Troutman Council to honor Dale Beatty at Thursday's meeting
PHOTO: Dale Beatty and Purple Heart Homes were recognized by the Town Council in December.
BY DEBBIE PAGE
The Troutman Town Council will honor the life of veteran and Purple Heart Homes co-founder Dale Beatty, who passed away on February 12, at its regular Thursday night meeting.
Through Purple Heart Homes, the retired U.S. Army staff sergeant provided resources to improve the homes and quality of life for over 300 veterans in 23 states. The council wishes to express its gratitude for Beatty’s leadership, contributions to the community, and service to his country.
Beatty’s widow, Belinda, will accept the recognition from the council members at the meeting.
A contract for streetlights in Falls Cove was not ready for council members to examine because of a miscommunication with Duke Energy. The company representative requires payment for the lights from the Falls Cove Property Owners Association before the contract will be drafted.
Jan Huffman, Falls Cove POA president, plans to quickly get the check to Duke Energy. Town Manger Justin Longino will meet with the Duke Power representative on Wednesday to iron out details and hopefully have a contract for council members to consider on Thursday night.
Longino and the Duke Energy rep will also stake out three pole locations for new 50-watt LED lighting at the Julian Road CATS bus stop and look at plans for placement of decorative lighting for new sections of the town’s greenway.
CITIZEN OF THE YEAR/ORGANIZATION OF THE YEAR
Longino reminded the community that Citizen of the Year and Organization of the Year nominations are due March 23.
The 18th person to receive the Citizen of the Year Award award can be either a citizen or someone who works in or contributes to Troutman in some way that merits the honor.
The nominee should be committed to preserving, maintaining or improving quality of life for Troutman residents. Residents can nominate friends, neighbors, business people, or community members who have performed good deeds or provided a service that had a positive impact on the community.
The Organization of the Year recognition is presented to an organization that is respected for their commitment, support, services, and activities that promote a positive influence in the community.
Both nomination forms are available online at http://www.troutmannc.gov on the Forms and Documents link (under Administration section) or can be picked up at Town Hall.
Completed forms can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org (please put “Re: Nomination” in subject line), faxed to 704-528-7605, printed and mailed to Town of Troutman, Attn: Nomination, PO Box 26 Troutman, NC 28166, or taken to Town Hall at 400 North Eastway Drive.
If they have questions, citizens can also contact town staff at 704-528-7600.
REMOVAL OF AGENDA ITEMS
Council members removed one item from consideration at its preagenda meeting and may remove two more from its agenda on Thursday night.
Warehousing and Distribution Uses
Council members removed consideration of a text amendment to consider combining Warehousing and Distribution Uses from its agenda briefing meeting schedule on Monday afternoon.
The Planning and Zoning Board unanimously rejected the staff-recommended text amendment request to combine these uses in February, preferring to have the matter carefully considered during the rewriting process of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) now underway.
Several planning board members and area residents expressed concern about the town losing the power to place conditions on distribution operations, including hours of operation.
Council member Sally Williams made the motion to remove consideration of the request at the beginning of the meeting, without explanation, which passed 4-0. Council member Paul Bryant was late for the meeting and missed this vote.
Council members may also remove two items from Thursday night’s regular meeting agenda. One is the consideration of a text amendment to allow limited gravel driveways and parking lots for off-peak uses by event venues, wineries, churches, and park and recreational areas.
This request originated to facilitate a gravel drive and lot for the Iredell County Recreation Department (ICRD) ropes course, which is being relocated to South Iredell High School property.
Town Planner Erika Martin informed the council that the Planning and Zoning Board unanimously rejected this staff recommended text amendment request at its February meeting, preferring that the Unified Development Ordinance committee, which is currently updating the UDO, decide this issue.
Bryant pointed out the Board of Adjustment is there to consider these types of requests for the town. “They have a standard process. If individuals feel they are deserving of a variance, they can present their case and move on.”
Bryant cautioned against complicating the UDO with loopholes. “We should abide by our policies, and in my humble opinion, remove this from the agenda (on Thursday night) and allow the BOA to rule on these sorts of requests.”
Council member Paul Henkel agreed, saying that the UDO rewrite committee could take a look at this issue. “I would hate to change something and then the new UDO not reflect that.”
Martin had suggested the text amendment because it would help residents avoid appearing before the BOA twice for this type of request.
Builder John McCormick is asking the council to release eight lots in his Troutman Crossing subdivision to the county’s planning control. In February, the Planning and Zoning Board rejected this request (4-1) for the property, located at the northern edge of Troutman’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ).
