BY DEBBIE PAGE
In an effort to address the Town of Troutman’s traffic woes, Assistant Planner Andrew Ventresca presented the town’s proposed Troutman Mobility Plan to the Planning & Zoning Board, which the board recommended on Monday night.
The town received $120,000 in discretionary funding in March of 2022 from the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization (CRPTO) to develop a new transportation plan for the area, replacing the 2009 plan. The town will contribute a 20 percent grant match.
Consultants RS&H, with the assistance of a town steering committee, developed the plan, which includes all traffic impact studies from upcoming developments. In lieu of those improvements at the identified intersections, Ventresca hopes developers might provide matching grant moneys instead.
The mobility plan will provide guidance for the town, NCDOT, CRPTO, and other stakeholders in developing improvements to the town’s infrastructure. The plan addresses current and anticipated transportation deficiencies by defining needed transportation strategies and improvements that meet community desires, are compatible with future growth, and incorporate new technology and mobility options.
The Bicycle-Pedestrian Plan, approved in the spring, will be incorporated into this plan, with both serving as references as new transportation projects are considered.
Ventresca said one plan goal was to develop ideas for small-scale, realistic and affordable improvements along Highway 21 to improve intersections since the NCDOT US 21/Main Street widening project is not funded and must compete for funds with other projects around the state.
With input from the public, the plan identifies 10 intersections for high-level recommendations, with three of these selected to undergo more in-depth design. Identifying these intersections will aid the town in obtaining grant funds to help bring these improvements to fruition.
The three intersections selected for a more detailed look were Main Street/Old Mountain Road/Murdock Road, Main Street/Old Murdock Road, and Main Street/Church Street.
The other identified intersections are Old Mountain Road/East Monbo Road, Main Street/Talley Street. Main Street/Autumn Leaf Road, U.S. 21/Lexus Drive/Garden Center Avenue, and Main Street/Rumple Street.
The U.S. 21/Flower House Loop intersection is already funded and expected to be constructed in 2025.
The plan also identifies three areas where rapid growth is expected: Barium Springs, Autumn Leaf Road, and the Exit 42 area.
Two realignments for future roadways in the old plan were no longer possible because of approved development, including a connection from Autumn Leaf Road to the Exit 42 area and a connection from U.S. 21 to Pilch Road.
The Troutman Mobility Plan includes the State Transportation Improvement Plan and 2055 Metropolitan Transportation Plan recommended priority projects for funding include:
♦ U.S. 21/NC 115 from Barium Lane to Cedar Lane (widening) (R-2522);
♦ Old Mountain Road from U.S. 21/NC 115 to Buffalo Shoals Road (widening) (U-6175);
♦ U.S. 21/Old Mountain Road/Murdock Road (intersection improvements);
♦ U.S. 21/NC 115 from Julian Place to Cedar Lane (widening) (H090112-A);
♦ U.S. 21/NC 115 from Crosstie Lane to Julian Plaze (widening);
♦ Perth Road (widening) – work with NCDOT, CRTPO, Iredell County, and Mooresville to determine logical termini;
♦ Murdock Road (widening) – work with NCDOT and CRTPO to determine logical termini;
♦ New Autumn Leaf Road alignment (replacing Southwest Bypass);
♦ Flower House Loop (modernization);
♦ Lake Norman State Park Multi-Use Trail Segment A (B141908); and
♦ Carolina Thread Trail Segment Q4 (B140707)
The Troutman plan also includes several changes to the CRTPO Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CPT):
♦ Remove the Southwest Bypass alignment;
♦ Add the new Autumn Leaf Road alignment as recommended;
♦ Modify the recommended Pilch Road Extension alignment;
♦ Change Duck Creek Road from existing to needs improvement;
♦ Change Houston Road from existing to needs improvement;
♦ Remove the recommended I-77/Houston Road interchange; and
♦ Add improvements recommended in the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan
The Troutman Mobility Plan would also add key intersections to next CRTPO CTP and begin conversations to change the functional classification of the busy Autumn Leaf Road and Westmoreland Road from local to state roads classified as “‘needs improvement.”
NCDOT approved the Troutman Mobility Plan process in November, with the steering committee beginning work in January. A public survey seeking input ran through the month of April, including public input at the Troutman Spring Expo.
Residents affected by alignments were notified in August, followed by a 30-day public comment period and survey in September. The draft plan went to the steering committee in September for comment and was presented to the N Planning Conference in Durham by Ventresca earler this month.
The next step to making the plan official is to get approval by the Town Council in November.
The entire proposed plan is available online at https://www.troutmannc.gov/index.asp?SEC=7F27CAC0-04A8-45BB-8F01-60E4E38490EB&DE=2B8FF1A8-6C85-4664-BC0D-EBD554EDE461.
♦ The planning board unanimously recommended Peter and Chunbei Schenone’s request to rezone about a half acre at 427 N. Main Street from office institution to central business. Board members questioned whether sidewalks were required, but Town Planner Lynne Hair said this was not a conditional zoning so a sidewalk could not be required, but she promised to look into the sidewalk question.
♦ Ventresca presented several staff initiated requests, including amending expiration of variances and special use permits related to the Board of Adjustment in Section 9 of the UDO.
♦ Ventresca said this one-year variance expiration date was unusual and wanted to remove the expiration of variances completely.
♦ The staff also recommended the one-year expiration for Special Use Permits be extended to two years. The Board of Adjustment approved these changes, which will cut down on return visits for the same issue.
♦ Ventresca also presented the staff request to amend Board of Adjustment decisions and noticing in Section 10 of the UDO to match state statutes in the new NC 160D law.
The new statute requires a fourth-fifths vote only in the case of variances. All other decisions can be by a majority vote. No published notice are required for Board of Adjustment prior to evidentiary hearings, only to adjoining property owners.
The board approved all staff requests.
Consideration of the Sunbeam Estates, LLC request to rezone nearly 35 acres at 116 Royal Oaks Drive (between Barkdale and Byers Road) to conditional mixed use residential was moved to the November meeting because petitioners had a scheduling conflict.
The purpose of the rezoning request is to allow construction of a 118-lot single-family detached residential subdivision.