HUNTERSVILLE – More zoning changes could be coming to Huntersville if a March 3 vote among town board members is approved.

Commissioners discussed adjustments to amend the zoning ordinance during a Feb. 17 public hearing, which drew strong opinions from residents.

The changes would give the town greater density, smaller lot sizes and smaller lot width while preserving some of its open space. The town’s rural zoning district could look the same as it did from 2003 to 2006, pending board approval.

Lot sizes would be smaller to promote homeowners’ interest in buying homes without lots of land surrounding them.

“Some homeowners aren’t interested in keeping up a big tract of land,” Commissioner Rob Kidwell said. “It’s an expensive upkeep process.”

Town staff recommends a plan that would increase density from 0.7 units per acre to 0.9 units per acre, while keeping an 80-foot buffer along existing state roads as well as future thoroughfares.

The board was divided on the buffer issue. Commissioner Danny Phillips voiced his displeasure with the layout of buffers. Fellow commissioner Jeff Neely said they’re a necessity.

“To start monkeying with the 80-foot buffers would be counter-intuitive to what we’ve been doing for the last seven years,” he said.

Resident John Propst wasn’t convinced the options presented to the board were better than the present zoning requirements.

“You’re proposing a blanket increase in the density of the transitional and rural areas, allowing higher densities in those remaining areas of quiet, peaceful countryside,” he said. “The areas where you’re proposing increases are served by rural, narrow two-lane roads. These are already clogged with cut-through traffic from adjacent areas that are already too developed.

“If you want to create a corridor of denser zoning along the proposed new road alignments, then let the developers build the roads to them. Bigger is not better. Bigger is just bigger.”

Kidwell said the long-term impact could give developers more leeway in designing homes, whether they want larger or smaller lots and how to divide them up.

“There are options and ways that we can maintain what we have and keep the open space while still bringing in developments that aren’t overly crowded,” he said. “When businesses are looking to move to Huntersville, they’re going to look at what’s available.”