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SECTION 7: Subdivision Development Requirements
SECTION 7.000: Subdivision Development Requirements

CONTENTS:
Section 7.100 - Design Standards for Street
Section 7.110 - Right-Of-Way
Section 7.120 - Freeways/Expressways (New)
Section 7.130 - Arterial Street Right-Of-Way (New Streets)
Section 7.135 - Transfer of Development Rights -- R/W Dedication
Section 7.150 - Cul-De-Sac
Section 7.170 - Street Off-Sets
Section 7.180 - Block Lengths and Widths
Section 7.200 - Design Standards for Lots
Section 7.210 - Frontage on Street
Section 7.220 - Side Lines
Section 7.230 - Lot Sizes
Section 7.240 - Building Lines
Section 7.270 - Driveway Connections
Section 7.280 - Lots Subject to Flooding
Section 7.290 - Lots Within the Mountain Island Lake Watershed Protection Area
Section 7.295 - Lots Within the Lake Norman Watershed Protection Area
Section 7.300 - Design Standards for S.W.I.M. (Surface Water Improvement and Management) Stream Buffers

7.100 DESIGN STANDARDS FOR STREETS

Detailed construction standards and specifications for state standard streets are contained in the
Land Development Standards Manual. For Town Streets, the standards
of Article 5 of the Huntersville Zoning Ordinance shall control.

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7.110 RIGHT-OF-WAY

1. On proposed streets, right-of-way must be of sufficient width to accommodate the required cross
section. However, in no case will the dedicated and/or reserved right-of-way be proposed to be less
than the standards below. The Town Board, on the advice of the Town Engineer or their designee, may certify that special circumstances exist which make the dedication and/or reservation of the full right-of-way unnecessary or impractical.

Minimum R.O.W. by Street Classification

 Street Type Feet 
 Freeway or Expressway (Class I)  250-350
 Limited Access Arterial (Class II)  200
 Commercial Arterial (Class III-C)  150
 Major Arterial (Class III)  100
 Minor Arterial (Class IV)  70
 Collector (Class V)  60
 Town Streets  Varies according to the standards of Article 5 of the Huntersville Zoning Ordinance











These standards represent the normally required rights-of-way for state standard streets. Additional right-of-way may be necessary in the area of interchanges, intersections, cut/fill areas, or areas where horizontal or vertical alignments must be improved and will be determined on a case by case basis. When a subdivider elects to establish a roadway divided with a center strip or median, the right-of-way width must be at least the proposed width of the center strip or median plus 62 feet.


2. Along existing streets, neither right-of-way dedication nor reservation is required unless

(a) an existing street has a right-of-way less than 60 feet wide and will provide access to the subdivision, in which case a right-of-way up to 30 feet on each side of the centerline may be required to be dedicated; or

(b) an existing street will provide access to the subdivision and volume of traffic projected to be generated by the subdivision necessitates intersection and/or other improvement(s), in which case dedication of right-of-way sufficient for the subdivision developer to make intersection and/or other improvements to serve said subdivision may be required.
The Town Board, after consulting applicable plans and programs and after consulting with appropriate county, state, and/or federal officials, is responsible for classifying streets or segments thereof within the zoning and subdivision jurisdiction of the Town of Huntersville.

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7.120 FREEWAYS/EXPRESSWAYS (NEW)

Whenever a tract of land to be subdivided includes any part of the right-of-way of a planned freeway or extension of a freeway, as shown on the adopted Thoroughfare Plan, and whenever such a right-of-way has been further defined by acceptable locational procedures sufficient to identify properties to be affected, the right-of-way for the freeway must be reserved, platted in the location and to the width specified in the plan, and remain undeveloped pending future acquisition by the state or other governmental unit. The subdivider is responsible for the reservation of the right-of-way in accordance with the provisions of Section 8.110, Improvement Responsibility. The entire right-of-way must be shown as such on the final plat. All measurements involving minimum lot standards under this ordinance and under the zoning ordinance will be made at the edge of the full right-of-way. Right-of-way that is dedicated by the subdivider will count toward the transfer of development rights in accordance with Section 7.135.

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7.130 ARTERIAL STREET RIGHT-OF-WAY (NEW STREETS)

Whenever a tract of land to be subdivided includes any part of a planned arterial or extension of an existing arterial street shown on the adopted Thoroughfare Plan, and whenever a right-of-way for such a street has been further defined by acceptable locational procedures sufficient to identify properties to be affected, a right-of-way for the arterial street must be platted in the location and to the width specified in the plan. The subdivider is responsible for the dedication and/or reservation of the right-of-way in accordance with the provisions of Section 8.110, Improvement Responsibility. The entire right-of-way (that which has been reserved and that which has been dedicated) must be shown as such on the final plat. All measurements involving minimum lot standards under this ordinance and under the zoning ordinance will be made at the edge of the full right-of-way. Arterial Street right-of-way that is dedicated by the subdivider will count toward the transfer of development rights in accordance with Section 7.135.

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7.135 TRANSFER OF DEVELOPMENT RIGHTS ¾ R/W DEDICATION

All of the area dedicated by the developer as right-of-way for any public street may be used in the computation of development rights, but may not be used for the computation of lot area or open space, or fulfill storm water detention, or any other mandatory requirement. On-street parking which is planned, provided for, and approved will, however, be applied to the mandatory parking requirement. A developer may choose to dedicate the full right-of-way and thereby use the entire dedicated area for the density calculation.

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7.150 CUL-DE-SAC

Cul-de-sacs (streets designed to be permanently closed at one end), may not be longer than 2350 feet and must be terminated by a vehicular turnaround design as accepted by the Town Engineering Department; provided, however, that this requirement may be waived where topographical or other unusual conditions exist.

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7.170 STREET OFF-SETS

Where there is an offset in the alignment of a street across an intersection, the offset of the centerlines should not be less than 300 feet for arterials. Offsets for other street types will be determined based upon projected traffic volumes and the applicability of traffic calming measures.

