Misenheimer Land Use Plan
Village of Misenheimer
A Land Use Plan to Fit Our Vision of Ourselves
Misenheimer is a community that developed in the company of tourism and education. Once a stop on a railroad spur that served a nearby early tourist destination, Misenheimer Springs, the place drew the interest of the Mitchell Home School as it sought a new location. By 1910, when the Mitchell Home arrived, industries such as mining had largely disappeared from the area. Agriculture, tourism and education remained, alongside a slowly but steadily growing residential community. Since then, education has been the major industry of the locale, as Mitchell Home evolved into what is now Pfeiffer University.
The forces that drove development in much of the rest of the state and county have long ignored this quiet corner of Stanly County. This appears to be changing. As upcoming major enhancements to NC Highway 49 and US Highway 52 invite the prospect of more traffic and expanding commercial development in our community, we sense the need to take some measure of control over our own environment. Change will come, but it can be managed in an orderly direction for the benefit of all.
We, the citizens of the Village of Misenheimer, have a shared vision of ourselves as an educational, residential, agricultural, and family-friendly community. We recognize the desirability of industry to provide livelihoods for our adult population, and for our children as they grow. We are steadfast, however, in our belief that any industries welcomed into our midst must be compatible with our primary characteristics. Education, agriculture, recreation and tourism remain high on our list of desirable industries. Enterprises that are compatible with our residential nature are welcome. All such endeavors need to be chosen and physically placed in a manner that protects and enhances our quiet residential, educational character, and preserves the scenic beauty of our community and its surroundings.
• We share a future alongside our sister city, the Town of Richfield. Not only are we joined geographically, we are also intertwined by generations of shared family, friends, churches and civic activities. Together, and in concert with one another, we can promote a brighter future for our shared northern corner of Stanly County.
• The nearby intersection of NC Highway 49 and US Highway 52 is destined to become a focal point of growth. With physical construction of a major improvement to Highway 49 now just 10 miles away in Mt. Pleasant, the completion of a 4-lane divided highway from the growing metropolis of Charlotte all the way east to the Yadkin-Pee Dee River is no longer a dream, it is quickly becoming a reality. Coupled with drawing board plans for a proposed new 16-mile long, 4-lane section of US Highway 52 connecting Richfield to Interstate 85 in Spencer, these roadway improvements will be a magnet for residential and commercial development in our area.
• Misenheimer is a part of the Uwharrie Lakes Region. With close proximity to the water, we will be impacted by the tourism and recreation attractions created by the lakes themselves, the Uwharrie National Forest, Morrow Mountain State Park, and even the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro.
• A centerpiece in our community is Pfeiffer University. By offering high quality education in a wide choice of disciplines, not only does it draw a diversified student body from many places both inside outside of North Carolina, but it also offers to the community at large the opportunity for exposure to a variety of cultural and sporting events that enrich us all. Pfeiffer’s commitment to education has led to the creation of the Gray Stone Charter High School, placing the opportunity for academic excellence within walking distance of our youth. While already proving to be an engine for job growth in the county, the possibility of a cooperative sharing of its resources with clean and compatible new industries seeking a home makes Pfeiffer University unique, and a jewel in our community’s midst.
• The framework from which we build is the existing physical infrastructure within which we live, work, worship, relax and commute. The homes, churches, roads, institutions and scenic green spaces are the handiwork of those who came here before us, and the contributions continue today at the hands of the community’s current residents and property owners. Taken as a whole, this infrastructure deserves to be protected as it is and enhanced, not harmed, as we build on the foundation given to us. Along with our people, this is what gives our Village its special charm and attractiveness.
• Our most important asset is our people. Their industry and ingenuity, dedication and cooperative spirit are what keep alive what otherwise would only be physical structures placed on nature’s backdrop. Our people, too, are to be protected and nurtured. When they return from their labors or from socializing, they deserve a healthy place of peace and rest. Today, our air and water is clean. Our audible environment is filled with the sounds of nature, without unpleasant interruption. Our visual environment is one of scenic winding roads and an abundance of open, green space. Our citizens deserve to have a refreshing place to return to, and to share with others: A place called “home”.
Long Range Planning Recommendations
The Land Use Plan is charged with the responsibility of taking into account what has gone on before and what exists today, and then making estimations and judgments about what may happen in the future. No one person or very small group of people can have the wisdom to know what the future will actually bring, but by soliciting comments from a wider group, a consensus opinion can be formed about what likely future developments will be, and about what guidelines would be appropriate to affect those developments.
The inputs received from citizens on recent matters of local development
speak to the fact that growth is inevitable. The desire of our citizenry is
to manage for desirable growth. The Land Use Plan constructed will, by
design, be a guide to future development so that Misenheimer's provincial, educational, cultural and peaceful community character is not lost to the gradual, insidious effects of incompatible uses and over-development.
Guidance, as provided by this comprehensive Land Use Plan, is intended to be a reference for our citizens and for public officials or developers who seek to make modifications to the Zoning Ordinances of the Village of Misenheimer. The entire document is founded on the Principles listed below:
Village Land Use Planning Principles:
1.Guide future growth and development to be compatible with existing uses. The citizens and entities within Misenheimer have a symbiotic relationship. We have grown accustomed to the quality of life that has evolved here and we seek to preserve it for both ourselves and for future generations to enjoy. A central theme of our Land Use Plan revolves around this preservation.
2. Enhance the provincial, residential and educational appeal of areas of our Village that already possess such, and nourish new potential areas. Misenheimer has evolved as a rural residential educational enclave. It is the expressed vision of the Village to preserve and to actively enhance the characteristics that make Misenheimer what it is.
