BY DEBBIE PAGE
debbiepage.iredellfreenews@gmail.com

The Troutman Planning and Zoning Board will consider plans for a huge commercial/residential development near Exit 42 when it meets in August. During Monday’s meeting, the board rejected a Unified Development Ordinance text amendment application to allow Land Clearing and Inert Debris (LCID) landfills within the town’s heavy and light industrial areas.

COMING DEVELOPMENT?

Town Planner George Berger informed the board that its August agenda will include two conditional-zoning requests for the proposed Smith Village project, which would be located across from the Iredell Charter Academy near Exit 42 off Interstate 77.

The proposed horizontal mixed-use development will include 250,000 square feet of commercial space, 74 detached single-family homes, and up to 175 attached town homes, Berger said. If approved, the project would be built on 10 parcels of land.

The rezoning requests are necessary because current highway business zoning on one parcel does not allow single-family homes, and mixed residential zoning does not allow commercial development.

Berger said the conditional zoning for the mixed residential case is only for the single-family detached pod, and the conditional zoning for the highway business parcel is for a commercial and single-family attached residential section.

“It works fine for us. It fits with the UDO, and everything is great. It is just one of those things that probably wasn’t contemplated when the UDO was put together.”

“We didn’t contemplate the full range of the mix of land use, which is not unusual,” said Berger, who anticipates the process to go smoothly.

The community meeting for the project is scheduled for Thursday, August 6, at 5 p.m. at Town Hall. Adjacent property owners have been notified of the meeting by letter.

The meeting will include a virtual presentation by the applicant. Public comment time will be available at both the August 24 Planning and Zoning meeting and the September 10 Town Council meeting. The initial property annexation request for the entire project will go before council on August 13.

LCIDs

Berger recommended that the board reject the requested LCID landfill text amendment. He believes such a site is inappropriate because of residential growth near HI/LI areas and the existence of small “beneficial landfills” already allowed in approved land development projects.

Berger also cited the “likelihood that negative impacts of a commercial-sized LCID landfill would be experienced by surrounding property owners during operating hours.” Additionally, since these landfills are allowed in nearby unincorporated Iredell County, Berger saw “no convincing need to permit this land use.”

Brantley Mills then appeared before the board, on behalf of Charlie Mills, to request the text amendment to allow LCID landfills, using Iredell County’s standards and requirements.

Prior to the new UDO approved in January of 2019, LCID landfills were allowed in Troutman’s zoning jurisdiction. One unpermitted LCID landfill exists on Byers Road, which town officials thought was closed, but Mills provided photos of recent use on the site. No other LCIDs are currently operating.

LCIDs take only stumps, brush, concrete, bricks, and clean dirt. Mills said that an attendant would be on duty to ensure only permitted items were dumped, and he noted that these type of landfills have no odor, leaching, or environmental impact.

LCIDs are inspected by the county monthly, along with other state inspections by N.C. Department of Environmental Quality.

Mills assured board members that a LCID site would have no negative impacts on surrounding properties. He projected images of a now-closed grass-covered site on Highway 21 that he operated “in harmony with the community” for 12 years to demonstrate the negligible impact.

Any proposed site would have 100 foot setbacks (300 feet from any residences) and would be screened by berms and/or vegetation, added Mills. All debris is buried four feet above the groundwater level to ensure leaching does not occur.

For example, a 20-acre site would have only six acres of usable landfill space after setbacks. The property could be developed after 10 years of settling, with the six-acre former landfill area serving as green space.

Noise levels from onsite grinders at those set back distances would be about 66 decibels. In comparison, a lawn mower is about 60 decibels, and a car is around 100.

With only two such sites in southern Iredell and the explosion of building growth in the area, Mills said the need for additional LCID sites is apparent.

After a brief discussion and no public comment, the board voted 5-1 to recommend that Town Council not approve the requested text amendment when it takes up the matter on August 13.

SWEARING-IN DATE SET

Because of a new state statute, Berger said that all municipal boards must now be officially sworn in. The Planning and Zoning Board will have its official swearing in ceremony at its next meeting. Berger asked that family watch the ceremony online because of meeting attendance restrictions.

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