The Town of Huntersville features an abundance of natural resources and environmental features, along with scenic and cultural assets, that serve to define the community’s character and therefore, require special attention to ensure their preservation and enhancement (see Figure E-1, Map E-1).
Figure E-1 - Latta Plantation
Huntersville has for many years placed a strong emphasis on establishing environmental protection measures, such as “Low Impact Design” (L.I.D) water quality standards, tree preservation, open space standards and other “smart growth” design principles such as mixed-use and cluster development to reduce the effects of growth and development on the natural environment.
Map E-1 - Protected Conserved & Publicly Owned Lands
In addition to development standards aimed at protecting the environment, a significant portion of the Town’s land area is under private conservation easements or is publicly owned open space (park or other).
In particular, Mecklenburg County has acquired large tracts of land in the western area of Huntersville in order to protect Mountain Island Lake and the water intake for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities water plant located just south of Huntersville. The extent of this land can be seen in Map E-1.
2030 Community Plan -Resident Survey Results
Results of the “2030 Community Plan -Resident Survey” reflect strong support for preservation of the Town’s rural areas, balanced by a development pattern that limits environmental impact, including the use of development incentives and building design that enhances and complements the Town’s rural areas. Residents also strongly support the use of alternative energy sources for existing and new development and the redevelopment of older structures in an “environmentally friendly” manner. These sentiments are best captured in the following survey response:
As Huntersville continues to grow, the challenge will be to balance the preservation of its natural environment and resources with the growth and development that will occur over the next 20 years. The success of this balancing effort will, in large part, determine the character of Huntersville for the next generation.
91% of survey respondents “Support development that promotes economic growth, environmental protection and high quality of life (i.e. “sustainable” development).
1.1. Existing Environmental Features
In 2004, a Natural Resource Inventory Map was prepared for the Town. This map identified sensitive environmental areas such as water features (streams, lakes, etc.), steep slopes, wetlands and floodplains. Map E-2 displays streams and water bodies in Huntersville.
This inventory map is an important tool both for identifying areas that are candidates for preservation and/or special protection and to guide growth to areas that are suitable and appropriate for development. The data displayed on this map is useful in guiding new development proposed in Huntersville and should continue to be used for this purpose and others as they may arise.
Map E-2 - Streams & Water Bodies
1.2. Protected Land
A large portion of Huntersville’s total land area (approximately 15%) is comprised of either privately conserved or publicly owned protected or park land. Map E-1 identifies these areas. Table E-1 shows the type and acreage of protected, conserved and park land.
Table E-1 - Protected/Conserved & Publicly-Owned Lands
|Land Type||Size (Acres)|
| Protected (Public Nature Preserves and Open Space)|| 4,787|
| Conserved (Private)|| 648|
| Parks|| 510|
| Total|| 5,945|
Protected land is property which has some type of designation which would prohibit or constrain the type or extent of development that could occur on that property. Examples would include land located within one of several nature preserves (e.g. Latta Plantation). The largest tracts of protected land are found in the Town’s “Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ),” primarily within the various nature preserves, located within Huntersville. A total of 4,787 acres of protected land is located in Huntersville. Map E-1 shows protected land in dark green color. Conserved land is another category of open space which serves a valuable role in the preservation and conservation of Huntersville’s natural resources and scenic views.
Currently, all of the conserved land in Huntersville falls under the jurisdiction of the Catawba Land Conservancy Trust, a private, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to set aside large tracts of land for open space preservation. The mechanism used to accomplish this mission is through the use of “Conservation Easements,” which impose long-term development restrictions on property in exchange for a reduction in taxes paid. Several property owners have taken advantage of this program. A total of 648 acres is currently classified as conserved land in Huntersville. Map E-1 shows conserved land in light yellow color.
Park land is the final category of land and includes county and town owned parks and open space and totals approximately 510 acres. Map E-1 shows conserved land in light green color.