ACTION ITEMS: Matthew’s town board extends public hearing on unified development ordinance

By: Graziella Steele//October 17, 2013//

ACTION ITEMS: Matthew’s town board extends public hearing on unified development ordinance

By: Graziella Steele//October 17, 2013//

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MATTHEWS – The Matthews town board held a public hearing on Monday night seeking comments on a proposed streamlining of the city’s codes into a “unified development ordinance,” combining zoning, subdivision regulations, flood prevention and housing under one umbrella.

Kathi Ingrish, the town’s planning director, said the revision to the code has been in the works for several years and that creating a single coordinating ordinance would help improve implementation of the town’s vision because codes would interrelate better.

Ingrish added that the town is looking at updating its code because it’s been 10 years since Matthews’ boundaries were extended and the undeveloped land in the area now limited. “We need to be strategic in how we develop,” said Ingrish.

The unified development ordinance would allow for new walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods focusing on SRN, or single residential neighborhoods; C-MF, or concentrated, multifamily complexes; TS, or transit supportive development; and ENT, or entertainment and sports complex developments.

The idea is to create a physical layout in newly developed communities where people only have to “park once” so residential units are located close to amenities and required parking spaces are reduced, eliminating the amount of “asphalt seas.”

During the public comment session, Joe Padilla, the executive public policy director at the Real Estate and Building Industry Coalition, said developers and realtors who do business in Matthews favor the flexibility that the unified development ordinance provides.

However, Padilla expressed concern over signage, saying that the current document is too broad to be enforceable. He petitioned the board to consider allowing weekend directional signs that would allow developers and realtors to market properties for a limited time without cluttering roadways.

Matthews resident and principal of Jamison Realty, Paul Jamison, called for allowing directional signs and open house signs as part of the new proposed ordinance. “There needs to be a way for people to find open houses,” said Jamison.

Jamison said under the current ordinance, he can’t even advertise his own house for sale on his own property, even if the neighbors don’t mind.

Mayor Jim Taylor and the Matthews Board of Commissioners decided to continue the hearing on Nov. 11, because the entire proposal is not on the city’s website and they want to determine the time needed for implementation of the proposal.

In another matter before the board, Matthews’ mayor and commissioners voted to extend the public hearing for review of a proposed 15-acre mixed-use development by Proffitt Dixon Partners at the intersection of Northeast Parkway and Matthews Township Parkway.

The master plan for the project calls for up to 250 multifamily residential units and up to 8,000 square feet of commercial development. Commissioners questioned the developers on the location of the commercial spaces, placement of water quality and stormwater retention ponds, materials to be used in the craftsman-style construction and width of walkways.

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