensus of the Board that no more industrial lands were needed in their planning area.

Mr. Kenny pointed out the mixed-use areas along Hwy. 321. A question was asked about Cansler Crossroads on W. Maiden Rd. and if design standards could be required at this industrial development site. Ms. George stated that this site was located in the Hwy. 321 Corridor, so it was subject to the Hwy. 321 design standards and regulations. She also stated that this industrial development was originally approved by the County but has been annexed into the Town of Maiden. One of the concerns was that this industrial site was located at the first Hwy. 321 interchange in the County and this would be the first thing people traveling into Catawba County would observe. They suggested that this intersection be designated a "gateway" with increased standards for development in this area. Suggested design regulations for this area and other future non-residential development within the SAP included:

  • increased landscaping standards
  • no metal front buildings
  • lighting restrictions
  • facade treatments to break up wall space
  • protection of viewsheds with building height restrictions

Ms. George asked if there were any intersections that the Committee would like to see serve as commercial nodes. It was suggested that commercial nodes be located at the following intersections: 1) a neighborhood node at Settlemyre Bridge and Startown (the future Southern Corridor intersection); 2) a rural node at Hickory-Lincolnton Hwy. and Hwy. 10; and 3) mixed-use zoning at the recommended future Hwy. 321 and Rocky Ford Rd. interchange. The possibility of a commercial node at Robinson Rd. and Hwy. 10 intersection was discussed but was not recommended. The Committee stated that they did not want to expand the commercial zoning that was located at the Lincoln County line on Startown Rd. Startown Rd. and Blackburn Bridge Rd. was also discussed, and it was decided that the group did not want the non-conforming uses located at this intersection expanded.

Mr. Kenny stated that staff would develop additional recommendations for review at their next meeting on Thursday, November 11th. The committee discussed whether or not to have its December meeting. It was decided to discuss this again at the November meeting.