Arborcroft bike lane staff report _1_

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					                                TOWN OF HUNTERSVILLE
                             ZONING BOARD OF ADJUSTMENT
                                     March 23, 2010
Subdivision Variance

Subdivision:          ArborCroft
Address:              McCord Road, Huntersville, N.C.
Parcel #:             011-331-04
Property Owner:       Sherwood L. Webb, Webb + Partners
Applicant:            Sherwood L. Webb
Staff:                David Peete, Principal Planner

Applicant, Sherwood L. Webb, of Webb + Partners, is requesting to eliminate the requirement for a bike
lane along McCord Road at the ArborCroft Subdivision (see below). Mr. Webb is requesting the variance
because “no (other) bike lanes exist along McCord Road on either side of the road. No bike lanes have
been installed by past developments or businesses” since his development was approved and begun in
2001.




    Road Profile from Preliminary Plan Approved 9-13-2001, Also shown on 8-30-2001 Approved Sketch Plan

Additionally, if the bike lane is required to be installed, then the applicant requests a variance to only
install a bike lane when and if the Town of Huntersville installs bike lanes along both sides of McCord
Road. He further stipulates that this must be done within 5 years (March 2010 – March 2015) or he shall
have no responsibility to install any bike lanes. Lastly, he requests that no bonds remain in place during
this 5 year period.

BACKGROUND:

1. The subject property is zoned Transitional Residential (TR), and is located on McCord Road
   (surrounded by Northstone Subdivision) and is identified by tax parcel # 011-331-04. The property is
   single-family residential and is approximately 94% built-out (only three lots remain) [See Exhibit # 3].

2. The property is approximately 19.69-acres and received Sketch Plan approval in 2000, with a Sketch
   Plan amendment in 2001. Preliminary Plan approval was granted in 2001. As part of Preliminary Plat
   approval, a 4 ft. bike lane was included along the frontage of McCord Road as part of the required
   road improvements, for a distance of approximately 500 feet.

3. The requirement for a bike lane on McCord Road, during initial review and approval was consistent
   with the 1999 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Bicycle Transportation Plan which – per Note # 2 of the Priority
   Bikeway Improvements Map – states “if there are suitable opportunities, bicycle improvements
   should be considered on any non-limited access thoroughfares, even if a bikeway is not designated
   on this map”. Furthermore, the need for bike lanes along McCord Road was further supported by the
   Town of Huntersville Greenway and Bikeway Master Plan Prioritized Network Concept Map (adopted
   August 6, 2007). “Bike lanes”, as defined in the 1999 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Bicycle Transportation

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   Plan are “a portion of a roadway that has been designated by striping, signing and pavement
   markings for the preferential or exclusive use of bicyclists. Bike lanes are ideal for minor
   thoroughfares (i.e. McCord Rd.) or collectors”. The provision of these lanes offers separation from the
   automobile users.

4. It is a mutual goal of all Mecklenburg County municipalities (no matter their size) to create multi-
   modal transportation facilities that will serve the needs of motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians
   equally. As is often the case, funding is not readily available to create these facilities all at once, or
   “over night”. It is only through a variety of sources, including Federal, State and Local funding, grants
   and other methods, as well as the provision of facilities by individual land owners as part of
   redevelopment projects that these transportation systems are provided. The piece-by-piece approach
   represents the most realistic method available to provide these improvements.

STAFF FINDINGS

Subdivision Ordinance Section 4.400, Standards for Granting a Variance, states that before granting a
variance, the Town Board must determine that:
    1. The difficulty or hardship would result only from these regulations and from no other cause,
       including the actions of the owner or previous owners of the property; and
        No actions by the applicant have created a difficulty or hardship and no barriers exist to
        prevent installation of the bike lanes. The applicant contends that “the requirement for a
        500 ft. bike lane at this time with no bike lane for at least one mile before and one mile
        after creates a safety hazard”[see Exhibit 1]. A 500 ft. length of bike lane would be
        sufficient for a bicyclist to enter to allow motorists to pass.
    2. (a) The difficulty or hardship is peculiar to the property in question and is not generally shared
       by other properties used for the same purposes; or
           The applicant contends that “no bike lane(s) exist along McCord Road on either side of
           the road”[see Exhibit 1]. The applicant states that a bike lane is only required along
           this property and not others, as “there is not a designated lane or trail within a three
           mile radius of this location”. While it is true that no actual bike lane facilities have been
           constructed along this stretch of McCord Road, there are two (2) nearby projects that
           were recently approved with required bike lanes – Yellow Hill Inn (located along
           McCord Rd.) and Blackwood Knoll (located on Black Farm Rd, near McCord Rd.)[see
           Exhibit 3]. The Northstone Subdivision was approved under different code
           requirements and prior to the 1999 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Bicycle Plan. Other smaller
           residential developments – which did not involve the subdivision process – are not
           required to install bike lanes (or any other road improvements). Commercial
           development projects are not required to install bike lanes, if the subdivision process
           is not involved. Since 2001, numerous residential subdivisions throughout
           Huntersville’s jurisdiction have either installed or will be required to install provisions
           for bicyclists.
        (b) The relationship of the property to natural topography or to the nature of adjoining
            properties warrants relief from the standards in question; or
           There are no issues associated with the natural topography or the nature of adjoining
           properties that would impact this project. The applicant states that “the existing road is
           narrow with no paved shoulder” and “the bank, ditch and intersection create a safety
           hazard”. Staff would offer that the bank and ditch are not relevant to the bicyclist, and
           intersections are conflict points for all modes of transportation.
        (c) The difficulty or hardship from the application of these regulations would prevent the owner
            from making a reasonable use of the property. The fact that the property could be utilized


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              more profitably with the variance than without the variance will not be considered as
              grounds for granting the variance; or
            The applicant states that with or without a variance, there will be “no effect in value of
            the property, as it (the bike lane) is within the DOT right-of-way”. Staff would offer that
            residential properties located along minor thoroughfares with – over time - complete
            bike facilities, would have increased value as a transportation and recreation option for
            its residents. The developer built 46 (of 49) single-family homes on 19.69-acres.
    (d) The granting of a variance would permit the preservation of an historic structure or site, or a
        significant natural feature.
              This standard is not applicable.

STAFF CONCLUSIONS

The provision of bike lanes along major and minor thoroughfares has been supported throughout
Huntersville’s jurisdiction since the adoption of the 1999 Charlotte-Mecklenburg Bicycle Transportation
Plan and the subsequent Town Greenway and Bikeway Plan of 2007.

As none of the required standards for granting a subdivision variance (Sub. Ord. Sec. 4.400) have been
satisfied and there is no hardship or difficulty preventing the installation of the 4 ft. bike lane, as called for
on the approved Preliminary Plan, staff does not recommend granting a variance. With regard to the
second variance request, staff sees no merit in the request and would not recommend any development
improvements be installed without financial guarantee.

The incremental provision of transportation system improvements on a project-by-project basis is
fundamental to the communities’ ability to transform a farm-to-market transportation system into a
modern multi-modal transportation system.

Exhibit 1 - Subdivision Variance Application
Exhibit 2 – Aerial photo of ArborCroft Subdivision
Exhibit 3 – Location Map




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