Section 6.300 - Sketch Plan Required


1. Prior to the filing of an application for approval of a major subdivision Preliminary Plan, a Sketch Plan shall be submitted to the Planning Director and any Designated Administrative Agent for review. When submitted, this Sketch Plan shall be on a topographical map showing original contours at intervals of not less than four feet highlighting slopes over 25% and existing tree lines. It should show in sketch form the proposed layout of streets, lots, and other features in relation to existing conditions. It should include the following information:

1. the boundary lines of the property being subdivided;

2. water courses on the land to be subdivided;

3. the location, names, and rights-of-way of any existing streets on or within 300 feet of the land to be subdivided;

4. the location of all property lines which intersect the boundaries of the property being subdivided; the zoning district of each adjacent property;

5. rough finished grades, the location of proposed streets, lots, parks or other open spaces, reservations, building lines, street cross-sections, number and type of buildings, and the location of any building restriction flood lines required by Section 7.280;

6. zoning information for the proposed project site;

7. proposed front, rear, and side yard dimensions for each building type along each street type;

8. for projects within a regulated watershed protection area, the location of required buffers and high density option detention, if applicable;

9. the location of general buffers or screens required for the project area, as a whole;

10. the scale of the plan, which shall not be smaller than 100 feet to the inch; north point; date;

11. a small scale vicinity map.

12. information necessary to evaluate the proposed development site for compliance with the water quality standards of Section 8.17 of the Huntersville Zoning Ordinance and the Performance Criteria as detailed in Section 9 of the Huntersville Water Quality Design Manual. Further, the Site Evaluation Tool (SET) output shall be submitted for each proposed development site. Section 9 of the Huntersville Water Quality Design Manual contains detailed information concerning the submission requirements for SET.

13.     Traffic Impact Assessments; Physical Analysis.

(a)    a Traffic Impact Assessment for certain subdivisions, as required by Article 14 of the Town Zoning Ordinance, which is hereby incorporated by this reference.

(b)    for developments of twenty (20) or more residential units or equivalent traffic generation a physical analysis (type of units expected, including number of bedrooms, projected values, size and timing of phases, etc.).    

14. An "Existing Features (Site Analysis) Plan" shall be submitted as part of the sketch plan application and for Farmhouse Cluster developments in order to determine significant features to be preserved. It is recommended a pre-application meeting with the administrator be held to review the Existing Features Plan prior to submission of the sketch plan. The Existing Features (Site Analysis) Plan analyzes each site’s special features, as they form the basis of the design process for open space lands, building locations, street alignments, and lot lines. Detailed requirements for Existing Features Plans at the minimum must include:

(a) the location and area calculations of constraining features including wetlands, slopes over 25%, watercourses, intermittent streams and floodways, SWI.M. buffers (outside of floodways), watershed buffers, and all rights-of-way and easements (current and future);

(b) the location of significant features such as woodlands, tree lines, specimen and heritage trees, open fields or meadows, scenic views into or out of the property, watershed divides and drainage ways; existing structures, cemeteries, roads, tracks and trails; significant wildlife habitat; prime agricultural farmland; historic, archeological and cultural features listed (or eligible to be listed) on national, state or county registers or inventories; and aquifers and their recharge areas;

(c) the location of existing or planned utility easements (above and below ground) to include, but not limited to power/transmission, water, sewer, gas, phone, and cable;

(d) a topographical map showing original contours at intervals of not less than four feet and existing tree lines;

2. The Existing Features (Site Analysis) Plan shall identify areas to be preserved as described in Section 7.12 of the Huntersville Zoning Ordinance. These areas comprise the development’s proposed open space, the location of which shall be consistent with the locational design criteria listed in Section 7.12 of the Huntersville Zoning Ordinance. The Existing Features (Site Analysis) Plan shall form the basis for the conceptual Sketch Plan, which shall show the tentative location of buildings, streets, lot lines and greenway lands in new subdivisions, according to the four-step design process described below. 

3. Four-Step Process: Within the Rural and Transitional zoning district, each Sketch Plan shall follow a four-step design process as described below. When the conceptual Sketch Plan is submitted, applicants shall be prepared to demonstrate to the town that these four design steps were followed by their site designers in determining the layout of their proposed streets, house lots, and open space.

