BY DEBBIE PAGE
During its meeting on Thursday night, the Troutman Town Council approved annexation and rezoning requests of a 113-acre tract for the 236 single-family home Westmoreland Village subdivision proposed by Nest Homes.
Nest Communities representative David Hughes presented the conditional rezoning request to the council, which he noted gave the town more control over the project and traffic improvements. The development, once built out, will bring an estimated $500,000 to $600,000 in property taxes into the town’s coffers each year.
Westmoreland Village will have 64 acres of open space and three acres of active open space, with a home density of 2.08 units per acre. Pocket parks, an amenity center with pool (built with the 136th home), and greenway trail are also planned.
Nest Communities included the Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) recommendations in the development’s rezoning conditions, including a traffic light at Westmoreland Road and Highway 21, four entrances to the development to distribute traffic (none on Houston Road), and a turn lane into Sutters Mill Drive from Westmoreland.
The developer is also giving the Town of Troutman $100,000 to hold for current and future improvements that the NCDOT will allow on Westmoreland and Houston Roads, which are under its control, not the town’s.
At the Planning and Zoning meeting in May, 15 nearby residents opposed the development, citing traffic concerns, including the view obstructed one-lane bridge on Westmoreland Road. The TIA, however, rated the bridge as having the highest “A” rating at both current and build-out traffic levels.
The TIA report stated that the bridge was neither a safety nor a traffic issue. Nest Communities has continued to pursue the issue however, asking NCDOT to consider allowing warning signs with flashing beacons to call attention to the bridge.
During the public hearing, Rita Barbeau, a Sutters Mill resident, told the council that she repeatedly contacted NCDOT about bridge concerns. Though it did lower the speed limit from 55 mph, NCDOT has not addressed eroding embankments and pavement on the bridge.
Though the speed limit is now 35 mph in this section, Barbeau said some drivers are not adhering to it. She would like to see the speed lowered for the entire road and a two-lane bridge in the near future, especially with added traffic from the new high school planned nearby.
Troutman Fire and Rescue Chief Wesley Morris said only one ladder truck would be prohibited from crossing the bridge because of weight limits, but he noted the department would access the neighborhood via Houston Road, though mutual aid units might use Westmoreland.
Town Manager Ron Wyatt promised to pass on the requests for 35 mph speed reduction and flashing lights with bridge signs on to NCDOT.
The council unanimously approved the annexation and rezoning requests, paving the way for the development to proceed.
GOAT AND LIVESTOCK ORDINANCE
Though the much discussed goat and livestock ordinance and UDO text amendment passed 3-2, the council must vote again on the measures because they did not pass with a two-thirds majority vote. If they pass a second time, both will take effect.
Council members Eddie Nau and George Harris opposed the issues because of concerns about the effects on subdivisions and nearby neighbors.
Council members asked for a few wording changes, including changing four “chickens” per acre to specifically “hens” to avoid rooster noise issues.
Though council had discussed raising the limited two times per year goat grazing permits allowed in the Code of Ordinances, members decided to leave it at two until demand indicated more permits were necessary.
After Wyatt presented proposed mock-ups, the council voted 5-0 to approve a request to paint three murals on the front and both sides of Randy’s BBQ, with a request to perhaps change one portion featuring the vintage Mountain Dew hillbilly character and a moonshine reference.
PepsiCo is paying for all costs of the project, which is planned for completion in late July during the two weeks the restaurant will not be open for vacation and deep cleaning.
These murals fit into the soft drink theme of town murals, which already has Coca-Cola and Dr. Pepper murals over nearby Southern Treats and Full Belly Deli.
Interim Chief Darrin Payne recognized Troutman SRO Devin Bentley, who has been with the department since 2011, for completing his advanced law enforcement certificate. He previously earned intermediate and school resource certification.
Bentley will also complete his associate’s degree in Criminal Justice at Mitchell Community College in July.
Officer Jonathan Lyon was also honored for earning his Criminal Justice associate’s degree. Lyon, who joined the department in July 2020, has eight years of law enforcement experience.
TROUTMAN FIRE AND RESCUE QUARTERLY REPORT
Chief Morris reported that call volumes are continuing to trend upward, with in excess of 2,000 calls for service expected by year-end.
Twenty-four hour staffing is now in place at all three Troutman fire stations, with two on duty at Station 2 on Perth Road and one at Station 3 on Pineville Road. The department has now divided its service area into districts to improve response times.
Morris is in the process of hiring two firefighters for open slots, which he hopes to have filled by the end of the month. The department’s full complement is 23 full-time staff, along with two part-time positions.
The department’s Board of Directors has plans underway to improve Station 3, adding additional bays and a sleeping quarters.
The department should receive its new engine and tanker trunks by the end of September.
J. HOYT HAYES MEMORIAL TROUTMAN LIBRARY
Library branch manager Kelli Goodwin announced the end of library fines at Iredell County Public Libraries, including those previously owed. The department decided on the change to remove barriers to using the library.
Hours have also been expanded to Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Computer station spacing restrictions are also ending.
Staff are currently planning for in-person library programming to resume in September. “Take and make” projects are currently available for pick-up. Goodwin said the branch has distributed 280 so far, with a new activity available each week.
As a virtual summer reading program finale, a Bing Bang Boom performance will be online from July 18-24.
The Troutman Friends of the Library will meet at the library on July 22 at 5 p.m. They will also conduct a book sale on August 27-28 to help fund library programs.
Goodwin also announced that Shellie Taylor has transferred to the Statesville Branch as the program specialist in the Local History & Genealogy department. Tamra Hicks is moving from her part-time slot to Taylor’s program specialist position. Goodwin is currently recruiting to fill the vacant part-time position.
PUBLIC TRAFFIC INPUT REQUESTED
Mayor Teross Young requested citizens from throughout the county give their opinions of traffic and road needs through a Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRTPO) survey open through Wednesday, July 14.
The public comment period is on the draft fiscally constrained roadway project list and Active Transportation corridors for the 2050 Metropolitan Transportation Plan. This survey ensures that residents in the community have an opportunity to weigh in.
Resources for public comment include:
♦ The council voted 5-0 to pass a resolution to accept $880,000 in coronavirus American Rescue Plan funds over a three-year period. The council plans to use the funds to address infrastructure, water, and wastewater needs.
The funds must be kept separate from other town funds to meet accounting guidelines.
♦ The council voted to allow the Troutman ABC Board to establish a capital improvement expansion fund, which will allow the board to keep up to $500,000 on hand, rather than its current $414,071 working capital limit, which has already been reached.
This additional savings will be used for purchasing property and expansion at a second location in the near future, according to Wyatt.
In making the request, ABC Board Chair Layton Getsinger emphasized that this change will not affect distributions to the town or designated entities or law enforcement or alcohol education recipients, according to Wyatt.