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7.180 BLOCK LENGTHS AND WIDTHS

Block lengths may generally not exceed 500 feet, except as hereinafter provided. Where a longer block will reduce the number of railroad grade crossings, major stream crossings, or where longer blocks will result in an arrangement of lots and public space more consistent with Articles 5 and 7 of the Huntersville Zoning Ordinance, the Town Board may authorize greater block lengths.

7.200 DESIGN STANDARDS FOR LOTS 

7.210 FRONTAGE ON STREET

Each lot must have frontage on a street, but with the following exceptions:

.1 Any lot for which a residential use has been legally established prior to the effective date of this ordinance in accordance with provisions permitting establishment of use on a lot served by a private and exclusive recorded easement of at least 15 feet in width connecting said lot to a public street, may be used as if it abutted a street, provided that it is served by a driveway located on said easement.

.2 Any lot for which a non-residential use has been legally established prior to the effective date of this ordinance in accordance with provisions permitting establishment of use on a lot served by a private, exclusive recorded easement of at least 15 feet in width connecting said lot to a public street, may be construed in the same manner as a lot abutting a street provided that it is served with a driveway built to appropriate standards located on the permanent, recorded easement.

.3 Up to six residential lots may be served by a privately maintained easement with a minimum 20-foot right-of-way if designed according to the specifications of the Rural (R) and Transitional Residential (TR) Farmhouse Cluster development (Section 3.2.1(e)). Any lots created pursuant to Section 3.2.1(f), Conservation Subdivision, may also be served by a privately maintained easement with a minimum 20-foot right-of-way.

.4 A site specific development plan may be considered for approval in the TC, NC, NR, OPS, and TND-O districts where residential and/or non-residential structures front upon a private courtyard, carriageway, or pedestrian way, where adequate access by emergency vehicles is maintained by way of a rear alley and where the off-street placement of uses does not diminish the orientation of building fronts on the public street.

.5 A site specific development plan may be considered for approval in the Campus Institutional and Corporate Buisness Districts to permit interior lot access by private drives so long as business and emergency access is furnished to all interior building sites, and proposed buildings at the perimeter of the campus and corporate development front upon public street(s) or are buffered in accordance with this ordinance. It is intended that subdivisions be primarily served by public streets and use of private drives is minimal. Private drives may be appropriate where property configuration or environmental constrants make their use a practical alternative. Private drives shall be constructed in accordance with Commercial Street Standards as found in the Land Development Standards Manual and sidewalks shall be provided on at least one side of the private drive. See the Campus and Corporate Districts.

.6 To access a lot or lots in the Highway Commercial District, where factors beyond developer control, such as a limited access highway, an existing development, or the location of an existing intersection, prohibit completing a street connection, a private drive may be substituted for the interior street which cannot be connected to the public network.

7.220 SIDE LINES

Side lot lines shall, as nearly as practicable, be at right angles or radial to street lines. Where side lot lines intersect at the rear of the lot, the angle of intersection shall not be less than 60 degrees. The requirement of this paragraph shall not be applicable to lots in Conservation Subdivisions.

7.230 LOT SIZES

Lot dimensions and yard dimensions are controlled by the Huntersville Zoning Ordinance.

7.240 BUILDING LINES

Building lines shall be established on all lots in residential subdivisions and shall be determined on the basis of zoning district and classification of any abutting streets, existing or planned, in accordance with Section 8.15 of the Huntersville Zoning Ordinance.

7.270 DRIVEWAY CONNECTIONS

Prior to the construction of any driveway or other connection within the right-of-way of a public street, a permit must be secured from the North Carolina Department of Transportation or the Town of Huntersville, for a state or a local road respectively. However, in a residential major subdivision, access to individual lots from streets constructed as part of the subdivision shall be reviewed and approved at the time each building permit is issued and individual driveway permits will not be required on a lot by lot basis.

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7.280 LOTS SUBJECT TO FLOODING

The Land Use and Environmental Services Agency (LUESA) will determine which lots are subject to significant flooding, which will include those lots along any significant water course, whether or not the stream is enclosed with pipes or culverts, and may also include areas where it can reasonably be expected that significant overland flow of stormwater or flooding will occur. If any part of a proposed lot is subject to flooding, subdivider shall make a determination of the crest elevation of the 1% chance flood level (the "100-year flood") in accordance with generally accepted engineering practice, which is to be submitted with the seal and signature of a professional engineer to Town Engineering Department. This determination must reflect the actual conditions imposed by the completed subdivision, and must give due consideration to the effects of urbanization and obstructions.

No proposed building lot that is wholly or partly subject to flooding shall be approved unless there is established on the final plat a line representing an actual contour, as determined by field survey, at an elevation one foot above the 100-year flood crest. Such line shall be known and identified on the final plat as the "Storm Water Elevation Level" (SWEL). In addition, a "Storm Water Protection Elevation " for each lot subject to flooding shall be noted on the lot plan as determined by LUESA staff based on the "Storm Water Elevation Line" (SWEL), or for lots upstream of street crossings, the low elevation of the street plus one foot, whichever is greater.

All habitable buildings or structures shall be located outside the Storm Water Elevation Line, or the lowest usable and functional part of the structure shall not be below the Storm Water Protection Elevation. "Usable and functional part of the structure" shall be defined as being inclusive of living areas, basements, sunken dens, basement utility rooms, crawlspaces, attached carports, and mechanical appurtenances such as furnaces, air conditioners, water pumps, electrical conduits and wiring, but shall not include water lines or sanitary sewer traps, piping and clean-outs; provided, openings serving the structure are above the Storm Water Protection Elevation.

