An update from our meeting on Monday:

-The changes to the Land Development code promoting greater public participation in the development process were adopted. So, as new projects start to come through, you should start to see the new signs with all the information about the development (maps, contact information, website, etc.) on the project site. We also moved the neighborhood meetings to occur earlier in the development process so that feedback from the community can be incorporated into the project plans before changes become prohibitively expensive.

-We also approved the contracts for the Rocky Branch Park Trail enhancement and the Abbey Creek Greenway. We had some discussion around what the preferred route for the greenway should be – but the project team will be looking at a couple different options to see what makes the most sense, balancing considerations around cost, utility access, and proximity to the creek and other natural features.

-There was also some discussion around the Christmas Parade. At present, Belmont is the only municipality in Gaston County (outside maybe Lowell) that is proceeding with its parade this Winter. So, we had a discussion with representatives from the Montcross Chamber (which is organizing the parade on behalf of the City) to get an idea of what the parade might look like this year. They confirmed that they have had strong interest from groups looking to participate in the parade, and that they are developing plans to ensure that spectators can view the parade in a socially-distant manner. A lot of what can or cannot happen will depend on the specifics of the Governor’s latest executive order (which is due to expire next week). So, the Chamber and the City will be keeping a close eye on that and adapting appropriately.

-As a follow-up to a discussion we had at our last workshop, Council decided to accelerate the process by which we would amend the the Land Development Code to restrict the use of stand-alone apartment buildings downtown. We had initially planned on doing some public outreach on this. However, given the consistent feedback we have received on this topic since last year’s election, we were comfortable pushing forward on this change as it is very clearly something that most of our residents would like to see happen. Based on our discussion, we are looking at a late January/early February timeframe for a vote on this change.

Our next City Council meeting will be Monday at 6:45pm at TechWorks. You can find the agenda and a link to the livestream here: http://ow.ly/LtyE50C7yFL

We will be holding a public hearing on and voting on updates to the Land Development Code to reflect several of the changes that we discussed earlier in the year around public engagement with the development process. The primary changes are requiring the placement of new signs with information about the proposed development (a rendering of the sign is attached to this post) and requiring neighborhood meetings earlier in the development process and for additional development processes (including major development plans and conventional rezones).

I think these changes will do a lot to facilitate greater community involvement in the development process while also ensuring that interested residents can easily locate information about a proposed development (with much of the information provided right on the sign). I’m looking forward to discussing these further at our meeting.

We will also be considering a contract for the Rocky Branch Park Trails Enhancement project. If approved, construction would begin sometime this winter.

There will also be an update on the Abbey Creek Greenway project and, we will also be considering the approval of some surveying and hydrology studies for that project. You can see a map of the proposed alignment and some conceptual drawings (which actually look pretty cool) here: http://ow.ly/XXzI50C7zFM

Any questions? Let me know!

new rezoning sign