4.0 Significant Environmental Issues
As a rapidly developing community that is expected to continue to exhibit a strong growth pattern over the next 20 years, the Town must be cognizant of actual or potential environmental issues that may arise. One such issue relates to lighting. Excessive night-time lighting can have negative environmental (e.g. disruption of habitat) as well as social and economic (e.g. reduction in privacy and loss of property value) impacts. While the Town’s current lighting standards are intended to minimize these impacts, it will be important to monitor and adjust requirements over time to ensure that these impacts do not worsen and, in fact, are reduced where possible.
4.2 Air Quality
Air quality will continue to be a major concern for the Town of Huntersville through 2030. Currently, the Town, situated within the Charlotte Metropolitan region, is located in a “non-attainment” area for air quality. According to the most recent data compiled by the “Mecklenburg-Union Metropolitan Planning Organization (MUMPO)” - the regional agency responsible for monitoring compliance with Federal and State air quality standards - the primary source of air pollutants continues to be the automobile.
Alternatives to automobile use (i.e. walking, bicycling, mass transit) provide excellent opportunities to reduce auto emissions. Investments in sidewalks, greenway trails, bus and rail transit, as well as improved connectivity of the Town’s street network to better integrate residential, commercial and recreational land uses will all help to improve air quality in Huntersville.
4.3 Waste Disposal
The Town of Huntersville has taken an aggressive stance toward the reduction of both residential and non-residential waste that is generated within its jurisdiction. An enhanced recycling program, yard waste composting, and appliance pickup (as well as participation in and support for other efforts to safely dispose of harmful products, along with stream and road cleanup efforts) are all important to maintaining a healthy environment. Several inactive landfills are located in Huntersville, including the Griffin Landfill which includes a “capped” household waste site, as well as an active commercial/construction debris site.
Continued monitoring of groundwater and air quality impacts at active and inactive landfill sites are essential. Where opportunities exist for converting former or current landfills to productive (e.g. recreational) uses, they should be pursued. Harnessing methane gas from landfill sites is another option that may offer beneficial and productive reuse of these sites.
4.4 Alternative Energy
In 2009, Huntersville adopted regulations that would permit Wind and Solar Energy Facilities. Solar panels are now permitted in all residential and non-residential zoning districts, subject to specific requirements. Wind Energy facilities are permitted in both residential and non-residential districts, subject to setback restrictions for facilities adjacent to occupied structures and minimum lot size requirements for minor (10 acres) and major (30 acres) facilities.