blueprints

Next week is shaping up to be a busy week. There is a City Council Workshop on Tuesday (the 19th), a Planning Board Meeting on Thursday (the 21st), and Council’s annual retreat kicks off on Friday (the 22nd). All meetings are at CityWorks.

Agenda for Workshop
Agenda for Planning Board

At our workshop on Tuesday, we will be getting an update from the City’s IT staff about the various software and technology upgrades that have been made over the last few years. We will also be getting an overview of how the City is guarding against cybersecurity threats. It should be a very interesting presentation.

We will also be getting an update on various transportation and pedestrian improvement projects planned and/or underway in the City. Council will also be discussing a potential leasing of the old Planning Department building (which was vacated when the Planning staff moved to CityWorks).
On Thursday, the Planning Board will be hearing two development proposals. The first is a Habitat for Humanity Project in North Belmont (off Lee Road) for 28 mixed-income single-family homes. A summary of the proposal is here: Link

The second proposal is for the Smith Property located directly across from the new Belmont Middle School on South Point Road. The project calls for 43 single-family homes and 56 townhomes and provides for the realignment and reconstruction of the intersection of Belwood Drive and South Point Road. A summary of the proposal is here: Link

If you would like to comment on either of those projects, you can either comment in person at the Planning Board’s meeting or email your comments to the Planning staff before the meeting (contacts for each project are located here: https://www.cityofbelmont.org/projects/). I am also happy to pass along your comments to staff if you would like.

Council’s annual retreat will be Friday evening and Saturday morning (1/22-23). The agenda is still being finalized, but it will be open to the public. I will post more information on this as it becomes available.

If you have any questions, let me know!

The next City Council meeting is Monday, December 7 at 6:45pm at the new CityWorks building (in the large conference room on the first floor). You can find a copy of the agenda here.

At the beginning of the meeting, we will take care of some administrative items dealing with our meeting schedule and committee appointments for 2021. The most significant change is a shift in our regular meeting time from 6:45pm to 6:00pm (still meeting on Mondays). The thought here is that meetings that start earlier can also end earlier while still starting the meetings at a time when people can attend (or tune in) after the regular work day.

We will also be conducting a public hearing and considering an ordinance that will increase the side setbacks of new single-family homes. The current ordinance sets the minimum setback at 20% of the lot width, with a minimum space between houses of 6 feet for homes on an alley lot and 11 feet for homes on a street lot. The proposed change sets the minimum distance between houses at 10 feet (or 20% of lot width, whichever is greater) for alley lots and 12 feet (or 20% of lot width, whichever is greater) for street lots.

I think this change will do a lot to address the concerns I have heard about the compactness of newer neighborhoods. The extra space between houses should help reduce the “crowded” feeling that some of these developments have and improve the look, feel, and livability of new neighborhoods. Of course, I welcome your input, and you can feel free to let me know what you think or you can present your comments during the public hearing on Monday.

We will also be considering some changes to the McLean Development (designating an additional section as a low-impact area) and approving some changes to the trail system in the Morgan’s Branch Development.

There is also a Facade Enhancement Grant application from KBN Interiors for their new location at 331 Catawba Street. They have applied for a $2,500 grant, and you can find the details (including a rendering) here.

Also, note that we will not be having a workshop this month in order to give everyone a bit of a break before Christmas.

There are two Council meetings this week to be aware of:

-The first is tomorrow at 2pm at TechWorks. We will be meeting with staff from NCDOT to discuss the intersection design for Belwood Drive and South Point Road (in front of the new middle school). DOT’s current design for that intersection calls for creating two separate three-way intersections (one at Belwood Drive, the other at the entrance to the new school). The City is working with DOT to see if it is possible to shift Belwood Drive’s intersection over a few feet to create one four-way intersection. The agenda and some related schematics are located here.

-The second meeting will be Thursday at 3:30pm (also at TechWorks). We will be discussing our Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for the current fiscal year. The CIP is the process by which the City funds all of the “big” projects and, there are usually more projects on the list than we can fund in a given year. So we will be prioritizing projects for funding at this meeting. I will post a link to that agenda once it is available.