Where only a portion of a proposed lot is subject to flooding as defined herein, such lot may be approved only if there will be available for building a usable lot area of not less than 1200 square feet. The usable lot area shall be determined by deducting from the total lot area the area of all yards and setbacks required by the applicable zoning district regulations and any remaining area of the lot lying below the Storm Water Elevation Line.

During the construction of a subdivision, the developer shall maintain the streambed of each stream, creek or backwash channel contiguous to the subdivision in an unobstructed state and shall remove from the channel and bank of the stream all debris resulting from the land development process, including logs, timber, junk and other accumulations of a nature that would, in time of flood, clog or dam the passage of waters in their downstream course. Installation of appropriately sized stormwater drains, culverts, bridges or erosion control devices will not be construed as obstructions in the stream. In areas of the county that are covered by the provisions of the Floodway Regulations, the Floodway Regulations will supersede the provisions of this ordinance regarding land within the Community and FEMA Special Flood Hazard Areas.

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7.290 LOTS WITHIN THE MOUNTAIN ISLAND LAKE WATERSHED PROTECTION AREA

The purpose of the Mountain Island Lake Watershed Protection Area is to provide for the protection of public water supplies as required by the North Carolina Water Supply Watershed Protection Act and regulations promulgated thereafter.

Mountain Island Lake Watershed Protection Area is that area within Mecklenburg County which contributes surface drainage into Mountain Island Lake and which is bounded as follows: Beginning at the Mountain Island Lake Dam on the Catawba River and proceeding along the ridgeline in an easterly direction to Rozzelle's Ferry Road and proceeding thence in a south easterly direction, along Rozzelle's Ferry Road to the intersection of Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road, and thence proceeding along Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road in a northeasterly direction to the intersection of Hambright Road and thence proceeding in an easterly direction along Hambright Road to N.C. 115 and thence proceeding in a northerly direction along N.C. 115 to the intersection of N.C. 73 and thence in a westerly-southwesterly direction along N.C. 73 to the Lake Norman Dam and thence proceeding in a southerly direction along the Catawba River to the beginning point.

A map showing the Mountain Island Lake Watershed Protection Area and the subareas CA1, CA2, CA3, CA4, PA1, PA2, and PA3 is incorporated herein as Appendix A. In any event of any difference or inconsistency between the areas as depicted on the map and the definition, the map or definition which describes or depicts the greater geographical area shall control. Should these subareas be more specifically defined in the Huntersville Zoning Ordinance by use of major landmarks such as roads and property lines to adjust the subarea boundaries, the subarea boundaries as described in the Zoning Ordinance shall control over those described in this ordinance.

1. EXCEPTIONS TO APPLICABILITY.

(a) Existing development, as defined in this section, is not subject to the requirements of the Mountain Island Lake Watershed Overlay District.

(b) An existing lot owned prior to the effective date of this ordinance, regardless of whether or not a vested right has been established, may be developed for single family residential purposes subject only to the buffer requirements of sub-sections 3. or 4. of this section, whichever is applicable; however this exemption is not applicable to multiple contiguous lots under single ownership.

(c) Existing public utilities may expand without being subject to the restrictions of this part provided that:

(i) Such expansion complies with all applicable laws of the State of North Carolina and the United States of America; and

(ii) Discharges associated with the existing public utilities may be expanded, however the pollutant load shall not be increased beyond presently permitted levels.

2. DEFINITIONS.

For the purpose of this section the following terms will have the definitions indicated below.

BMP's. Best Management Practices.

A structural or non-structural management-based practice used singularly or in combination to reduce non-point source input to receiving waters in order to achieve water quality protection goals.

Non-structural BMP's.

Non-engineered methods to control the amount of non-point source pollution. These may include land-use controls and vegetated buffers.

Structural BMP's.

Engineered structures that are designed to reduce the delivery of pollutants from their source or to divert contaminants away from the water supply. Structural BMPs allowed for use under the High Density Option are those which have been approved by the North Carolina Division of Water Quality and Mecklenburg County. These are wet detention ponds, extended dry detention ponds, and grass swales.

Buffer.

A natural or vegetated area through which stormwater runoff flows in a diffuse manner so that the runoff does not become channelized, and which provides for infiltration of the runoff and filtering of pollutants. The buffer is measured landward from the normal pool elevation of impounded structures and from the bank of each side of streams or rivers.

Built-upon Area (b.u.).

Built-upon areas shall include that portion of a development project and/or lots that are covered by impervious or partially impervious cover including buildings, pavement, gravel areas (e.g. roads, parking lots, paths), recreation facilities (e.g. tennis courts), etc. (NOTE: Wooden slatted decks and the water area of a swimming pool are considered pervious.)

Critical Area.

The area adjacent to a water supply intake where risk associated with pollution is greater than from the remaining portions of the watershed. The critical area of the Mountain Island Lake Watershed Protection Area is divided into four subareas as follows:

CA1 - Lower Gar Creek.
From normal pool elevation of Mountain Island Lake extending up Gar Creek to Beatties Ford Road and to approximately the ridgeline along the north side of Gar Creek and to Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road on the south side of Gar Creek.

CA2 - Upper Gar Creek.
From Beatties Ford Road upstream along Gar Creek to the limits of the Gar Creek drainage basin and to approximately the ridgeline along either side of Gar Creek.

CA3 - McDowell Creek.
From normal pool elevation of Mountain Island Lake extending one mile upstream on McDowell Creek and to approximately the ridgeline along either side of McDowell Creek.

CA4 - Lake Front.
Extending landward one half mile from normal pool elevation along Mountain Island Lake and the Catawba River between Cowan's Ford Dam and Mountain Island Lake Dam.

Discharging Landfill.

A landfill which discharges treated leachate and which requires a National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

Existing Development.

