This Framework section provides the planning context for the Huntersville 2030 Community Plan, including a discussion of data collection and analysis, and the following major planning issues that have informed and guided preparation of the Plan:
- Changing Demographics
- Environmental Protection/ Preservation
- Population Growth
- Residential/Non-Residential Development
- Transportation System Development
2.1 Data Collection & Analysis
An important component of long-range land use planning is data collection and analysis, as well as research of trends likely to affect the Town between now and 2030.
Historical data is particularly valuable both in providing an explanation for current conditions and illuminating possible future trends and conditions. In preparation for drafting the Huntersville 2030 Community Plan, demographic (including population, household and employment) data was collected and analyzed to provide the necessary background for the Plan and its various components.
While the complete 2010 Census information was not available during the preparation of the Plan, that which was published has been incorporated where possible to reflect the latest available data.
In addition to the use of Census data, input gathered from the public through use of a “Resident Survey,” served to highlight the major issues to be addressed by the Plan, as well as providing the basis for many of the individual policy and action items found in the Plan.
2.2 Major Planning Issues
A number of major planning issues have influenced and guided preparation and organization of the Huntersville 2030 Community Plan. These issues are outlined below.
The issue that will have the single largest influence on the Town of Huntersville between now and 2030 is continued population growth. By 2030, the Town’s population is projected to grow anywhere from a low figure of 78,000 to as high as 100,000. The Town’s ability to accommodate this growth through the provision of public services such as roads, police, fire, parks, recreation and other municipal services will represent the greatest challenge over the next 20 years.
In 2010, the Town of Huntersville’s demographic makeup is a picture of contrasts. The number of Huntersville residents five and under, represent just over 8% of the total population, or approximately 4,000 residents.
For the U.S this five and under age group stands at an average of just over 6%. The present and future impacts associated with this large number of residents will continue to be reflected in the demand for school (particularly elementary) facilities, along with parks and recreation services through 2030.
At the other end of the age spectrum, in 2010, the number of Huntersville residents age 65 and older stands at just under 7%, or 3,929 residents. This figure compares with a statewide average of approximately 13%. In 2030, projections for North Carolina show an increase in the population 65 and older to nearly 18%. While the percentage of Huntersville residents 65 and older is not likely to reach this level, it will certainly rise, resulting in an increase in the demand for senior services (e.g. activities, facilities and organizations), as well as for senior-friendly housing options, ranging from smaller, one-level housing units to age-restricted and congregate care facilities.
Based on all current projections, the residential and non-residential development boom of the last 20 years will continue in Huntersville through 2030. In 2030, the Town’s medium range population projection figure is 89,597.
In regard to future non-residential development, Huntersville’s proximity to Charlotte, location along the planned North Corridor commuter rail line and I-485 outer loop, together with an ample supply of land for office, industrial and retail development, will continue to generate significant non-residential growth and development in the Town.
The projected increase in residential and non-residential growth and development through 2030 will produce associated traffic impacts and require a continued emphasis on long-range transportation planning and system development through 2030. The scarcity of public funding for new system development highlights the need for alternative funding mechanisms, such as public/private partnerships, in order to meet the ever-increasing travel demand needs of the public.
Multi-modal (i.e. roads, mass transit and non-motorized) transportation system development will be vital in responding to the transportation system needs of the next 20 years. The continued linkage of land use and transportation system development will also be vital to maintaining not only the economic vitality within the Town but also the quality of life enjoyed by residents.
Balancing the projected growth in Huntersville with the preservation of natural, cultural and historic environments will continue to be an important priority through the year 2030.
To date, Huntersville has adopted a number of environmental regulations to minimize growth related environmental impacts, including water quality, tree preservation and open space preservation. The Town has also been supportive of the creation of public nature preserves, conserved lands and park land, as well as the designation and protection of historic properties.
Perhaps the most far-reaching trend likely to affect and influence land use and transportation policies through 2030 is the sustainability movement. The most widely accepted definition of sustainability is “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Sustainability involves balancing the competing interests of environmental protection, social needs and economic prosperity. Sustainability has and will continue to influence the building and land development industry through the use of “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design LEED” principles and practices.
“Smart Growth” planning practices have also resulted in a movement away from the “sprawl” land use practices of the last 50 years, toward a mixed-use (i.e. residential, commercial and employment uses) in proximity to one another. Energy issues will also influence economic growth over the next 20 years. As Huntersville continues to grow as a community, so too will the need to address and plan for residents’ desire for cultural, recreational and social interaction and opportunities.