3. Focus commercial or industrial development along highway corridors as they exist or develop. Two major highway projects will impact our Village as it seeks its place in a developing world. It is the vision of the Village, as these changes unfold, to use these transportation corridors as the proper placement for economic development. Doing so will ensure that transportation infrastructure is readily available for such development and that such development will disrupt quality of life in the Village as minimally as possible.
4. Promote an active, vibrant, interactive community where residents can cross paths and meet their neighbors as they go about their lives within the Village. As Misenheimer grew, intertwined with Pfeiffer, a varied mix of traffic has evolved to move residents around the community. This mix of pedestrian, bicycle, and vehicular traffic has served to make us what we are. The Village seeks to accommodate and promote this mix of traffic modes.
5. Create public spaces in which the community can gather and enjoy recreational opportunities. In order to fulfill our desire to place recreational facilities at the disposal of our citizens, we need places where individuals can come together and enjoy common pursuits. We need parks or similar spaces in which to gather, exercise, play and compete. These sites should be varied in size, function, and location in order to fulfill the assorted tastes of our diverse population. The Village should seek over time to create more public places and social gathering places which ought to be scattered in various neighborhoods throughout the Village.
6. Promote development and traffic patterns that keep pedestrians and cyclists safe as they move about the Village. Efficiency and leisure can both be part of traffic flows if some forethought is applied. Pedestrians and cyclists today move about the Village without undue fears for their safety. As growth adds to the vehicular traffic that moves about and throughout the Village, accommodations should be made to retain the mix of traffic modes. Continuing the theme of community interaction, sidewalks, bicycle paths, and pedestrian-friendly / bicycle-friendly traffic laws are envisioned to promote these environmentally friendly traffic modes, and to keep leisure traffic safe and enjoyable. At the same time, vehicular traffic should be routed so as to minimize traffic flows through residential and institutional areas while at the same time concentrating and moving efficiently traffic intended for commercial purposes. Wherever possible, there should be a separation of leisure traffic from commercial traffic.
7. Buffer well the residential and educational portions of the Village from commercial and/or industrial development. Quality of life is a major theme in Village land use considerations. Strict, failsafe buffering of places of worship and residential or educational facilities from commercial/industrial development endeavors is essential. While recognizing the need for commercial and industrial development as a financial resource for the strengthening of our community as a whole, those developments with the highest impacts on ambient sights, sounds, odors, traffic or other quality of life features should be located as remotely as possible from residential or institutional/educational so as to decrease the impact on quality of life.
8. Provide for appropriate retail development, as it becomes necessary and desirable. This principle is a nod to our recognition that change is inevitable. As the community grows and evolves, we may want or need retail development near to where we live. The Village should work to wisely implement such development as the need and/or opportunity arises.
9. Promote sound and sustainable agricultural practices rooted in the values and traditions of successful family farming. The family farm is one of the most basic building blocks of a healthy society, and is to be encouraged and nurtured when operated on a scale that has minimal impact on its neighbors. Successful agricultural practices should embody good sanitation, sustainable production, neighborly consideration, and environmental soundness. Practices should contribute to air, water, and soil quality, while at the same time should not negatively affect the sights, sounds, or odors experienced by immediate neighbors or the Village as a whole. Agriculture of this nature will enhance the aesthetic value of our community’s environment.
10. Value Misenheimer’s unique cultural and educational resources, and manage development accordingly in order to preserve Misenheimer and its singular identity. We should not forget the forces that cajoled us to incorporate. The awakening to the fact that Misenheimer was, and is, a special place worth preserving and protecting has led to a self-examination of all that we are and all that we can be. Few communities of our size and rural location can claim the educational and cultural facilities that we have in our midst. This special “something” that we have extends beyond mere buildings. The fruits of those facilities, be they homes or churches or other institutions, lie within the people who have passed through them, whether they remain here with us or have become an extended arm of Misenheimer reaching out into the wider world.
11. Preserve, wherever possible, the Village’s historical properties, structures, records and traditions. History is what has led us, as a community, to be what we are. In order to be truly informed, education relies on awareness of the past. Historic structures and properties can serve as anchors to remind us of the things we value and why, as well as to keep us mindful of those mistakes which we ought to avoid repeating. Historic records can serve the same purpose and may be the sole remaining evidence of things or places lost to the sands of time. Tradition can be an emotional link to those who have come before and have led us here. If we believe what we value now is worth saving, promoting respect for our past serves to reinforce that judgment.
12. Grow the Village to serve as a pleasing, viable home to its residents and entities, and as a destination for educational opportunity and tourism. A final admonishment from the body politic is to grow the Village as a sustainable project. It should, over time, provide a sustainable economic engine built on education, quiet tourism and green industry. We envision a destination at which those yearning for respite, enlightenment and knowledge can assuage themselves with the amenities of both Pfeiffer University and the Village of Misenheimer. Those who come will also find healthy, vibrant industry that complements and serves the friendly place that we want to grow.
The above principals and recommendations reflect the conditions and aspirations present at the time of this writing. The passage of time brings with it changes in circumstances, and thus the Land Use Plan should be reviewed and updated on an every 10 year basis. More frequent updates and changes could lead to policies and guidelines that come and go with the wind. Less frequent updates run the risk of falling behind the times. However, the basic Principles embodied in this document should live on from Plan to Plan to ensure that Misenheimer lives up to its motto of “Preserving the Future”.
August 17, 2003
Reaffirmed April 13, 2009
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