Existing development, as defined for the purpose of this section, means projects that are built or projects that at a minimum have established a vested right under North Carolina zoning law as of the effective date of the amendment incorporating Section 7.290 into the Huntersville Subdivision Ordinance based on at least one of the following criteria:

(1) Substantial expenditures of resources (time, labor, money) based on a good faith reliance upon having received a valid local government approval to proceed with the project; or

(2) Having an outstanding valid building permit; or

(3) Having an approved site specific or phased development plan under the provisions of Section 2.2.2 of the Huntersville Zoning Ordinance.

Nonconforming Lot of Record.

A lot described by a plat or added that was recorded prior to the effective date of this ordinance (or its amendments) that does not meet the minimum lot size or other development requirements of this ordinance.

Normal Pool Elevation.

The Mountain Island Lake normal pool elevation which is at contour interval 648 feet above the Mean Sea Level, United States Geological Survey (U.S.G.S.) Datum.

Perennial Stream.

A stream or creek containing a continuous natural flow of water throughout the year except possibly under exceptionally dry conditions. They are identified on United States Geological Survey Quadrangle Maps by solid blue lines.

Protected Area.

The area adjoining and upstream of the Critical Areas and encompassing the remainder of the watershed where risk of water quality degradation from pollution is less than in the Critical Area. The Protected Area is divided into three subareas as follows:

PA1
The area extending from the outer limits of the critical areas to five hydrologic miles from the normal pool elevation and draining to Mountain Island Lake.

PA2
The area extending from the outer limit of the PA1 area where it intersects with N.C. 73 and running in a north-northeasterly direction along N.C. 73 to the intersection of I-77 and thence proceeding in a southerly direction along I-77 to the intersection of Gilead Road and thence in an easterly direction along Gilead Road to the intersection of N.C. 115 and thence in a southerly direction along N.C. 115 to the intersection of Hambright Road and thence in a westerly direction along Hambright Road to the intersection of Mt. Holly-Huntersville Road and thence in a northwesterly direction along the outer limits of the CA2 and PA1 areas to the beginning point.

PA3
The area extending from the outer limits of the PA2 area to the limits of the Mountain Island Lake Watershed.

Septic Tank System.

A ground absorption sewage disposal system consisting of a holding or settling tank and a ground absorption field.

Watershed.

The entire land area contributing surface drainage into a stream, creek, lake or other body of water.

Water Dependent Structures.

Those structures for which the use requires access or proximity to or siting within surface waters to fulfill its basic purpose, such as boat ramps, boat houses, docks, piers, bulkheads and similar structures. Ancillary facilities such as restaurants, outlets for boat supplies, parking lots, and commercial boat storage areas are not water dependent structures.

3. CRITICAL AREA DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS.

Only development activities that require an erosion/ sedimentation control plan under Mecklenburg County regulations, as may be amended from time to time, are required to meet the development standards of Section 7.290.3 of this ordinance.

For individual buildings or for development projects within the Critical Areas, the following impervious area limitations are established on a building or project basis, respectively:

 CA1  6% B.U. [1]
 CA2 12% B.U. [1]
 CA3  12% B.U. [1]
 CA4  24% B.U. [1]


[1] Residential subdivisions approved after 2/17/03 shall reserve, at minimum, 1% of the lot area but in no case less than 150 sq. ft. impervious area per lot to allow for addition of future impervious areas by homeowner/occupant

Vegetative buffers are required in the Critical Areas along the shoreline of Mountain Island Lake, measured from the normal pool elevation, and along all perennial streams, measured from the bank on each side of the stream.

 CA1  100 feet or 100 year flood plain boundary, whichever is greater 
 CA2  100 feet or 100 year flood plain boundary, whichever is greater
 CA3  100 feet or 100 year flood plain boundary, whichever is greater
 CA4 (lake shore)  100 feet


No permanent structures, impervious covers, septic tank systems or any other disturbance of existing vegetation shall be allowed within the buffer except as follows:
a. No trees larger than 2 inch caliper are to be removed except for dead or diseased trees. Undergrowth and trees less than 2 inch caliper may be removed to be replaced by an effective stabilization and filtering ground cover based upon Mecklenburg County Environmental Protection Department guidelines and as approved on a plan submitted to the Mecklenburg County Environmental Protection Department.

b. Streambank or shoreline stabilization is allowed as approved on a plan submitted to the Town Engineering Department and the Mecklenburg County Environmental Protection Department.

c. Water dependent structures and public projects such as road crossings and greenway paths are allowed where no practical alternatives exist. These activities should minimize built-upon area, direct runoff away from surface waters, and maximize the utilization of nonstructural BMP's and pervious materials.

d. The Town can require enhancement of the existing vegetation in the buffer if necessary so that the buffer can effectively perform its filtering and absorption functions based on Mecklenburg County Environmental Protection Department guidelines.
Cluster Development is allowed within the Critical Area.

4. PROTECTED AREA DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS.

Only development activities that require an erosion/sedimentation control plan under Mecklenburg County regulations, as may be amended from time to time, are required to meet the development standards of Section 7.290.4 of this ordinance.

For individual buildings or for development projects within Protected Areas 1 and 2, the following impervious area limitations are established on a building or project basis, respectively:

PA1 and PA2, low density option  24% B.U. with curb and gutter streets [1]
  36% B.U. without curb and gutter streets  [1]
 PA1 and PA2, high density option, where permitted**  70% B.U. with BMP


[1] Residential subdivisions approved after 2/17/03 shall reserve, at minimum, 1% of the lot area but in no case less than 150 sq. ft. impervious area per lot to allow for addition of future impervious areas by homeowner/occupant

 Vegetative buffers are required in the Protected Areas along all perennial streams, measured from the bank on each side of the stream.

** STRUCTURAL BMP'S. Wet detention ponds, or alternative stormwater management measures limited to extended dry detention ponds and grass swales, are required where the High Density Option is permitted within the Protected Area. Other types of Structural BMP's may also be required.

