Indian Trail plans for 80,000 by 2030

Aug. 29, 2013 @ 04:55 PM

The revised Indian Trail comprehensive plan estimates a 70,000 to 80,000 population by 2030.

The Indian Trail Town Council heard a presentation of the draft plan during its Tuesday meeting. There are few new elements to the updated plan, HNTB consultant Donald Simpson said.

"The way we have structured the plan this time around has been to focus more on detail than in the previous plan," Simpson said.

The 2005 plan was structured around "villages and corridors" of different neighborhood clusters in town. For the update, consultants focused on the changes brought by the planned Monroe Bypass, new parks and more businesses.

Consultants removed from the plan an area near the southeast end of town that was annexed into Monroe.  They added an "entertainment district" along N.C. Highway 74 that the town leadership wants to develop. Communities would remain grouped into villages, but each would have its own village center with stores, churches libraries and services minutes away.

Census information indicates the town's population is 35,000, and there are 38,000 people inside the town's planning area. By 2022, Simpson estimates population to be 47,000 and 60,000 by 2030.

That is actually a bit lower than the population projection in the current comprehensive plan adopted in 2005.

"The primary reason for that is the elimination of the Poplin and Winchester villages," Simpson said.

Simpson estimates that in 20 years, the town will need 1,600 to 3,000 acres for building new homes, whether single-family or apartment buildings.

"Retail demands, if it just follows the current absorption rate that is projected for all of Union County and Indian Trail shared, it'd be about 50 to 60 acres," he said. "Office demand would be about 45 to 55 acres. That's without any particular recruitment or economic development efforts to bring in a more substantial development."

Industrial demand, he said, would be between 60 and 80 acres.

As as example of how things might progress, Simpson called attention to the heavily residential area around Unionville-Indian Trail Road and Secrest Shortcut Road. It sits near the site of Crooked Creek Park. Over time, the Unionville-Indian Trail Road would would become a village center, through roads would grow to four lanes, round-abouts would be built and two-lane roads leading to the park. The intersection of Monroe Road and the future Monroe Bypass would become an "urban gateway" into the town.

And as the town grows, new types of areas could develop, such as high-density housing alongside retail.

Rogers Road and areas near the Charlotte Monroe Executive Airport have a potential for industrial development. Mixed-use areas along 74 might attract business parks and technology centers as the economy strengthens.

Retail centers will grow up around major road interchanges. Areas off the major roads and near farms would remain a rural, residential mix.

The Monroe Bypass will support higher residential and commercial development near planned interchanges like the one at Rocky River Road. There is a potential for more traditional subdivisions and higher-density residential developments in these areas, Simpson said.

"The U.S. 74 corridor, we would anticipate, would see a notable change," Simpson said. "Particularly between the area of Indian Trail Road and Crooked Creek where there's a lot of potential for redevelopment with higher density housing within walking distance of the mixed-use developments."

Built into the bypass design are aesthetic identifiers of the different towns along the new road. The comprehensive plan carries on with that theme, creating "gateways" into Indian Trail's different communities. The town already has a plan to install way-finding signs around town.

Only a few sound walls are planned for the bypass because it travels past few existing neighborhoods. Town leaders can consider adding attractive sound walls and landscaping buffers as residential developments spring up along the bypass.

"These would be appropriate between residential areas and industrial areas as well," he said.

Many of the changes projected for the 74 corridor were done as part of a revitalization study Indian Trail began in partnership with Stallings, Monroe and Union County.

The bypass will trigger changes to the 74 corridor. N.C. Department of Transportation officials expect a 33 percent decrease in 74 traffic once the bypass is built. Combined with the changes planned in the joint study, it could mean a major redevelopment of the entire Union County corridor of 74.

Plans for Indian Trail's downtown area remain much the same as the downtown plan adopted in 2006. Industrial areas are planned along Matthews-Indian Trail Road. The two new parks will create more traffic.

"There are other changes, like the parks and town buildings, but otherwise its the same as the plan that's been adopted," Simpson said.

All major roads will have bicycle lanes and sidewalks to accommodate different transportation modes, he said. Medians and landscaping will buffer pedestrians from vehicle traffic on these roads.

Farther into the future, Simpson said there are nebulous plans for mass transit like high-speed rail. But the likelihood that Indian Trail will see such development depends on state and regional transportation planning.

A public involvement meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 5 at First Baptist Church. Consultants will incorporate public input into the plan, present it to the town planning board and it will likely be presented to the town council for final approval in October.