Troutman council deadlocks over controversial board appointment, approves strategic master plan process statesville free news gas x ultra strength directions

Town council members (back row, from left) Paul Henkel, Sally Williams, Judy Jablonski, and Paul Bryant honor Pat Parker (front left) of Southern Treats/Full Belly Deli as Organization of the Year and (front right) Jan Huffman as Citizen of the Year. (Picture courtesy Town of Troutman)

With Mayor Teross Young and council member Jim Troutman absent, the remaining four members of the Troutman Town Council approved a proposed contract to a create strategic master plan for the town as well as several other issues but failed to reach consensus on a Planning and Zoning Board appointment that some east side residents opposed.

The controversy that erupted at Monday’s pre-agenda meeting over the Planning and Zoning Board nomination of Grace Beasley, a current Board of Adjustment member, to an ETJ alternate seat continued during council’s formal consideration of the appointment.

After listening to community speakers, the council voted twice on motions, one to place Barry General on the board and one to place Beasley, but both votes ended in a 2-2 split, with Paul Bryant and Judy Jablonski voting for Beasley, and Henkel and Sally Williams voting in favor of General. The council will revisit the matter during their June meeting.

General also spoke, expressing concern that the family relationship between Longino and Beasley was not discussed in the interview process. (The relationship had been disclosed in May of 2017 when the present council considered Beasley for another appointment.)

General cited his 40 years of managerial and budgeting experience with various companies as qualification for the planning and zoning post. “One of my strengths is being an effective negotiator. I find that if you treat other people with respect, they’ll treat you with respect,” he said.

Williams applauded the Hoover and Perry Road area neighbors for getting more involved with town meetings last fall, but she pointed out the area’s lack of representation since 2015 was from a lack of applicants to town boards and committees.

“We don’t get a lot of people who just beat the door down to fill out applications to be on committees,” Williams added. She noted that selections to these boards and committees are not tied to districts or areas. “It’s just people who come in and want to be a part of the town and want to have some say.”

Though he believed that Beasley had excellent credentials and that no question of ethical problems on the part of Longino or Beasley existed, Henkel said he supported General’s appointment to give the east side and all town residents qualified representation.

Council members unanimously approved a contract with Stantec for the creation a Town of Troutman Strategic Master Plan. A steering committee considered submitted requests for proposals on the project and recommended Stantec for an interview.

Stantec will also facilitate a three-day charrette (a meeting in which all stakeholders in a project attempt to resolve conflicts and map out solutions) involving town staff, stakeholders and citizens. During the meeting, landscape architects, planners, engineers and designers will also help develop the overarching vision for the plan.

Focus groups on various topics will occur throughout the charrette, and the public input sessions will feature keypad polling and interactive design and mapping stations. At the end of day three, Stantec will have a public presentation summarizing the results of the charrette and will then follow up with staff and elected officials for additional input before assembling the final draft.

Stantec will next develop the Strategic Master Plan, which will “estimate demand for community services and create a set of policy and infrastructure recommendations that bridge the gap from the Troutman we see today to the preferred future scenario.”

During plan creation, Stantec will conduct an existing plan and policy review, collect data and examine existing conditions. The consultants will also help staff and policy makers identify guiding principles as part of the preliminary visioning process for the plan. The principles will derive from the public outreach input to define key issues and community values.

Branch Manager Rebecca Lopez announced the installation of the town’s third Little Free Library at the Children’s Hope Alliance campus. She was happy to report that she has already had to refill the box with children’s and young adult titles.

Lopez also requested council permission to repeat the “Story Walk” down the Richardson Greenway during the six-week summer reading program (June 18 – July 27). Lopez chose the book “My Name is Celia,” the biography of Cuban singer Celia Cruz, as this year’s selection since the theme of this year’s summer reading program is “Libraries Rock!” Programming will focus on both music and geology/science activities.

Parks and Recreation Coordinator Emily Watson encouraged community members to get involved with the Troutman Walking Company on Monday evenings at 6 p.m. The walkers of all ages and ability levels (bikes and leashed dogs also welcome) gather at the pavilion to enjoy a cool evening walk through the town’s greenways a a way to get fit and make new friends.

Debara Splendorio of the Barium Seasons Homeowners Association asked council members for help with a new parking issue in the community. The board had previously passed a successful ordinance prohibiting parking for South Iredell High School pickup and drop-off at the community’s entrance that had caused safety issues.

The issue concerns homeowners who are causing on-street parking problems, which the HOA cannot address since the streets are controlled by the town. Several homeowners said their driveways have been blocked by cars parked across the street, leaving inadequate room to back out.

At the police department’s recommendation, Splendorio asked council members to consider an ordinance not allowing on-street parking across from neighbors’ driveways, leaving a ten-foot clearance area on each side of the driveway to prevent this problem.

► The council voted unanimously to remove the Perry Road Extension from the Local Comprehensive Transportation Plan and the Charlotte Regional Transportation Planning Organization Regional Transportation Plan. Perry/Hoover resident Marc Klinger spoke in favor of removing the extension during the public hearing.