 PA1, low density option  50 feet
 PA2, low density option  30 feet; 50 feet for agricultural uses
 PA1, high density option  100 feet
 PA2, high density option  100 feet


In the PA1 and PA2 subareas non-impervious recreational development and non-impervious pedestrian trails may be allowed in the required buffer if located a minimum of 30 feet from the stream bank.

Cluster development is allowed within the Protected Area.

High density option is permitted in subareas PA1 and PA2, and shall be permitted only for such time as an interlocal agreement remains in force between the Town of Huntersville and Mecklenburg County, whereby Mecklenburg County assumes responsibility for plan review, initial inspection and approval, annual inspection and reporting, and maintenance of wet detention ponds within the jurisdiction of the Town of Huntersville, as set forth in a Storm Water Management Interlocal Agreement between the County of Mecklenburg and the Town of Huntersville.

5. POSTING OF FINANCIAL SECURITY REQUIRED

When Structural BMP's (wet detention ponds and all other BMP's) are required under the High Density Option, the approval of the High Density Development Permit will be subject to developer compliance with Section 7.200.10 subparagraph 3. of the Mecklenburg County Subdivision Ordinance, the provisions of which, including subsequent amendments, are incorporated herein.

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7.295 LOTS WITHIN THE LAKE NORMAN WATERSHED PROTECTION AREA

The purpose of the Lake Norman Watershed Overlay District is to provide for the protection of public water supplies as required by the North Carolina Water Supply Watershed Protection Act and regulations promulgated thereafter.

The Lake Norman Watershed Protection Area is that area within the jurisdiction of the Town of Huntersville which contributes surface drainage into that portion of the Catawba River known as Lake Norman and its tributaries. The Lake Norman Watershed Protection area is specifically defined on the Huntersville Zoning Maps with the designation LN-O (Lake Norman Overlay District).

1. EXCEPTIONS TO APPLICABILITY.

(a) Existing development, as defined in Section 7.290, sub-section 2., is not subject to the requirements of the Lake Norman Watershed Overlay District.

(b) An existing lot owned prior to the effective date of this ordinance, regardless of whether or not a vested right has been established, may be developed for single family residential purposes subject only to the buffer requirements of sub-section 3. of this section; however this exemption is not applicable to multiple contiguous lots under single ownership.

(c) Existing public utilities may expand without being subject to the restrictions of this part provided that:

(i) Such expansion complies with all applicable laws of the State of North Carolina and the United States of America; and

(ii) Discharges associated with the existing public utilities may be expanded, however the pollutant load shall not be increased beyond presently permitted levels.

2. DEFINITIONS.

The definitions below supplement the definitions of section 7.290, sub-section 2.

Lake Norman Watershed Critical Area

The Lake Norman Critical Area is defined as the land area which begins at the normal pool elevation of Lake Norman and extends one-half mile inland or to the ridgeline, whichever is closest, as shown more specifically on the Huntersville Zoning Maps.

Lake Norman Normal Pool Elevation

The Lake Norman normal pool elevation, which is at contour interval 760 feet above Mean Sea Level, as determined by United States Geological Survey (U.S.G.S.) Datum.

3. LAKE NORMAN CRITICAL AREA DEVELOPMENT STANDARDS

Only development activities that require an erosion/sedimentation control plan under Mecklenburg County regulations, as may be amended from time to time, are required to meet the development standards of Section 7.295.3 of this ordinance.

For individual buildings or for development projects within the Lake Norman Watershed Critical Area, the following impervious area limitations are established on a building or project basis, respectively:

CA, low density option  24% B.U. [1]
CA, high density option  50% B.U. with Structural BMP [1]


[1] Residential subdivisions approved after 2/17/03 shall reserve, at minimum, 1% of the lot area but not less than 150 sq. ft. impervious area per lot to allow for addition of future impervious areas by homeowner/occupant

 Vegetative buffers are required along the shoreline of Lake Norman measured from the normal pool elevation and along each side of all perennial streams measured from the top of stream bank. Minimum buffer widths are:

 CA, low density option 50 feet 
 CA, high density option  100 feet

No permanent structures, impervious covers, septic tank systems or any other disturbance of existing vegetation shall be allowed within the buffer except as follows:
a. No trees larger than 2 inch caliper are to be removed except for dead or diseased trees. Undergrowth and trees less than 2 inch caliper may be removed to be replaced by an effective stabilization and filtering ground cover based upon Mecklenburg County Environmental Protection Department guidelines and as approved on a plan submitted to the Mecklenburg County Environmental Protection Department.

b. Stream bank or shoreline stabilization is allowed as approved on a plan submitted to the Mecklenburg County Engineering Department and the Mecklenburg County Environmental Protection Department.

c. Water dependent structures and public projects such as road crossings and greenway paths are allowed where no practical alternatives exist. These activities should minimize built-upon area, direct runoff away from surface waters, and maximize the utilization of nonstructural BMP's and pervious materials.

d. The Town can require enhancement of the existing vegetation in the buffer if necessary so that the buffer can effectively perform its filtering and absorption functions based on Mecklenburg County Environmental Protection Department guidelines.

e. Non-impervious recreational development and non-impervious pedestrian trails are allowed in the required buffer if located a minimum of 30 feet from the stream bank.

Cluster development is allowed within the Lake Norman Critical Area.

High density option is permitted in the Lake Norman Critical Area, and shall be permitted only for such time as an interlocal agreement remains in force between the Town of Huntersville and Mecklenburg County, whereby Mecklenburg County assumes responsibility for plan review, initial inspection and approval, annual inspection and reporting, and maintenance of wet detention ponds within the jurisdiction of the Town of Huntersville, as set forth in a Storm Water Management Interlocal Agreement between the County of Mecklenburg and the Town of Huntersville.

4. POSTING OF FINANCIAL SECURITY REQUIRED

When Structural BMPs (wet detention ponds and all other BMPs) are required under the High Density Option, the approval of the High Density Development permit will be subject to developer compliance with Section 7.200.10 subparagraph 3. of the Mecklenburg County Subdivision Ordinance, the provisions of which, including subsequent amendments, are incorporated herein.

