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Cedar Mountain Area Plan Discussed – Transylvania County, NC

 

Last updated 11/16/2020 at 3:09pm



Curley Huggins said the committee working on the Cedar Mountain Small Area Plan believes it will give an “accurate depiction of what Cedar Mountain community members feel is important.”

Huggins is chairman of the committee that was appointed by the county’s Board of Commissioners in August of 2019.

The board-approved planning process tasked the committee with identifying a physical boundary of the area, defining the plan’s goals, and developing and issuing an input survey.

Those tasks have been completed and were presented last week to the Board of Commissioners. The committee, with help from county staff, will include these findings in a draft copy of the Cedar Mountain Small Area Plan, which will then go to the county’s Planning Board for review and possible changes, and, ultimately, to commissioners, who will approve any final plan after a public hearing.

Of the draft plan, Huggins told commissioners it reflects what is “crucial to the future of their community, balancing economic growth and employment opportunities with quality of life issues, including protection of natural resources, ensuring the continued health of rivers and streams, floodplains and ecosystems – preserving our cultural lands, open spaces, local scenic and aesthetic beauty, as well as maintaining historical and cultural resources.”

“We realize this effort is a delicate balance of various and differing citizen concerns – all of which have a considerable impact to the Cedar Mountain community and public policy in general,” Huggins added. “We also understand the sensitive political, social and economic impacts that must be considered by the county commission in review of our plan.”

Before going to the Planning Board, the committee will host a series of virtual workshops and one in-person workshop on the draft plan for the public. Input from the workshops will be taken into consideration by the committee as part of the final draft plan.

Goals

The committee’s goals, which have already been approved by the Planning Board, include:

•Protect the remaining agricultural and timber lands;

•Preserve and protect the area’s rural character: maintain the historic and cultural aspects of the community;

•Promote responsible land use and development;

•Preserve the unique natural communities found in Cedar Mountain;

•Support community economic and social opportunity via enhanced cellular telephone and broadband connectivity;

•Encourage economic and employment opportunity while balancing growth and quality of life;

•Promote measured growth of businesses in the commercial node as defined in the Cedar Mountain Small Area Plan;

•Protect natural resources and preserve the scenic and aesthetic beauty of the area. including views/ridge tops and open spaces;

•Ensure the environmental health of rivers, streams, ecosystems and lands;

•Preserve and protect the historical structures and cultural heritage of Cedar Mountain;

•Ensure the safety of the community and visitors via adequate traffic planning, regulation and enforcement; and

•Promote the development of bike and pedestrian friendly transportation alternatives in the Cedar Mountain Area.

Survey

During last week’s commissioner’s meeting, Allen McNeill, the county’s interim planning and community development director, went over some of the survey results. The online survey consisted of 37 questions and was available to the public June 26-July 20 via SurveyMonkey. The survey generated 559 responses, which were given to the plan’s committee and the Planning Board.

The public input survey asked participants to rate how strongly they “agree” or “disagree” with the proposed vision statement (see box).

•72 percent of respondents indicated that they either agree or strongly agreed with the proposed vision statement

•According to the Public Input Survey, 456 of 559 (82 percent) respondents felt the proposed boundary was an accurate depiction of Cedar Mountain. Parcels included in the boundary: 1,509; total acreage inside the boundary: 17,368.93 (8.4 percent of the entire county). DuPont State Recreational Forest property inside the boundary includes 8,771.86 acres.

•Question Three: County policies and regulations should encourage more single-family residential development in the Cedar Mountain Area? 45 percent of respondents either disagree or strongly disagree.

•Question Five: County policies and regulations should work to preserve the Cedar Mountain area’s rural character?

Nearly 95 percent of respondents indicated they either agree or strongly agree.

•Question Six: County policies and regulations should work to preserve/protect mountain views/ridge tops? 93 percent of respondents indicated they either agree or strongly agree.

•Question Seven: County policies and regulations should encourage more affordable workforce housing options? 41 percent of respondents indicated they either agree or strongly agree.

•Question Nine: County policies and regulations should encourage/support the creation of more employment opportunities in the Cedar Mountain Area? 37 percent of respondents indicated they neither agree or disagree.

Question Thirteen: County policies and regulations should regulate the size, design and usage of new commercial developments? Almost 95 percent of respondents indicated that they either agree or strongly agree.

Question Fourteen: County policies and regulations should regulate the size, design, and usage of new industrial developments.

Almost 95 percent of respondents indicated that they either agree or strongly agree.

Question Fifteen: County policies and regulations should require more regulations in order to develop properties inside the existing floodplain in the Cedar Mountain Area? More than 94 percent of respondents indicated they either agree or strongly agree.

•Question Twenty-Two: The county should provide funds to develop and maintain a public recreational park in the Cedar Mountain area? More than 43 percent of respondents indicated that they either agree or strongly agree.

•Question Twenty-Three: How much do you believe the Cedar Mountain area should grow in the future? 54 percent of respondents answered, “Not Much,” when prompted with this question.

Question Twenty-Eight: What roads or intersections, if any, contain hazards (limited visibility, sharp curves, high speeds, etc.)? Among 316 responses, 55 pertained to speed, speed limit or high vehicular speeds up and down N.C. 276.

Question Thirty-Two: How long have you lived or owned property in the Cedar Mountain area as it is defined by the planning boundary? 25 percent of respondents indicated that they had never lived or owned property in the area, while 24 percent of respondents indicated that they have lived in the Cedar Mountain area for 20 or more years.

After the presentation, commissioners made some comments.

Commissioner Page Lemel said it would be “more important” if the focus was placed on the responses of those who live in the Cedar Mountain community rather than those of property owners who don’t.

Commissioner Mike Hawkins agreed. Commissioner David Guice questioned the call for more recreation in the area, with DuPont State Recreational Forest already available. McNeill said the desire was for a more traditional park in the area.

For more information about the Cedar Mountain Small Area Plan go to http://www.transylvaniacounty.org/cedar-mountain-small-area-planning-committee.

 
 

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