TO: Mayor and Town Council
FROM: W. Calvin Horton, Town Manager
SUBJECT: Public Hearing: Castalia at Meadowmont – Master Land Use Plan Modification Application
This Public Hearing has been called for consideration of an application for a Master Land Use Plan Modification to modify the Meadowmont Master Plan. The proposed modification would relocate dwelling units and floor area in order to change the proposed use and increase the amount of floor area at the Castalia site. The Meadowmont Development is located on the north and south side of NC Highway 54 at the County line.
Along with this application, the applicant has submitted an application for a Special Use Permit which proposes to construct a 76,000 square foot mixed use building including 52,000 square feet of office floor area and 11 residential units. The proposal includes a three-story building with 177 parking spaces including 17 garage spaces. Two points of access along West Barbee Chapel Road are proposed. Please see the accompanying memorandum for the Special Use Permit application.
Tonight’s Public Hearing has been scheduled to receive evidence in support of and in opposition to approval of the application, and further to receive evidence which the Council may consider as the Council determines any appropriate conditions to impose upon the proposed development.
On October 23, 1995, the Town Council approved a Master Land Use Plan for the 435-acre Meadowmont development located on NC 54. The approved Master Land Use Plan authorized 1,298 dwelling units and 785,100 square feet of non-residential floor area. A minor modification of the Master Land Use Plan in 1999 reduced these figures to 1,061 dwelling units and 765,600 square feet of non-residential floor area.
The minor modification approved in 1999 allocated the 52,000 square feet of floor area on the proposed Castalia site to 17,333 square feet of commercial floor area and 34,677 square feet of office floor area.
The Master Land Use Plan process is intended to provide a procedure which can relate the general type, design, and layout of various proposed uses to a particular site. It is meant to provide the basis for more detailed development plans subsequently reviewed through the Special Use Permit process. Typically, following approval of the Master Land Use Plan, a Special Use Permit application is submitted with each phase of site development. Once a Master Land Use Plan has been approved, no Special Use Permit application shall be approved unless it is consistent with the Master Land Use Plan.
The process requires the Town Manager to submit an analysis of the application and his recommendation to relevant advisory boards and the Town Council. Advisory boards review the application and submit recommendations to the Town Council.
Floor Area/Land Use Changes: The approved Master Land Use Plan designated this site for 52,000 square feet of commercial/office development. The proposed Castalia plan differs from the approved 1995 Master Land Use Plan in several aspects. Differences include the amount of floor area and the proposed land uses. The applicant proposes to:
The proposed residential component involves the relocation to this site of 11 residential units previously approved as part of the Meadowmont Infrastructure Special Use Permit. The proposal does not increase the overall number of residential units or floor area authorized by the 1995 Meadowmont Master Land Use Plan or the 1999 minor modification to the Master Land Use Plan, as approved by the Town Manager.
Site Design Changes: The proposed design for the Castalia at Meadowmont project varies from the Master Land Use Plan approved by the Town Council in 1995. Several design features of the approved plan are omitted from the proposal or modified. Notable design differences between the Master Land Use Plan and this proposal include:
Please refer to the applicant’s submitted statement (Attachment 9) for further comparison discussion of the consistency between the proposed development and the approved Master Land Use Plan.
We believe that the proposed design for the Castalia at Meadowmont site is in keeping with the Master Plan approved by the Council. We believe the images depicted in the approved Master Land Use Plan are intended as a visual guide to illustrate the overall village concept and were not intended to be a literal representation of building dimensions and parking spaces. At this scale, we believe that the images depicted were symbolic representations expressing broad objectives. A copy of the adopted 1995 Master Plan for this portion of Meadowmont is provided as Attachment 11.
For approval of a Master Land Use Plan Modification, the Land Use Management Ordinance requires that the Council make the following findings:
That the use or development is located, designed, and proposed to be operated so as to maintain or promote the public health, safety, and general welfare;
That the use or development is located, designed, and proposed to be operated so as to maintain or enhance the value of contiguous property, or that the use or development is a public necessity; and
That the use or development conforms with the general plans for the physical development of the Town as embodied in the Comprehensive Plan.
We believe that the Council can make these findings. Each is briefly discussed below.
Maintain the public health, safety, and general welfare: We believe that the primary impact of this development on public health, safety, and general welfare relates to a reduction in daily vehicle trips. The proposal by the applicant, to delete the previously approved 17,333 square feet of commercial floor area and include additional office and residential land uses, reduces the estimated amount of daily vehicles trip from 967 to 655. For additional information please refer to the attached Traffic Impact Analysis exemption.
Maintain or enhance the value of contiguous property, or be a public necessity: We believe that the uses proposed and their general location on this site will be compatible with uses on contiguous property. We believe the addition of residences adds a mixed use character which is desirable and enhances the value of the project, the contiguous property, and surrounding area.
Conformance to the Comprehensive Plan: We believe the Meadowmont development conforms to many aspects of the Comprehensive Plan. The project is consistent with the Mixed Use-Residential-1 zoning district, the Greenway Plan, the Land Use Plan, the Urban Services, and the Thoroughfare Plan.
An additional provision of the Comprehensive Plan is the objective of providing affordable housing. With the accompanying Special Use Permit application, the developer proposes the provision of two affordable rental housing units in the new building.
We believe that the proposed development complies with the required regulations and standards of the Land Use Management Ordinance and the Comprehensive Plan.
Based on the review of this development application by Town Advisory Boards and the Town staff, we believe that the key issue that has been identified pertains to the proposed increase in square footage. This issue is discussed below.
Floor Area: The Master Land Use Plan allocates 52,000 square feet of commercial and office floor area for this site. The proposed Castalia plan differs from the approved Master Land Use Plan in the amount of floor area and the proposed land uses. The applicant is proposing to eliminate the commercial land use component and replace it with a residential component. The applicant is also proposing to modify the Meadowmont Master Land Use Plan to increase the allowable floor area by 24,000 square feet. The submitted plans propose constructing a building with 76,000 square feet of floor area.
Comment: The application does not propose to increase the total number of residential units authorized by the Meadowmont Master Land Use Plan. The number of residential units will remain the same; however, the location would change for the proposed 11 units.
We believe the increase in floor area, in conjunction with the change of land uses, minimizes the traffic impact. The application indicates the projected traffic impact will be less than the approved Meadowmont Master Land Use Plan.
Planning Board Recommendation: On April 4, 2006, the Planning Board voted 6-0 to recommend that the Council approve this application with the adoption of Resolution A. Please see the attached Summary of Planning Board Action.
Transportation Board Recommendation: On May 16, 2006, the Transportation Board voted 6- 0 to recommend that the Council approve this application with the adoption of Resolution A. Please see the attached Summary of Transportation Board Action.
Parks and Recreation Commission Recommendation: On April 28, 2006, the Parks and Recreation Commission voted 8-0 to recommend that the Council approve this application with the adoption of Resolution A. Please see the attached Summary of Parks and Recreation Commission Action.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board Recommendation: On April 25, 2006, the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board voted 8-0 to recommend that the Council approve this application with the adoption of Resolution A. Please see the attached Summary of Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board Action.
Manager’s Preliminary Recommendation: That the Council adopt Resolution A, approving the Master Land Use Plan Modification application with conditions.
Resolution B would deny the Master Land Use Plan Modification application.