(a) Designating the Open Space: During the first step all potential preservation areas are identified, using the Existing Features (Site Analysis) Plan. Areas to be designated should consist of wetlands, floodways, flood fringe, and significant trees as well as sensitive and noteworthy natural, scenic and cultural resources on the property.

(b) Location of House Sites: During the second step, potential house sites are tentatively located. Because the proposed location of houses within each lot represents a significant decision with potential impacts on the ability of the development to meet the evaluation criteria contained in Section 7.13 of the Huntersville Zoning Ordinance, subdivision applicants shall identify tentative house sites on the conceptual Sketch Plan.

(c) Street and Lot Layout: The third step consists of aligning proposed streets to provide vehicular access to each house in the most reasonable and economical way. When lots and access streets are laid out, they shall be located in a way that avoids or at least minimizes adverse impacts on both the Primary and Secondary Conservation Areas. To the greatest extent practicable, wetland crossings shall be strongly discouraged.

(d) Lot Lines: The fourth step is simply to draw in the lot lines where applicable.


A sketch plan shall not be required for a Multi-building site or a Minor Subdivision, except for Section 6.300(1)(14) and Section 6.300(3), which are required for Farmhouse Cluster developments.


To offer property owners an incentive to maintain land in the Open Space zoning district in a largely undeveloped and rural condition, conservation subdivisions as defined in the Huntersville Zoning and Subdivision Ordinances are eligible for a streamlined approval process. Compliance with the requirements below, and with Section 3.2.1(f) of the zoning ordinance, shall entitle the subdivider to choose to divide the property by deed, as a metes and bounds subdivision, or by final plat according to the requirements of subdivision ordinance Section 6.600. 

1. Documents prepared by the property owner in association with an authorized conservation organization that have resulted in the grant of an irrevocable conservation easement will be accepted in lieu of the sketch plan requirements of the preceding Sections 6.300 and 6.310.

2.    The submitted documents must show that the following conditions have been met:

(a)    An irrevocable conservation easement held by a conservation organization has been recorded on the tract(s) to be subdivided; documentation of the easement includes a boundary description of the area subject to the conservation easement. 

(b) Limits on location and extent of land disturbance and building construction have been set out in the conservation easement(s), which at a minimum preserve the rural appearance of the land when viewed from public roads and from abutting properties.

(c) Treatment of floodplain(s) and required water quality buffers, as described in the conservation easement(s), conform to the minimum standards of the Huntersville Zoning and Subdivision ordinances.

(d) The proposed subdivision conforms to the minimum project size of 40 acres and the maximum gross density of one dwelling unit per 20 acres.

(e) All parcels within the conservation subdivision have been provided with permanent access by way of public road frontage or a permanent 20-foot wide access easement that connects to a public right-of-way. Landlocked parcel(s) are not created.

(f) Where the parent tract(s) abuts or includes a segment of a thoroughfare that is shown on the adopted thoroughfare plan and for which an engineered alignment has been selected, any right of way reservation required by the subdivision regulations has been made, either by the filing of a deed or the filing of a plat map.


A sketch plan shall not be required for divisions of land qualifying for Expedited Subdivision Review.


1. Upon submission, the Planning Director and any Designated Administrative Agent shall have fifteen (15) working days to review and comment on the Sketch Plan. A technically deficient sketch plan shall be returned to the subdivider with comments Once final adjustments are made by the applicant to address staff comments and minimum submission requirements are met, the sketch plan; shall be forwarded by the staff to the Planning Board to place on the Planning Board’s agenda for their next scheduled meeting. Mailed notice about the request shall be sent to all owners of property within 250 feet of proposed subdivisions prior to the Planning Board Meeting. Prior to the Planning Board meeting, the subdivider must file with the Planning Department a written report of at least one community meeting held by the subdivider. The community meeting shall not be held on regularly scheduled Town Board and Planning Board meeting nights. Notice of such a meeting shall be given to all of the following using the parcel ownership information listed in the current Mecklenburg County tax records:

a. Owner of each property petitioned for subdivision

b. Owner of each abutting property

c. Owner of each property within 250 feet of the petitioned property

d. Owner of each property directly across a street, easement, or right-of-way, public or private, from the petitioned property

e. Owner of each property across a street, easement, or right-of-way, and within 250 feet of the right-of-way boundary opposite the petitioned property

f. Contact person for each neighborhood association, property owner association, and homeowner association registered with the Town Planning Department that has jurisdiction over property within 2000 feet of any portion of the subdivision site (distance scaled on a Town of Huntersville or Mecklenburg County official map).

