The Troutman Town Board recently rejected a proposal to subdivide an 8.1-acre site on Autumn Leaf Road into nine single-family lots because the developer did not plan adequate improvements to a private road leading to the property.
Dominic Urdi and his partners wanted to place six homes on Nonna's Way, a privately maintained gravel road with no curbs, gutter or sidewalks. But Troutman's development regulations require that any existing street segment that is to serve as the required frontage for one or more lots must be improved to meet the town standards.
Urdi's proposal would have met the town's 60-foot width requirement, but his proposed gravel, non-paved road surface did not.
Urdi was seeking a hardship exception when he appeared before the town board. “I've recently been laid off, and I am seeking this relief to avoid a possible foreclosure,” Urdi told the board. “This is a rural, low-density area and a gravel road should be fine. We want to stay in Troutman, and putting in a $20,000 road would be an exceptional hardship on my family.”
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Town law requires that a hardship exception can only be granted if the request meets four specific circumstances including the fact that the conditions are peculiar to this subdivision, which the town board decided was not the case. Both the town's Technical Review Committee and Planning/Zoning Commission had previously reviewed the subdivision request and recommended denial of the proposed plat.
In addition, Mark Ervin of Charlotte, who owns adjoining property, also urged the board not to grant the exception. “Existing zoning laws should be maintained,” he told the aldermen before their decision.
While rejecting the request, at least one of the town board members struggled with the strict rules of the quasi-judicial hearing process, which must be followed on special exception/hardship relief cases “Can we ask questions now?” said Mayor Pro-Tem Mike Spath after the citizens had spoken.
‘No' was the firm answer from Mayor Elbert Richardson. The board then rejected the hardship request after which Spath, clearly frustrated, said “I don't like this process.”
In other action, the board:
Approved the annexation of a 68.1-acre parcel between the Lowe's home improvement store and Interstate 77. The site is currently vacant.
Set Oct. 9 as the date for a series of public hearings to consider the annexation of 392 acres at five different sites around Troutman.
Authorized the South Iredell High School Student Council to hold its annual homecoming parade on Oct. 15. But board members urged the student representatives to use Eastway Drive rather than Main Street (N.C. 21) to reduce disruption of afternoon rush-hour traffic.