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7.300 DESIGN STANDARDS FOR S.W.I.M. (SURFACE WATER IMPROVEMENT AND MANAGEMENT) STREAM BUFFERS

1. PURPOSE.

The purpose of a stream buffer network is to filter pollutants, store floodwaters, provide habitat, and contribute to the “green infrastructure”. Stream systems are comprised of each stream and its respective drainage basin.

· Streams have the primary natural functions of conveying storm and ground water, storing floodwater, and supporting aquatic life.

· Vegetated lands adjacent to the stream channel in the drainage basin serve as “buffers” to protect the stream’s ability to fulfill its natural functions. Buffers have the primary natural functions of protecting water quality by filtering pollutants, providing intermittent storage for floodwaters, allowing channels to meander naturally, and providing suitable habitat for wildlife.

2. DEFINITIONS.

For the purposes of this section, the following words and phrases shall be defined as specified below:

Best Management Practices (BMPs)

A structural or nonstructural management based practice used singularly or in combination to reduce non-point source input to receiving waters in order to achieve water quality protection goals.

Buffer.

A vegetated area through which storm water runoff flows in a diffuse manner so that the runoff does not become channelized and which provides for infiltration of the runoff and filtering of pollutants.

Buffer Zones.

Buffer widths are measured in three (3) zones as shown below. The buffer width is measured horizontally on a line parallel to the surface water, landward from the top of the bank on each side of the stream.



Drainage Basin.

The area of land which drains to a given point on a body of water.

Floodway.

The channel of a river or other watercourse and the adjacent land areas that must be reserved in order to discharge the base flood without cumulatively increasing the water surface elevation more than the allowable surcharge (currently one foot).

Flood Fringe.

The land area located between the limits of the floodway and the maximum elevation subject to inundation by the base (1% chance) flood.

Floodplain.

The low, periodically flooded lands adjacent to rivers and lakes. For land use planning purposes, the regulatory floodplain is usually viewed as all alongside a watercourse that would be inundated by the base (1% chance) flood; the floodway plus the flood fringe.

Mitigation.

Actions taken on-site and/or off-site to offset the effects of temporary or permanent loss of a buffer.

Top of Bank.

The landward edge of the stream channel during high water, bankfull conditions at the point where water begins to overflow onto the floodplain.

3. APPLICABILITY.

(a) All properties shall comply with the buffer requirements of this Section except those which, as of the effective date of October 19, 1999, have previously secured a right to proceed by:

· Being subject to a recorded subdivision plat;

· Being subject to a subdivision sketch plan approved by the Board of Commissioners prior to the effective date of this Section;

· Being subject to a site specific development plan defined under Section 2.2.2 of these zoning regulations; or

· Having otherwise secured a vested property right under state law.

(b) Redevelopment or expansion of development projects included in a), above, shall comply with the buffer requirements of this Section, however uses and structures previously approved and constructed in a buffer may remain.

(c) A site specific development plan amended by action of the Board of Commissioners subsequent to adoption of this Section shall comply, in its amended form, with the S.W.I.M. buffer requirements, however uses and structures previously approved for construction in a buffer may remain.

(d) Where stream buffers are also required as part of the Lake Norman or Mountain Island Lake Watershed Overlay Districts, the more stringent of the stream buffer requirements shall apply.

4 BUFFER DELINEATION

S.W.I.M. Stream Buffers, throughout the jurisdiction of the Town of Huntersville shall be delineated by Mecklenburg County through its geographic information system (GIS) using the most current digital elevation model (DEM) of no greater than 10-foot cells. This stream buffer delineation including buffer widths shall be periodically updated as new data becomes available. The most recent delineation shall be provided for public use through Mecklenburg County’s website.

5. MINIMUM BUFFER WIDTHS.

All perennial and intermittent streams draining less than 50 acres shall have a minimum 30-foot vegetated buffer including a 10-foot zone adjacent to the bank. Disturbance of the buffer is allowed; however, any disturbed area must be revegetated and disturbance of the 10-foot zone adjacent to the bank shall require stream bank stabilization using bioengineering techniques as specified in the Design Manual. All perennial and intermittent streams draining greater than or equal to 50 acres and less than 300 acres shall have a 35-foot buffer with two (2) zones, including a 20-foot stream side and 15-foot upland zone. Streams draining greater than or equal to 300 acres and less than 640 acres shall have a 50-foot buffer with three (3) zones, including a 20-foot stream side, 20-foot managed use and 10-foot upland zone. Buffers for streams draining greater than or equal to 640 acres shall be a 100 feet in width or include the entire floodplain, whichever is greater. This buffer shall consist of a 30-foot stream side, 45-foot managed use and 25-foot upland zone or the entire FEMA floodplain, whichever is greater. All buffers shall be measured from the top of the bank on both sides of the stream. A summary of minimum buffer widths is provided in the table below.

Table of Minimum Buffer Widths by Basin Size and Buffer Zone

Area Designation   Stream Side Zone Managed Use Zone   Upland Zone Total Buffer Width each side of Stream   Notes
 ≤50 acres  N/A  N/A  30  30 feet   (1), (2)
 ≥50 acres  20 feet  None  15 feet  35 feet  (2)
 ≥300 acres  20 feet  20 feet  10 feet  50 feet  (2)
 ≥640 acres  30 feet  45 feet  25 feet or balance of floodplain, whichever is greater  100 feet or entire floodplain, whichever is greater  (2), (3)

Notes:
(1) All perennial and intermittent streams draining less than 50 acres shall have a minimum 30-foot vegetated buffer including a 10-foot zone adjacent to the bank. Disturbance of the buffer is allowed; however, any disturbed area must be revegetated and disturbance of the 10-foot zone adjacent to the bank shall require stream bank stabilization using bioengineering techniques as specified in the Design Manual.

