By Shannon Beamon, Staff Writer
Monday, November 11, 2013 —
Cell phone users may soon be experiencing fewer dead spots, and developers may find it easier to meet local subdivision requirements thanks to actions taken by the Stanly County Commission Monday.
After a presentation from Brian Pearce with American Towers, LLC, and on recommendation from the planning board, county commissioners voted unanimously to approve rezonings to accommodate 195-foot monopole tele-communications towers on three properties along the county’s southern corridor.
Properties approved for the towers include a 12.63-acre tract owned by Joyce Ann Hartsell Baucom on Renee Ford Road near Polk Ford Road; a 7.15-acre tract owned by Nancy Carpenter near the intersection of N.C. 138 and Chapel Road; and a 50.66-acre tract owned by Wade Elvin Hinson near N.C. 24-27. Only 100-by-100-foot squares were rezoned for the towers, which Pearce said would greatly enhance coverage.
He stressed the need for more towers as he described the growing number of consumers relying exclusively on wireless devices and showed graphs illustrating the spike in data traffic since Apple’s 2007 introduction of the iPhone.
Pearce said more than just phones, people need reliable wireless connections for tablets, laptops and gaming consoles. He said he plans to bring one more tower site rezoning request to the Planning Board this week.
Stanly County Planning Director Michael Sandy called the Baucom and Hinson properties above average sites for towers and the other site average. He said applicants had provided documentation that the towers would not seriously injure the values of adjoining properties. No one spoke in opposition to the towers during Monday’s public hearings.
In other planning and zoning action, Sandy asked commissioners to modify the county’s subdivision ordinance to make it easier for developers to meet the criteria of the county’s point approval system.
He said when planners began to rewrite the subdivision ordinance in 2003, they put together a system so that developers could pick and choose a variety of amenities they would provide to reach the necessary 100 points to have their subdivisions approved.
Although designed to help balance suburban and rural developments, Sandy said the system has kept too many projects from winning approval.
“In the past nine years, we haven’t had any major subdivisions. ... People who came to the table were unable to meet the point system,” he said.
“If you have a 500-lot subdivision, you have no problem, but most of the ones we have had are between five and 100 acres, and they have a hard time.”
He said the inability of smaller major subdivisions without the benefit of infrastructure like water and sewer to meet the existing requirements led the planning board to recommend adding the following four options and their point values to the ordinance: two-sided sidewalks, 20 points; engineered storm drainage, 20; curb and guttering, 25; and home owners association, 10.
Hearing no opposition during the public hearing on the text amendment, commissioners approved the change.
An expected request for a text amendment regarding a solar overlay district was not brought before commissioners Monday night as planners are taking more time to tweak the proposal.
Commission Chairman Gene McIntyre said discussion of the matter would likely occur during the first meeting in December.
In other matters, commissioners:
n approved a request from the Albemarle Downtown Business Association to have a fireworks display Dec. 7 as part of Downtown Christmas. The organization must also seek approval from the city of Albemarle.
n reappointed Deloris Chambers to the Gaston Community Action Board of Directors for a three-year term ending December 2016.
n Tabled discussion of appointing a replacement for Rebecca Carter on the board of adjustment. Carter resigned Sept. 6. The board has thus far received applications from Joseph L. Burleson and Michael D. Efird.
The next meeting of the Stanly County Board of Commissioners is at 7 p.m. Nov. 18.
Luanne Williams is a freelance contributor for The Stanly News & Press.