With new industry and retail developments in the wings, the Erwin Planning Commission sat down Wednesday for a preliminary brainstorming session on design guidelines to govern how the town will look as the anticipated growth comes to fruition.
Town Recorder Glenn Rosenoff said each of several planning studies conducted over the past two years have indicated the town should focus on its corridors.
Most recently, he said a retailer pursuing a location along North Industrial Drive off Second Street asked if the town had facade guidelines. Without those guidelines in place, Rosenoff said all he could tell the company was what the town would like.
Rosenoff said the town went through similar negotiations several years with ago with a national pharmacy chain that initially matched its exterior brick and roof color to the historic CSX trail depot that serves as Erwin’s public library. But after some time, he said, the pharmacy’s corporate owners updated the building without those features.
The Planning Commission mapped out out nine major traffic arteries into town where growth is expected, including the Second Street and Harris Hollow corridors off Interstate 26, Main Avenue north to the town limit, Jackson Love Highway and Temple Hill Road near the new Unicoi County Hospital.
Using Johnson City’s Corridor and Design overlay districts as an example, Rosenoff said similar overlays could be put in place in Erwin with a few tweaks unique to the town to be determined by Planning Commission and ultimately by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
Wednesday’s Planning Commission workshop also included discussions of amendments to make the town’s business and industrial zoning district ordinances more definitive.
Alderman Mark Lefever said, “Not to put the cart before the horse,” it would be wise for the Planning Commission and Board of Mayor and Aldermen to sit down together to determine what everyone wants in design regulations.
Rosenoff said the joint meeting will be the next step.
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