(2) Buffer widths are surveyed horizontally on a line parallel to the surface water, landward from the top of the bank on each side of the stream.

(3) Floodplain and buffer calculations will be based upon the FEMA flood fringe and floodway encroachment lines, as locally adopted and as may be amended from time to time.

6. BUFFER DESCRIPTION.

Buffer function, vegetation and use vary according to the different buffer zones and are described in the following table.

Table of Buffer Treatment by Buffer Zone

  Stream Side Zone  Managed Use Zone   Upland Zone  Notes
 Function  Protect the integrity of the ecosystems  Provide natural filter; provide distance between upland development and the stream side zone  Prevent encroachment and filter runoff  
 Land Disturbance/Vegetative Requirements  Undisturbed (no cutting, clearing or grading). If existing tree density is inadequate, reforestation is required.   Limited clearing (no grading). Existing tree density must be retained to a minimum of 8 healthy trees of a minimum 6" caliper per 1000 square feet. If existing tree density is inadequate, reforestation is encouraged.   Herbaceous ground cover, including grass, is allowed; maintenance of existing forest or reforestation is encouraged. Limited grading that does not change the functionality or extent of the floodplain is permitted.   (1)
 Development Uses  Very restricted. Limited to flood control structures and bank stabilization (where permitted) as well as installation of parallel or near perpendicular (≥ 75 º) water and sewer utilities and near perpendicular road crossings (≥75º) with stabilization of disturbed areas as specified in Section 7.300,9.  Restricted. Limited to those allowed in the Stream Side Zone, as well as bike paths and greenway trails up to 10 feet in width.   Restricted. Limited to those allowed in Stream Side and Managed Use Zones  (2), (3), (4)


Notes:
(1) When reforestation of disturbed buffers is required, tree planting shall be as specified in the Land Development Standards Manual.

(2) Fill material cannot be brought into any required buffer. In the Upland Zone only, limited grading that does not change the extent or functional characteristics of the floodplain is permitted. Uses permitted in the buffer zones should be coordinated to ensure minimal disturbance of the buffer system. For example, if it is necessary to install utilities within the buffer, then if greenway trails are built they should follow these cleared areas instead of necessitating additional clearing.

(3) Notwithstanding the uses and structures permitted in the “Upland Zone”, the stricter standards of floodway regulations, if applicable, shall apply.

(4) Greenway Trails referenced in this table refer exclusively to those approved by and dedicated to the Town of Huntersville or Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Departments. Other paths or trails in the buffer shall be in accordance with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg SWIM Stream Buffer Implementation Guidelines.

7. DIFFUSE FLOW REQUIREMENT.

Diffuse flow of runoff shall be maintained in the buffer by dispersing concentrated flow and reestablishing vegetation. Techniques for providing diffuse flow are specified in the Land Development Standards Manual.

· Concentrated runoff from ditches or other manmade conveyances shall be diverted to diffuse flow before the runoff enters the buffer.

· Periodic corrective action to restore diffuse flow shall be taken by the property owner as necessary to impede the formation of erosion gullies

8. PONDS THAT INTERSECT THE STREAM CHANNEL.

Ponds that intersect the stream channel shall have the same buffers as the original stream. Buffer requirements do not apply to wet ponds used as structural BMPs.

9. BUFFER DELINEATION.

The following buffer delineations are required:

a) Buffer boundaries including all buffer zones must be clearly delineated on all site-specific plans for Board of Commissioner approval, on all construction plans, including grading and clearing plans, erosion and sediment control plans, and site plans.

b) Buffer boundaries including all buffer zones must be clearly marked on-site prior to any land disturbing activities. Where existing trees are to be preserved in a buffer zone, limits of grading shall maintain a minimum 20’ separation from the base of each tree on the upland side of the buffer.

c) The outside boundary of the buffer must be permanently marked on each parcel following the completion of grading activities and prior to occupancy.

d) Separate buffer zones must be permanently marked at highway stream crossings.

e) Buffer boundaries including all buffer zones as well as all buffer requirements must be specified on the record plat, on individual deeds, and in property association documents for lands held in common.


10. BUFFER IMPACTS PERMITTED UNDER SECTION 7.300.
The following buffer impacts are permitted, but design and construction shall comply with the specifications provided in the Land Development Standards Manual and/or Design Manual for stabilization of disturbed areas to minimize negative effects on the quality of surface waters.

· Near perpendicular (75° or greater) road crossings for connectivity or transportation links where the Town of Huntersville has granted site plan approval.

· Near perpendicular (75° or greater) utility crossings as approved by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities.

· Parallel water and sewer utility installation as approved by Utilities, where a logical and appropriate basis for the impact is demonstrated, where disturbance of the Stream Side Zone is minimized to the maximum extent practicable, and where guidelines for restoring vegetation within buffers disturbed as a result of parallel utility installation are met. These guidelines are specified in the Land Development Standards Manual.

· Public paths and trails parallel to the creek outside the Stream side Zone and near perpendicular stream crossings in any zone. Pathways must use existing and proposed utility alignments or previously cleared areas and minimize tree cutting to the maximum extent practicable. To the extent possible, pathways shall preserve existing drainage patterns and avoid drainage structures that concentrate storm water.

· Incidental drainage improvements/repairs for maintenance.

· Individual pedestrian paths connecting homeowners to the stream in the form of narrow, pervious footpaths with minimal tree disturbance.

· New domesticated animal trails (farming) where existing trails are lost as a result of action beyond the farmer’s control. Stream crossings should be constructed to minimize impacts to the Stream Side Zone and be maintained with fencing perpendicular to and through the buffer to direct animal movement.

· Mitigation approved by a state or federal agency acting pursuant to Sections 401 or 404 of the federal Clean Water Act.

