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Kannapolis firm presents updated Landis land use plan, development ordinance

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

LANDIS — Kannapolis-based planning firm N-Focus presented Landis aldermen Wednesday with an overview of its new land development ordinance and comprehensive land use plan.

Town Manager Diane Seaford said N-Focus was hired about a year ago to provide planning services for the town and will continue for the foreseeable future. Several months ago, the firm was contracted to develop the town’s comprehensive land use plan and its development ordinances to clean up many inconsistencies and comply with state law. Doing so also allows the town to apply for numerous federal and state grants and protects the town’s overall vision for the future.

While the town’s comprehensive land use plan shows how Landis wishes to look long term, the unified development ordinance, as N-Focus President Richard Flowe explained, lists the specifications for how to get there.

The plan lays out eight objectives aimed at attracting, growing and retaining economic opportunities for commercial and residential developments, with policies and suggestions to reach them. Due to the size and nature of the community, other goals include keeping the “small-town feel” and remaining family-oriented.

Flowe said he took a “common sense” approach to implement a more robust establishment of districts and land use tables, more uniformity in setbacks in residential districts, the creation of open space for new neighborhoods and an increased focus on the type, scope and scaling of buildings.

Flowe said he studied the character of Landis to determine six primary districts that reflect the area they cover, including residential, commercial, institutional, employment, rural and other. Residential districts are broken down even further to provide guidance for single-family, mixed use and Main Street residential developments. Commercial districts are split into the U.S. Highway 29 area as well as the Interstate 85 area and include vehicle services and repair businesses and Main Street businesses.

Further, institutional districts include civic buildings like schools, churches and parks, while examples of employment districts include industrial facilities and a heavy industry overlay to protect the community from harmful substances.

Additionally, the plan provides guidance for rural development related to agricultural or mini farms.

During the presentation, Flowe outlined key concerns or desires that are likely to be brought to the town from future developers. For example, the new plan provides guidance for both low-density and high-density developments, an accessible common open space plan and appropriate and attractive streetscape measures.

Flowe made changes to the town’s calculations for required open space percentage, maximum lot size and minimum lot widths for residential developments. Those changes increase the measurements for town rights-of-way and rids the town of various easements being “slapped on properties” due to inconsistent standards. Additionally, it ultimately makes the process cheaper and provides more open space.

Flowe presented Mayor Meredith Smith with a certificate for two years of administrative support in implementing and becoming familiar with the new policies, free of charge. Additionally, Flowe vowed to make any necessary changes to the ordinances’ language if future state legislation contradicts with the new draft.

Flowe told the Post he is currently assisting the town of Spencer with its development ordinances. In 2019, the firm put the city of Salisbury’s ordinances “under a stress test,” which led to the recommendation of an updated comprehensive plan and a clean-up of its ordinances.

The town will hold a public legislative hearing to adopt the UDO and land use plan during its May 10 board of aldermen meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. The full plan can be viewed on the town’s website at townoflandis.com. Flowe noted the topic most frequently of interest to homeowners appears in article 2.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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