McCormick and town planning staff have been in a dispute since 2016 about the town’s residential requirement to build sidewalks in new developments as part of its walkability goals. McCormick requested a variance from the Board of Adjustment to avoid the town’s sidewalk requirement in 2016, which was rejected.
Bryant pointed out that this underlying sidewalk variance issue was rejected by the Board of Adjustment in 2016. “We, as a quasi-legislative group, cannot overturn a quasi-judicial decision, so this should perhaps be handled in a different way than it is on this agenda.”
“We have an appeals process that is well outlined in our UDO,” Bryant added.
Since over a year had passed since McCormick’s appearance before the BOA, Henkel suggested that McCormick instead appear again before the BOA with more information and renew the request.
“That board is there for a reason, and I don’t want to usurp them or go around them just because somebody doesn’t like the way they ruled on an issue,” said Henkel. “I would prefer that they go to the BOA.”
Mayor Teross Young suggested staff check with Town Attorney Gary Thomas to decide if the council should address McCormick’s request or remove it from the agenda on Thursday night.
TROUTMAN INDUSTRIAL PARK REZONING REQUEST
After a public hearing to get community input, the council will consider a rezoning request of approximately 130 acres, planned as an addition to the Troutman Industrial Park (TIP), from suburban residential to heavy industrial on Thursday night.
The Planning and Zoning Board voted to reject rezoning the large Murdock portion of the property but recommended granting the other property owners’ request.
Sellers Bruce Murdock (90 acres), James and Pamela Cash McDaniel, Stephen and Kathy Cash, and William Cash (40 acres combined), and buyer Kathy Godley of TIP asked for the rezoning to HI to match the adjacent TIP zoning approved in December.
Planning board members also rejected a request from Murdock in December to rezone the same tract to mixed residential for a high density LGI Homes residential development.
The addition would bring in a projected $25,000,000 of investment in land, improvements, and equipment and contribute an estimated $250,000 annually to the county’s and Troutman’s tax base, according to John Kindley of Equity Commercial Properties.
Nearby residents opposed the change at the February planning meeting, praising the properties’ scenic beauty and expressing concern that the neighbors would be endangered by lower home values, noise, pollution, traffic, and possible well contamination if the town approves this HI request.
The speakers also noted the town’s interest in attracting low-density residential developments of 1/2 acre or more, for which this property is currently zoned. Residents also objected to the request as violating the town’s 2035 Land Use Plan.
RURAL PRESERVATION DISTRICT REQUEST
Council members will also consider a request from a group of 19 property owners, with parcels ranging from less than an acre to almost 24 acres, who live along Perry, Hoover and Murdock roads, to rezone their properties into a rural preservation district.
Planning and Zoning board members voted 5-1 to recommend the request for most of the properties. Planning board members eliminated the O’Donnell, Baker, Laffin and Gillon properties from the Rural Preservation request because of their proximity to the town center.
Henkel questioned whether the Town Council should consider the request at this time, instead waiting until after the town’s Strategic Plan is completed in the early fall. The plan “is going to address this and other properties in and around town. Would the residents be amenable to letting us put this off until September or October because nothing’s going to really change?”
Henkel was concerned that some pieces of the property might not be in line with the new strategic plan if the council goes ahead and approves this request on Thursday.
Martin had no problem with going ahead with the rezoning, noting that the large tracts lack town water and sewer line access, but she noted that decision was the council’s. The request “is reflective of what is already there and what they want to keep there,” Martin added.
OTHER THURSDAY AGENDA ITEMS
The council will also consider:
• Approval of the town’s revised mission statement and core values.
• Reappointment of Kenneth Overcash as an Inside Member of the Troutman Board of Adjustment.
• Approval of preliminary plats for Sutter’s Mill and Jerome Howard property off Crosstie Lane.
• Approval of facade for Dunkin Donuts/Baskin Robbins
• Setting a date for a hearing for a contiguous annexation request for property own by Kathy Godley (Murdock Road), Pamela Cash McDaniel, and Steven and Kathryn Cash (139 and 199 Leona Lane)
The council will also recognize:
• Troutman Middle School students in the Educational Spotlight
• ABT Inc., a company that provides products and services to solve North America’s surface drainage problems, in the Business Spotlight.
UPCOMING EVENT REMINDERS
• The Troutman Walking Company group resumes on Monday, March 12, at 6 p.m. Walkers meet at the pavilion at ESC Park.
• The first annual Troutman Easter Egg Hunt will be Saturday, March 24, at 10 a.m. at ESC Park
• The annual Front Porch Fest is set for Saturday, May 12, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.