11. APPEALS AND VARIANCES.

a) An appeal to reverse or modify the order, decision, determination, or interpretation of the Zoning Administrator shall comply with the procedures and standards of Section 4.000 of these regulations as well as the requirements of the Huntersville Zoning Ordinance

b) Special Variance Provisions/Mitigation Techniques. 

· When a difficulty or hardship would result from adherence to the buffer width requirements and/or buffer treatment standards, a petition for variance may be filed with the Huntersville Planning Staff in compliance with the procedures of Section 4.300.

· The Standards for Granting a Variance, as set out in Section 4.400 of these regulations shall be met. Site specific mitigation plans using the techniques below, and approved by the designated agency, shall constitute conditions relating to the intent and standards of this ordinance, and may be attached to variance approval by the Town Board. Specifications for these mitigation techniques are provided in the Land Development Standards Manual. The techniques below are not construed to offset the requirement of Section7.300 6. for diffuse flow.

(1) Installation of Structural BMPs. The installation of an on-site structural BMP designed to achieve specified pollutant removal targets will allow for all proposed stream buffer impact on the specific site. The BMP must remain outside of the Stream Side Zone and Managed Use Zone. A detailed BMP design plan must be submitted to the Mecklenburg County Department of Environmental Protection for approval based on specifications contained in the Land Development Standards Manual. This plan must also include a long-term maintenance strategy for the BMP, complete with the establishment of adequate financing to support the proposed maintenance practices.

(2) Stream Restoration. The owner may restore and preserve the buffer area on any stream of equivalent or greater drainage area the condition of which is determined to be qualified for restoration by the Mecklenburg County Department of Environmental Protection on a 1:1 basis in linear feet of stream. This restoration shall include stream bank improvements and Stream Side and Managed Use Zone re-vegetation, in accordance with the Land Development Standards Manual and receive approval by Mecklenburg County Department of Environmental Protection.

(3) Stream Preservation. The owner may purchase, fee simple, other stream segments at equivalent or greater drainage area on a 1:1 linear foot basis and convey fee simple and absolute title to the land to the Town of Huntersville, Mecklenburg County, or conservation trust, with a plan approved by the Mecklenburg County Department of Environmental Protection.

(4) Wetlands Restoration. On a 2:1 acreage basis for disturbed stream and buffer area (2 acres of wetland for each acre of disturbed area), the owner may provide a combination of the preservation and/or restoration of wetlands with protective easements and the implementation of structural or non-structural BMPs to achieve specific pollutant removal targets within the impacted area. Restoration plan must be approved by the Mecklenburg County Department of Environmental Protection.

(5) Bottom Land Hardwood Preservation. On a 2:1 acreage basis for impacted stream and buffer area 2 acres of bottomland hardwood for each acre of disturbed area), the owner may provide a combination of the preservation of existing bottom land hardwood forest or other specifically approved natural heritage area by conservation easement or other legal instrument, and the implementation of structural or non-structural BMPs to achieve specific pollutant removal targets within the impacted area. Plan to be approved by Mecklenburg County Department of Environmental Protection.

(6) Controlled Impervious Cover for Disturbance landward of Stream Side Zone. The owner may commit to, and provide, a specific site development plan for the parcel with requested buffer disturbance. The plan shall limit overall site impervious cover to less than or equal to 24%. Preservation of the Stream Side Zone is still required. Plan to be approved by Mecklenburg County Department of Environmental Protection.

(7) Open Space Development. The submission of a site-specific development plan that preserves 50% of the total land area as undisturbed open space. Plan to be approved by Mecklenburg County Department of Environmental Protection.

(8) Mitigation Credits: The purchase of mitigation credits through the Stream Restoration Program on a 1:1 basis, utilizing linear feet of stream impacted and the prevailing rate of purchase as established by the Land Development Standards Manual. Mitigation credits purchased under any other program (i.e., U.S. Army Corp of Engineers) shall not cover this requirement unless the issuing agency agrees to relinquish the funds to the appropriate local government agency.

(9) Alternative mitigation. The list of mitigation techniques shall not prevent the creative development of alternative mitigation plans that achieve the purposes of this section.

12. POSTING OF FINANCIAL SECURITY REQUIRED.
 
When structural BMPs (set detention ponds and other BMPs) are approved for mitigation of a buffer disturbance, the approval will be subject to the owner filing a surety bond or letter of credit or making other financial arrangements which are acceptable to the Mecklenburg County Department of Environmental Protection, in a form which is satisfactory to the County Attorney, guaranteeing the installation and maintenance of the required structural BMPs until the issuance of certificates of occupancy for seventy-five percent (75%) of all construction which might reasonably be anticipated to be built within the area which drains into the BMPs, allowing credit for improvements completed prior to the submission of the final plat. At such time that this level of occupancy is achieved, written notice thereof must be submitted by the owner to the Mecklenburg County Department of Environmental Protection. The owner must also verify the adequacy of the maintenance plan for the BMPs, including the necessary financing to support the proposed maintenance practices. The Mecklenburg County Department of Environmental Protection will inspect the structural BMPs and verify the effectiveness of the maintenance plan; if both are found to be satisfactory, the department will notify the owner within 30 days of the date of notice.

13. MAINTENANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR STRUCTURAL BMP’S – CIVIL PENALTIES.

Maintenance of all structural BMPs will be the responsibility of the property owner or his designee. Any person who fails to maintain the required BMPs in accordance with the approved maintenance plan will be subject to a civil penalty of not more than $5000. Each day that the violation continues shall constitute a separate violation. No penalties shall be assessed until the person alleged to be in violation has been notified in writing of the violation by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, or by other means which are reasonably calculated to give actual notice. The notice shall describe the nature of the violation with reasonable particularity, specify a reasonable time period within which the violation must be corrected, and warn that failure to correct the violation within the time period will result in assessment of a civil penalty or other enforcement action.

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