Mixed-Use Planned Development Zoning & LED Lighting 2013 - 2014
Hickory Creek embarked on a project several years ago to plan the creation and future development of a Town Center for Hickory Creek. Inclusive and representative of all stakeholders in the Town, that endeavor was bold and forward-looking. Its outcome is reflected in the form of a Mixed-use Town Center Concept Plan, Mixed-use Planned Development Zoning Ordinance draft, and related Mixed-use Sub-districts. Unfortunately, several events, including the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, have significantly delayed the developer’s acquisition of a big box retailer that is needed to anchor that development. In the interim, we have been in ongoing discussions with a Hickory Creek landowner to explore an alternative path to begin Mixed-use Planned Development in the Town.
The landowners have approximately 20 acres just south of, and adjacent to, the area that is planned as our Town Center. It was during these ongoing discussions that they agreed in principle to apply for a similar, but revised version of the Mixed-use Planned Development Zoning Ordinance draft we developed. This revised zoning would begin Mixed-use development in Hickory Creek and establish a southern edge for the commercial heart of our town.
As part of the MU PD Zoning Ordinance, we are including optional standards for LED lighting, as this newer technology was not originally included in the MU PD. This update would allow for conventional lighting or LED; whichever may be most advantageous at the time. Additionally, we are exploring the capital costs and energy savings of LED lighting for exterior street lighting in select commercial corridors. We are taking a comprehensive approach, in that the lighting, hardware, etc. should have a continuity of look and feel as one walks throughout the commercial heart of our Town. We remain cognizant that future commercial development of the land north of Point Vista Drive should include similar lighting standards to maintain a sense of place and continuity of development.
Playground Equipment for Arrowhead Park - Fall 2009
The Hickory Creek EDC board recently approved $20,000 to be used towards the purchase of new playground equipment for Arrowhead Park. The park currently does not have any playgrounds for park visitors to use. We feel the new equipment will allow families with children to utilize the park more frequently. Keeping our lakeside parks full of visitors is an important part of the economy of Hickory Creek.
Town Center Design Charrette - Spring 2008
Hickory Creek has an excellent opportunity to maximize the commercial potential of the approximately 80 acres surrounding Town Hall and joining it with Cornelius Town Center and Wal-Mart Superstore. The Town Center will be planned as a mixed-use, pedestrian-oriented development where people can “live, work and play.” It will be designed to be congruent with our small town atmosphere and blend in with Hickory Creek’s picturesque surroundings, yet further develop our growing business district.
The establishment of a Town Center will also allow Hickory Creek to consider whether any of the facilities identified in the recent Strategic Planning sessions may be placed within the Town Center development as other “public anchors” (in addition to the Town Hall)-providing the benefit of attracting associated retail traffic. Additionally, Hickory Creek’s commitment for preparation of a new Comprehensive Plan and a Parks and Trail System Master Plan provides the Town with an opportunity to master plan approximately 80 acres with a broader look at its potential impact on surrounding properties. The Hickory Creek EDC has selected GSBS Architects to manage this comprehensive planning process and to evaluate the economic potential of what will be Hickory Creek’s greatest economic development opportunity.
There were 2 days of planning meetings held on April 9th and 10th with the landowners and current businesses whose properties fall within the boundaries of the proposed Town Center. The participation from the landowners and business was phenomenal. A Public Hearing/Workshop was then held on April 10th to deliver the results of the planning effort to the citizens, Town Council, EDC Board, Planning and Zoning, and other Town staff. What we saw were landowners and business who wanted to participate in something much bigger than their own parcels would allow. We are very excited about this major step in our town’s growth and evolution.
This beautifully designed Town Center will place Hickory Creek at the forefront of development in the Lake Cites area. Interested developers and brokers should contact the EDC for more information.
Expansion of Ronald Reagan Avenue - Spring 2008
The EDC board has recently approved funding to widen the Northern segment of Ronald Reagan Avenue from an existing two lane road to a 4 lane road. This expansion should allow for more traffic to enter the town’s commercial district as an alternate route once major construction begins on FM2181 in the near future. A higher daily traffic count coming through the town’s business district will be a positive factor for new businesses looking to start-up or relocate in Hickory Creek.
Acquisition of Property for Future Economic Development Purposes - Winter 2008
The EDC board has recently acquired a 2.21 acre piece of property in the downtown commercial business district. This will allow the EDC board to offer assistance to businesses or developers who are interested in locating in the downtown business district. New businesses find that locating the right piece of property at the right price plays a critical role in determining their final site selection.
Extension of Boat Docks - Summer 2007
All 3 of the town’s boat docks were extended 40 feet in the late summer of 2007. This was a much needed improvement to the existing docks. After the recent summer closure of all the town’s boat ramps due to the low lake levels, extending these docks will now allow boaters to continue using the lake when water levels drop due to drought conditions.
Keeping the parks open and available for boaters is an important part of the economy of Hickory Creek and the lifestyle of its’ residence.