BY DEBBIE PAGE
The Troutman Town Council voted unanimously on Monday to accept a $15,000 grant from Dick’s Sporting Goods for upgrading park equipment and amenities, including new soccer goals and adding bleachers.
Parks and Recreation Director Emily Watson presented the grant agreement to the council, assuring them that no matching funds were required. The company does ask to use funded projects as part of its promotional activities.
A report on grant expenditure must be submitted by December 31.
Following up on an earlier citizen complaint, the council had a lengthy discussion about speeding problems on West Avenue and heard a report by Police Chief Josh Watson about mitigation and ticketing efforts. Neighbors and library staff are supportive of speed-reduction measures.
Town Manager Ron Wyatt reported on costs for speed tables ($2,000-plus depending on size), speed bumps ($300 per lane), and necessary signage ($300 per sign).
Wyatt recommended speed tables be constructed at West Avenue and Bleinheim Court, West and Downing Street, and West and Brown Street and a plastic speed bump near the library entrance on Brown Street. Warning signage would also be installed as needed.
Mayor Pro Tem Paul Henkel spoke in favor of the actions. “I would just hate for a child to be hit. As long as the library’s been there, we’ve been fortunate. All it takes is one time,” he said.
Wyatt will contact contractors to see about availability to complete the work. Funding is available in this year’s town budget.
Wyatt noted that these areas are not under an HOA so a 75 percent resident approval or HOA board approval, as required by town ordinance, is not required.
Neighborhoods with HOAs can request permission to install speed bumps (at HOA expense if roads have not been turned over to the town) with resident or board approval, as required by HOA rules, which the council can consider for approval.
After a complaint by a local business owner about the recently passed feather flag ordinance, the council discussed whether to lengthen the current 12-week total allowance of one feather flag per business per year. The flags must also be removed each day at close of business.
Wyatt said the staff was caught between business owners who say the flags are essential to their business success and the ordinance’s limits.
He asked council their thoughts on allowing increased feather flag use in some commercial zoning areas or perhaps adding temporary banner uses, which are currently not allowed, for grand openings or special events.
Permanent signs and illuminated signs are currently allowed. Sandwich board signage is also allowed during business hours in some zoning area.
Henkel expressed a desire for consistency over “willy-nilly” decisions. “We don’t want Main Street to look like a carnival,” he said.
Mayor Teross Young noted that Statesville allows feather signs in a limited way and Mooresville prohibits them. He noted that some cities allow only 7-15 days per year.
Council member Jerry Oxsher suggested getting more input from other business owners before taking any action, noting the spirit of the feather sign ordinance was one of allowing them, not forbidding them as other towns do.
During Thursday’s regular meeting, council members will consider whether to consider a fee in lieu of building a sidewalk on Georgie Street for the Brookside Development. D.R. Horton had offered $86,515 in lieu of the sidewalk, to be built by the town later.
However, because topographical issues exist that require grading and right of way issues, a contractor who evaluated the site for the town estimated the actual cost would be nearly $215,000. Wyatt recommended denial and require DR Horton to build it now if they do not meet actual cost plus 25 percent.
The council will also consider an application to enter into a financing agreement to purchase property (Dollar General) in the principal amount of $1,400,000 for the purpose of financing the cost of the project, with approval of the Local Government Commission.
Councilman George Harris noted the Dollar General property purchase and that of the Nationwide office was part of the town’s Strategic Master Plan, created with citizen input, to eventually reroute Wagner Street to Main Street and create a plaza in the current Wagner Street area.
He also noted the purchase of two homes on the west side of Wagner Street, currently being rented out by the town, were acquired as part of the future Lytton Street connection to Wagner Street.
“We are doing what people wanted,” Harris added.
Other agenda items include:
♦ Approval of a contract between the Town of Troutman and the Iredell Charter Academy of Arts and Science for a School Resource Officer under the same reimbursement terms as exist with Iredell-Statesville Schools.
♦ Setting public hearings for September 14 for Sterling Properties of Mooresville for annexation of 49.54 acres near Autumn Leaf Road and Quail Haven Court and for Troutman Commercial Properties LLC of 7.5 acres at 709 South Main Street.
♦ Holding a public hearing and consider Annexation Boundary Agreement Between the Town of Troutman and City of Statesville.
♦ Considering annexation and a rezoning request by The Children’s Hope Alliance of 75.597 acres located on the west side of Highway 21, just north of Barium Lane, from Town of Troutman Suburban Residential to Town of Troutman Office Institutional.
♦ Considering the appointment of Camille Lahey as a voting member of the Design Review Board for a vacant seat expiring November 12, 2023.
♦ Considering amending the Town of Troutman Schedule of Fees for some utility and zoning department fees.
♦ Recognizing Police Chief Josh Watson as “Town of Troutman Employee of the Month.”
♦ Hearing a quarterly report from Troutman Fire Department.