BY DEBBIE PAGE
The Troutman Planning and Zoning Board approved updates to its rules of procedure required by new state law, but delayed discussion of Unified Code of Development changes because of Zoom broadcast audio issues.
The rules updates, which were discussed at the board’s February meeting, include revision of the board’s powers and duties to meet state statute 160D requirements, including preparing and recommending comprehensive plans, engaging citizens in the planning process, and developing and recommending policies, ordinances, regulations, and procedures related to carrying out plans efficiently.
The board also advises the Town Council on zoning text and maps, provides a preliminary forum for reviewing quasi-judicial decisions, and performs any duties the Town Council directs.
The new rules also require board members to take an oath of office before joining the board.
Planned discussion of UDO revisions was delayed until April since the public could not hear the discussion of this new business on the town broadcast.
Interim Town Planner Jonathan Wells created a two-page worksheet of the changes to the 330-page UDO to facilitate the discussion in April. He noted that the Centralina Council of Government advisers assisting in the revisions said the Troutman UDO, which is relatively new, required only minor updates and corrections.
The changes do not change the way the planning and zoning department does business, according to Wells, but only corrects statutory references to 160D and fixes some formatting and typo issues.
A section on construction standards, a new appendix B, details subdivision requirements. Wells believes this addition will help consolidate all the pertinent planning code information in a user-friendly, easy to access way for the public, surveyors, applicants, and the new planning director.
“It’s to everybody’s benefit,” Wells added.
Bicycle/Pedestrian Planning Grant
Wells announced that the town has received a $45,000 grant, which requires $5,000 in town matching funds, to create, adopt, and implement a bicycle and pedestrian master plan for the town.
Wells asked interested board members to join an advisory committee that will form in late spring to begin this process, which should wrap up by year’s end under the terms of the grant.
Wells told board members that three major developments will be asking for conditional rezoning this spring. He has received concept plans on all three projects.
The developers of the planned 102-lot Winecoff Village subdivision at the end of Winecoff Street will ask for a conditional rezoning to mixed residential.
Developers of the proposed 241-lot Westmoreland Village, located across from Sutter’s Mill, are also asking for a mixed residential rezoning. The project is waiting on completion of a traffic impact study.
Sanders Ridge phase one, located near the future high school planned on Overcash Road, is seeking a residential town rezoning for its 63-lot subdivision. This change will increase density and is now before the technical review committee.
All three projects will require community meetings, which may be impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, before moving forward on rezoning requests.
Zoning Staff Increasing
The search for a permanent planning director is still in progress, but with the influx of projects coming in this spring, Wells announced that Town Manager Ron Wyatt has approved the addition of Bill Bailey, retired planning director in Boone, to work one day a week, in addition to the three days a week Wells works. Bailey will provide technical assistance to a number of projects.
Wyatt also approved the addition of a full-time associate planner position, which has already been posted. Four candidates have expressed interest so far.
Wy att plans to re-advertise the planning director position after hiring the associate planner.
IN-PERSON MEETINGS RESUME IN APRIL
With Gov. Roy Cooper’s decision to increase in inside gathering limits and due to technical problems with Zoom during the last several meetings, the board decided to resume in-person Planning and Zoning meetings on April 26 at 7 p.m.
Town Clerk Kim Davis announced the resignation of Ray Welsh from the board. Alternate Lori Eberly plans to apply for the position. Several other positions are ending soon, including Karen Van Vliet and Kenneth Reid in May and Mark Taylor in June. Eberly’s alternate position would also need to be filled.
Van Vliet and Taylor have already applied for reappointment by the Town Council.
Citizens interested in these positions can complete an application, available on the town website, and send it to Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or drop it by Town Hall.