g. The report shall include, among other things, a listing of those persons and organizations contacted about the meeting and the manner and date of contact, the date, time, and location of the meeting, a roster of the persons in attendance at the meeting, a copy of any materials presented at the meeting, a summary of issues discussed at the meeting, including changes suggested by the participants and a description of any changes to the subdivision petition made by the petitioner as a result of the meeting. In the event the subdivider has not held at least one meeting pursuant to this paragraph, the subdivider shall file a report documenting efforts that were made to arrange such a meeting and stating the reasons such a meeting was not held. The adequacy of a meeting held or report filed pursuant to this paragraph shall be considered by the Town Board but shall not be subject to judicial review.

If, however, a sketch plan shows only minor revisions (see 3.100.11) to a sketch plan or is consistent with or shows minor changes to a conditional zoning district plan(s) approved by the Huntersville Board of Commissioners and remaining in effect on all of the property subject to the sketch plan submittal, then the Planning Director or staff under his direction is authorized to approve the sketch plan, approve with conditions, or deny the plan. Administrative decisions to deny approval of a sketch plan may be appealed to the Huntersville Board of Commissioners.

2. Town staff shall prepare a written report setting forth the proposed findings concerning the application's compliance with applicable regulations. If the staff report proposes a finding or conclusion that the application fails to comply with applicable regulations, it shall identify the requirement in question and specifically state supporting reasons for the proposed findings or conclusions.

3. Sketch Plan documents shall be submitted in accordance with published review schedules in order to be placed on the applicable Planning Board or Town Board agenda.

4. The Planning Board shall have forty-five (45) consecutive days from their first meeting to review and make a recommendation to the Town Board on the Sketch Plan. However, the developer may request one additional regular Planning Board meeting to address any issues raised, subject to approval by the Planning Board.  The Planning Board shall report to the Board of Commissioners whether it concurs in whole or in part with the staff's proposed findings, and to the extent there are differences the Planning Board shall propose its own recommendations and the reasons therefore. In response to the Planning Board's recommendations, the applicant may modify his application prior to submission to the Town Board, and the staff may likewise revise its recommendations.

5. A Sketch Plan subdivision hearing will be conducted as a quasi-judicial hearing before the Town Board. The applicant has the burden of producing competent, material, and substantial evidence establishing that the proposed subdivision will comply with all of the applicable standards which apply. The burden of producing competent, material, and substantial evidence establishing the proposed subdivision should be denied for any of the reasons set forth in these regulations rests on the party or parties urging that the requested Sketch Plan should be denied. In considering whether to approve an application for a subdivision Sketch Plan, the Town Board shall proceed according to the following format:

(a) the Board shall consider whether the application is complete. If no member moves that the application be found incomplete (specifying either the particular type of information lacking or the particular requirement with respect to which the application is incomplete) then this shall be taken as an affirmative finding by the Board that the application is complete;

(b) the Board shall consider whether the application complies with all of the applicable requirements. Separate votes may be taken with respect to each requirement not met by the application. If the Town Board concludes that all applicable requirements are met, it shall approve the Sketch Plan. If the Board concludes that the application fails to comply with one (1) or more of the applicable requirements, it shall adopt a motion to deny the application for one (1) or more of the reasons set forth within this ordinance. Such a motion shall propose specific findings, based upon the evidence submitted, justifying such a conclusion. 

If the Board concludes that the application fails to comply with one (1) or more of the applicable requirements, it shall adopt a motion to deny the application for one (1) or more of the reasons set forth within this ordinance. Such a motion shall propose specific findings, based upon the evidence submitted, justifying such a conclusion. 

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