City approves design guidelines

by Sarah Melton

MOUNT HOLLY – Mount Holly City Council approved guidelines for residential and commercial growth throughout the city at its meeting Monday, Nov. 8.

Before approving them, the council held a public hearing on the guidelines, which will apply to newly built single-family homes and commercial buildings within the city limits and the city’s extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction.

Barbara Lawrence said the guidelines will attract quality developers.

“Even with a franchise, you set standards for them, and they are glad to have them,” she said. “If you don’t have them, the franchise will do cookie cutter” work.

City Planning Commission members Jeff Meadows and Bill Gary spoke in favor of the guidelines. City staff had worked hard to make sure the guidelines are not too restrictive, they said.

“The planning board has not considered the matter lightly,” Gary said. “We have talked to numerous businesses, and every business we’ve talked to, when we mention the proposed guidelines, they say, ‘This is no problem.’ In fact, they prefer it because it helps protect their investment.”

The approved residential guidelines are as follows:

• Façade materials will be made of wood clapboard, wood shingle, wood drop siding, wood board and batten, brick, stone, masonry, stucco or an approved vinyl siding.

• Garden walls in the front yard will be constructed of wood, wrought iron or plastic.

• Fences in the front and side yard will be constructed of wood, wrought iron or plastic.

• Fences in the rear yard will be made of chain link, wrought iron, plastic or wood.

• Roofs will be clad in wood shingles, standing seam metal, terne, slate or asphalt shingles.

• Accessory buildings greater than 300 square feet will be made of materials similar to the principal structure.

• Roofs will be symmetrical gables or hips with no pitch restrictions.

• All new construction and additions must be consistent with surrounding homes and setbacks.

• Orientation must remain consistent with that of surrounding homes.

• In all new home construction, builders must pick at least five of the following architectural features: dormers; gables; front porch of at least 50 square feet; double garage doors must have two single doors when facing a front street; eaves; off-sets in building face or roof; window trim; bay windows; balconies; pillars, posts or columns.

Commercial guidelines include:

• Roofs shall be in simple forms, such as hip, flat, gable to front or gable to side and avoid excessive articulation.

• The color of roof stacks, flashing vents, power exhaust fans and metal chimney caps will blend with roof colors.

• Façade and roof colors are limited to low reflective earth tone, muted, subtle or neutral colors. Building trim may feature brighter colors as an accent material only. Fluorescent, day-glow or neon colors are prohibited.

• Exterior metal or aluminum siding on buildings are prohibited in commercial zoning districts.

• Vinyl siding is discouraged but may be appropriate for some buildings.

• Parking will be placed to the side of rear of the building. Drive-through service windows must go behind the building.

For more information, call the Mount Holly Planning and Zoning office at 704-827-3931.

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