Troutman Planning and Zoning Board sends revised UDO to council for final approval

Posted at 11:26 AM on Dec 22, 2018

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BY DEBBIE PAGE

drpage.svlfreenews@gmail.com

At its December meeting, the Troutman Planning and Zoning Board unanimously approved the revised Unified Development Ordinance, which has been reviewed for many months.

The latest version (dated November 17 draft) is available for public inspection on the town’s website. A final version will be available for inspection in January prior to the Town Council's consideration and possible approval.

The board met for over an hour, discussing and clarifying a few areas and cleaning up last-minute details with Craig Lewis of Stantec, who has guided town staff and officials through this process.

Most board members were satisfied with the latest revision, but Randy Farmer had several concerns that he outlined during the meeting. Farmer first wanted to add specific subdivision ordinances in the appendix.

Farmer was also concerned about the removal of accessory dwellings from several zoning districts. For example, if a suburban residential dweller wanted to build an accessory building for an elderly parent to live in, that would not be allowed under the UDO revision.

Town Council member Paul Bryant remembered recommendations to withhold accessory dwellings from smaller lot town residential zoning areas. Planning Board Chairman Layton Getsinger suggested researching why those zoning areas were removed before final council approval.

Farmer also questioned why duplexes were being limited to the mixed-residential zoning area. Bryant said that duplexes were discussed at several meetings, with the intent to remove them “by right” from all the other districts since they are considered high density. They would require additional conditions to be allowed in other areas.

Town Council member Paul Henkel suggested that the board just vote on each issue raised rather than trying to remember the past history of each change to expedite the meeting and get approval done.

Getsinger agreed. “My understanding when we left the last joint meeting (in October) that we had gone through this document and that we were okay where it was and that it was coming before us tonight for basically any other changes.”

Farmer agreed to leave the duplex designation by right.

Farmer also wanted nurseries (permitted with the additional standard of 3 acres minimum) to be allowed in suburban residential areas. The board voted unanimously to make this change.

Town Planner Erika Martin also agreed to add conditions on mini-warehousing and self-storage in the previous UDO to the revised version in response to Farmer’s concerns.

Farmer also raised the issue of warehouse size. He wanted those under 150,000 square feet allowed as they are now but any over that size be allowed only in heavy industrial areas. Lewis said that the board and Town Council could decide this is a matter of rezoning policy and use of conditional districts rather than putting it in the UDO.

After discussion, the board voted unanimously to make this distinction in zoning warehouse size.

Farmer also got a unanimous vote for his suggestion that square footage be added to the number of employees in determining the level of traffic impact analysis study required when allowing warehouses or industrial properties to be developed.

The land-use plan must also be changed to meet any inconsistent zoning changes after a new October law, so Farmer suggested language also be changed to reflect that in the UDO.

Farmer asked to table the vote and send a clean copy of the UDO with these amendments before board approval, but board member George Harris pointed out that they could approve it as amended and trust the Town Council to make sure the amendments are in place and that all technical, grammar, and punctuation corrections are done before its final approval.

Martin said that a final copy would be available for public inspection before the public hearing at Town Council, so any remaining issues could be addressed at the hearing. “It was always going to be a living document, and there will be more changes in the future,” she said.

Getsinger is resigning effective December 31, with the Town Council voting at its December meeting to recommend ETJ alternate Barry General to fill the remainder of Getsinger’s term and to appoint Grace Beasley to fill General’s term. Both recommendations now go to the Iredell County Board of Commissioners for final approval.

In his farewell, Getsinger said, “Being that this is my last meeting, I just want to first of all tell you that I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to work with you. You’ve been nothing less than totally professional. The town’s in good hands going forward with those of you that will be on the board going into the future.”

Getsinger was pleased to be on the planning board through the UDO update and the Strategic Master Plan processes. “These two documents are going to be what guides you going into the future. Become familiar with these documents so you can help this town be all it can be and should be.”

Board member Kenneth Reid called Getsinger a person of “passion and integrity. Your ability to listen to and understand complex issues made it easy to navigate them. You lead by example and have a heart for the people in the city of Troutman.”

Reid also recognized Getsinger’s discipline, forged in the military, and said he was honored to know him as a friend and leader. Attendees applauded Getsinger for his service after Reid’s accolades.

A vote to appoint a new chair and vice chair will occur at the board’s January meeting.

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