Mooresville is working to create a new “vision” for a stretch of Brawley School Road roughly between U.S. 21 and Williamson Road.
Town staffers are crafting a text amendment for a Brawley School Road Overlay that would serve as a supplement to the Brawley School Road Small Area Plan. Rawls Howard, planning and community development director for the town, presented information about the text amendment to town commissioners on May 15.
“One of the reasons we’re doing this is because of one of the goals for planning staff is to try to be able to take a lot of our policy documents and translate those into a regulatory type of situation,” he said.
The purpose of the amendment would allow for implementing regulatory changes identified in the small area plan, Howard said.
He added that the overall small area plan “is the vision and we’re trying to translate that vision into day-to- day operations,” through the creation of an overlay plan.
Within the overlay plan, specifics about use locations and intensities along with building orientations and other site details are included.
“What we did as staff is essentially took the (small area) plan and scrubbed it,” he said. “We went through the entire thing and tried to take key policy recommendations out of that document and put them in to an overlay.”
The boundary line of the current Brawley School Road Area Plan has been in effect fiscal since 2009-2010.
“That boundary hasn’t changed for the most part,” Howard said. “In general, you’re looking at a lower intensity (development) to the east and as you move closer to I-77 you’re looking at a more mixed environment, and as you move towards the Williamson area you get into the more commercial office and those types of land uses as well.”
Howard noted that the boundary of the overlay would match the boundary of the small area plan for Brawley School Road.
When looking at the small area plan, many of the recommendations that came out of it (for the overlay) boiled down to parking and land use, Howard said.
“A lot of what the plan was recommending…was more of a boulevard type of style and that specific type of roadway was referenced as a sort of common design standard that was being put in place…and staff took that in mind when trying to write the code and thinking about what are the types of things we want this overlay to promote that type of ambiance and design standard for the town of Mooresville,” he said.
With this type of design, Howard said buildings would be placed closer to the road with parking situated internally.
“As you’re driving down Brawley School Road, the idea is to create a more pedestrian, urban type of ambiance as your cruising down that road heading towards Williamson,” he said. “What we’ve done with the overlay is we’ve created a standard where the buildings have to be located closer to the frontage of the street…and likewise if you have a lot of internal developments or internal streets that those buildings also be oriented to those internal drives so that parking is internal to the site.”
In situations where a development cannot meet that standard, Howard said a technical review committee would have the ability to “modify those standards.”
“We can’t waive them, but we can modify those standards on a case by case basis,” he said.
When looking at land use, Howard said the overlay plan for the area focuses on more neighborhood type uses. In regards to commercial, he said the focus would be shifted to a commercial business that draws from the surrounding area.
“It really puts a limitation, so to speak, on what they call ‘destination retail’ which is basically retail that draws in people from outside of the area,” he said.
The overlay plan being considered puts a limitation of 60,000 square-feet on any space that could be developed within the proposed overlay district.
“Anything over 60,000 should be prohibited or not move forward, so we kept with that 60,000 limitation, but the plan also calls for anything over 60,000 square-feet be located within a quarter mile node of the Williamson and Brawley School Road (intersection),” he said. “The idea is that you’re trying to concentrate a lot of those bigger intense developments into a node—or the four quadrants of Exit 35--and not just sprawl down Brawley School Road or Williamson Road.
“… When we talked with a lot of the retail folks and market folks (about) when the plan was drawn up some time ago, when you try to look at a neighborhood scale of what commercial retail is…(we want to) be able to find that sweet spot of what’s a community and what’s a destination regional service.”
If a development is over 100,000 square-feet, a conditional use permit would be needed.
“If you wanted to build an 100,000 square foot or larger building, and we’ll clarify this in the language specifically when it comes up for your consideration, we are still talking about the four quadrants of Exit 35 and the quarter mile node. Everywhere else, there’s nothing going to be bigger than 60,000 square-feet.”
Howard said the focus of the overlay looks at neighborhood community services versus regional, and also specifically prohibits the following types of land use -- self storage facilities, outdoor auto dealers, and auto service and repair businesses, as well as restaurants with a drive-through service.
While restaurants can be built within that area, those specifically with drive-throughs would have to go up Talbert Road or somewhere else where zoning allows for that.
Exempt from much of what is in the overlay are offices, hospitals, medical treatment facilities and research and development facilities, said Howard, adding that such businesses are encouraged.
Commissioners took no action after Howard’s presentation.
Additionally, any future action by the town board would not affect the Costco land rezoning at Talbert and Brawley School roads, according to Town Attorney Steve Gambill, in which the town is currently embroiled in legal action.
Plans for that space included not only Costco, but a gas station, Academy Sports & Outdoors, and six other small retail and restaurant spaces, with Costco coming in at 155,518 square feet and Academy Sports at 62,943.
“The (small area plan) that was in place at the time of the March 2016 hearing would apply,” Gambill previously told the Tribune. “If the rezoning application is heard pursuant to a new application for rezoning -- under the town’s zoning ordinance, if a rezoning request is turned down by the Board, an applicant can submit a new application after one year -- then the rezoning would be heard based upon the particular plan in place at the time of the hearing.”