Lake Norman & Mooresville

Troutman OKs Exit 42 projects

So far, most of the new construction near Exit 42 on Interstate 77 in Troutman has been on the south side, led by a new Lowe's Home Improvement Center. But the action is about to shift northward.

At their July meeting, the town board unanimously approved sketch plans and permits for more than 22,000 square feet of offices, a 2,000-square-foot restaurant and a 77-room hotel, all just to the north of the heavily traveled interstate.

“These proposed uses are in agreement with the existing Exit 42 Land Use Plan and the proposed Troutman Area Land Use Plan,” town planner Emily Jackson said before the vote. “Both plans recommend that this area be (zoned as) interchange/commercial, which is for retail and services uses primarily geared to the traveling public.”

The three office buildings and the restaurant will cover 3.4 acres and will be part of a new retail/office complex known as the Charles Center, located on U.S. 21 just south of Houston Road. The property is currently vacant and was recently cleared.

Just to the east of the Charles Center property on Houston Road is the 3.16-acre parcel, which will house the Country Inn and Suites.

They are one of at least four hotel chains that have expressed an interest in building around the Exit 42 area. There are no hotels now in Troutman, but in anticipation, the town recently adopted a 3percent room occupancy tax and formed the Troutman Tourism Authority.

Also at the meeting, the board:

Adopted a dress/appearance code for town administrative personnel that prohibits the wearing or display of certain items, including T-shirts, jeans, shorts, low-cut necklines, visible tattoos and heavy perfumes.

Reduced the number of members on the Planning Board from eight to seven, while also adding two alternates. The changes were necessary in order to avoid the cancellation of meetings because of the lack of a quorum. Under the new arrangement, a quorum will be four instead of five, and alternate members can participate to reach a quorum if needed.