BY DEBBIE PAGE
debbiepage.iredellfreenews@gmail.com

During its June meeting, Troutman Town Council members approved the town’s 2022-23 budget, rejected a residential townhome project, and approved rezoning requests for a nearly 700,000-square-foot distribution complex and a proposed shopping center.

BUDGET APPROVED

The council approved the 2022-2023 budget by a 4-1 vote with council member Jerry Oxsher voting against the proposal. 

The budget, built by Finance Director Justin Mundy with input from all department directors, included significant fee increases for water and sewer. Town officials said the increases were needed after years of failing to recoup rising costs.

New monthly water rates will be $9.26 per 1,000 gallons, with sewer rates at $13.13 per 1,000 gallons for in- town residents. Out-of-town rates are $18.53 for water and $26.26 for sewer.

The fee for recycling and other services (leaf and limb, street sweeping, snow removal, etc) also rose from $1.80 to $7.65 per month to again cover cost increases not passed on to residents for many years.

Council member Paul Henkel noted that other cities have increased fees every few years, while Troutman had not.

The estimated general revenue for the town for the next fiscal year is $6,130,138. Water and sewer revenues are projected to reach $3,045,390.

Projected 2022-23 budget needs:

♦ GOVERNING BODY: $147,300
♦ ADMINISTRATION: $686,592
♦ PLANNING & ZONING: $568,429
♦ POLICE DEPARTMENT: $1,951,611
♦ STREET MAINTENANCE: $431,846
♦ DEBT SERVICE: $624,702
♦ SANITATION: $355,000
♦ RECREATION: $299,858
♦ ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: $202,800
♦ INSURANCE: $630,000

HOUSON ROAD DISTRIBUTION COMPLEX REZONING APPROVED

The council approved the Collette Group’s request to annex and rezone nearly 92 acres to heavy industrial conditional zoning for the proposed Houston Road Distribution Center, featuring 698,220 square feet of warehousing/distribution space over three buildings, with two on the north side of Houston Road (340,200 and 217,620 square feet) and one on the south side (140,400 square feet).

The site fronts I-77 and Houston Road on the east side of the interstate, an area designated for industrial uses in the Future Land Use Plan. The Summertree subdivision and the Lowe’s Planogram are located nearby.

Developers pledged to make contributions toward future road improvements identified in the Traffic Impact Analysis (TIA) toward the US 21/Houston Road/Flower House Loop realignment (planned for 2025) and a northbound right-turn lane with 100 feet of storage.

The developers would have to construct northbound and southbound approaches to the project site, along with one ingress and one egress on Houston Road.

The TIA estimated total 1,218 trips, which includes all approved area development, with 154 morning rush and 163 evening rush hour trips. Nathan Duggins of Tuggle -Duggins law firm noted that under current county general business zoning, the number of trips could double.

Town planning staff recommended approval because the project aligns with the Troutman Strategic Master Plan and would be subject to site plan approval as well as Design Review Board and Town Council approval of building facades.

Duggins cited the annual economic benefits of the project to the town ($182,000) and county ($220,000) in tax revenues. He also noted that the project was a quality development consistent with the town’s Future Land Use Map for the area.

Some residents complained about additional slow tractor-trailer traffic and road damage from the big rigs, but several spoke in favor of the project. John Kindley said the proposed development was first class with Class A buildings.

Howard Bryan reminded council members that investors make business decisions to purchase land based on the Future Land Use Map that they approved, noting that professionals and citizens all had input in deciding this area was best for industrial and commercial development.

Bryan also added that the Iredell County Horizon Plan also designated this area for industrial uses.

The Planning and Zoning Board recommended denying the rezoning request in May based on traffic impacts and the delay of the Flower House Loop/Houston Road realignment until 2025, approximately a year after this complex would become operational.

The council voted unanimously to approve the project, with Henkel saying the town cannot be held hostage by NCDOT to stop improvements that benefit Troutman.

SOLID ROCK VENTURES SHOPPING CENTER ANNEXATION/REZONING PASSES

Solid Rock Ventures requested the annexation and rezoning to Highway Business of nearly 18 acres on Highway 21 just north of Iredell Charter School for a shopping center anchored by a grocery store chain whose identity is confidential at this time. Staff recommended approval of the rezoning.

No site plan has yet been presented, and a Traffic Impact Analysis would be required prior to site plan approval. The highway business designation is consistent with the Future Land Use Plan for interchange commercial uses.

After no public comment, the council passed both requests unanimously.

TROUTMAN TOWNES

The council rejected a revamped Troutman Townes proposal that cut density to meet the Future Land Use Map standards and that had the staff recommendation and unanimous approval of Planning and Zoning Board after being resubmitted in May.

The revised site plan, which sought conditional mixed residential zoning, reduced the number of townhomes and duplexes from 165 to 96 on the 22-acre tract at the South Eastway Drive/US 21 intersection. This reduction kept the density to 3.99 homes per acre, in line with the 4 per acre recommendation for the area.

Developers also proposed two-car driveways and garages, raised undisturbed space to 4.35 acres and open space from 11.15 to 14.50 aces (57 percent of site).

The traffic impact was cut in half so that the previous TIA recommendations were no longer mandated, but developers still committed to the 100 foot right-turn lane onto Eastway.

The developers also added fencing to please adjacent homeowners. “We want to work with residents to create a quality development with community cooperation,” said Paul Pennell of Urban Design Partners.

After public comment complaints about traffic and development entrances, Henkel made a motion to approve which failed when it did not receive a second. The council passed an inconsistency statement citing traffic and a recent rezoning of the property to town residential, which it was unwilling to change.

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