Oakboro Town Council plans for town’s future

Published 2:43 pm Wednesday, April 20, 2022

With much growth expected in Oakboro, the town council received information Monday night regarding the need to have a plan to manage that growth.

Jay Voyles, chairman of the town’s planning board, talked about sustainable growth, retention of business and safeguarding the community.

Voyles was born in Charlotte but lives on Main Street in Oakboro.

He said Oakboro has a strong sense of community.

“I’ve neer seen anywhere like this place before,” he said. “It’s nothing like Charlotte; it’s nothing like Concord. It’s nothing like any other small town I’ve seen, and I like that.”

Using numbers from the 2020 Census and the American Community Survey, Oakboro has 2,179 residents as of 2021, up from 1,859 in 2010. That comes out to a 17.2 percent increase in the town’s residents over the last 11 years. Projections for the town are for an increase to approximately 2,257 by 2026.

Oakboro has 840 households as of 2021, an increase of nearly 100 households since 2010. Projections indicate 872 households by 2026, Voyles said. The figures are based on the number of building permits issued by the county.

The median household income for Oakboro is $57,915, which is more than Albemarle ($44,294) and the county ($54,104). Households have a total gross income of more than $64 million.

Voyles noted an average of 6,800 cars travel Oakboro’s Main Street every day. He said the numbers are higher during summer months when cars travel through the town headed to the coast.

The planning board chairman said the town “needs to have an economic development plan.” He said the town must decide what kinds of businesses it wants to attract, whether it is chains or small locally-owned businesses.

“We need to figure out what we want to do and how we want to do it,” Voyles said.

Voyles mentioned some of the town’s zoning ordinances are outdated, noting some “promote non-connected sprawl neighborhoods with little to no amenities.”

Regarding new industry and service businesses, he said, “We want to promote Oakboro as a business friendly town and welcome new industry, but we don’t want to wash out the existing businesses that have been here and make this town what it is. There is a free market, and the town is not preventing competition, but in reaching out to new industry, we must think about what’s already here.”

Commissioner Chris Huneycutt, acting as chairman with the absence of Mayor Joyce Little, asked if other towns have departments which put together information for prospective businesses. Voyles said Locust and Albemarle work with a company called Retail Strategies which reaches out to national businesses.

In his department report on code enforcement, Commissioner Mike Efird said the town’s attorney is working with council to produce a new Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). The UDO will come before the planning board and may be voted on at the May meeting at the town council.

Efird also mentioned the council is working with Kathy Liles of Carthage on a 20-year comprehensive land use plan for Oakboro.

“It actually directly helps us with the growth and in what direction it’s going to go,” Efird said.

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored four times by the North Carolina Press Association.

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