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(1) A traffic impact analysis may be required to be submitted in conjunction with an application for a planned development, preliminary plat, major site plan, or special use permit.
(2) Unless exempted in division (B) of this section, a traffic impact analysis shall be required for projects, which can be anticipated to generate at least 100 vehicle trips at peak hour from the latest edition of the Institute of Transportation Engineers (ITE) Trip Generation Manual.
Commentary: 100 peak hour vehicle trips equates to approximately 100 single-family units or 25,000 square feet of general commercial space.
(B) Exemptions. The following projects shall not be required to submit a traffic impact analysis:
(1) Developments approved prior to the effective date of this chapter that have maintained valid planned development master plans, preliminary plats, major site plans or special use permits.
(2) Redevelopment of any site on which the additional traffic at peak hour represents an increase of less than 100 trips from the previous development, where the redevelopment is initiated within 12 months of the completion of demolition of the previous project.
(3) Minor site plans.
(C) Pre-application conference.
(1) All applicants required to submit a traffic impact analysis shall schedule a pre-application conference with the Planning Director, in accordance with § 155.702(A).
(2) The Planning Director and the town's consultant, if applicable, shall determine the type and scope of the study during the pre-application conference, which may also involve representatives from other agencies or departments.
(D) Waiver authorized.
(1) The Planning Director may waive the requirement to submit a traffic impact analysis. If the Director waives the requirement to submit a traffic impact analysis, the Director shall include the reason for the waiver in the Director's decision or recommendation on the application.
(2) An applicant who obtains a waiver under this section must mitigate adverse effects of the traffic generated from a proposed development.
(3) The traffic generated from a proposed development for which the requirement to submit a traffic impact was waived may not:
(a) In combination with existing traffic, exceed the desirable operating level established in division (H) of this section; or
(b) Endanger the public safety.
(E) Application requirements. A traffic impact analysis prepared by a professional engineer licensed in the State of North Carolina shall be submitted in accordance with § 155.702(C). The traffic impact analysis must conform with the requirements of this section and the town's engineering design manual. The traffic impact analysis report must describe the study methodology, the data used, and the study findings and provide recommendations based on the results.
(F) Definition of impact area. The Director shall determine the geographic area to be included in a traffic impact analysis. Identification of the points of access and key streets and intersections to be affected by development of the subject parcel shall be required. Traffic recorder and turning movement assessment locations may also have to be determined. The study area shall not extend beyond the point where the project traffic at build-out is less than 10% of the capacity of the roadway or intersection.
(G) Consultants. The Planning Director may require that an independent consultant be hired by the town to perform the required studies, or to review all or part of a study prepared by the applicant's consultant. The Planning Director is authorized to administer the contract for any such consultant.
(1) The town shall determine the scope of services to be performed by the independent consultant and receive a cost estimate of such services.
(2) The applicant shall provide an amount equal to the cost estimate to the town, which shall deposit the amount in an escrow or other special account set up for this purpose. Any funds not used shall be returned to the applicant in a timely manner, without interest. If the estimated or actual cost increases during the review from the town's initial cost estimate, the applicant immediately shall provide an amount equal to the increased cost to the town, which the town shall deposit in the escrow or special account. The final approval of any application requiring a traffic impact analysis by the town shall be contingent upon the full payment of all consultant costs incurred for the analysis.
(3) The town may require additional funds for independent review where a decision-making body expands the scope of the required review; the applicant substantially amends the application; additional meetings involving the consultant are requested by the applicant; or the consultant's appearance is requested at public or affected agency meetings beyond those anticipated in the original scope of services.
(H) Desirable operating levels for certain streets. Traffic on a residential local or collector street is operating at a desirable level if it does not exceed the following levels:
Vehicles Per Day
Less than 30 feet
30 feet to less than 40 feet
40 feet or wider
(I) Action on application.
(1) The Planning Director may deny an application if the results of a traffic impact analysis demonstrate that a proposed development may overburden the town's street system.
(2) The Planning Director shall deny an application if the traffic impact analysis demonstrates that:
(a) The projected traffic generated by the project, combined with existing traffic, exceeds the desirable operating level established in division (H) of this section in the traffic impact analysis study area; or
(b) The project endangers the public safety.
(J) Application modification based on traffic analysis. An applicant may modify an application to minimize the traffic-related effects identified in a traffic impact analysis. Modifications may include:
(1) A reduction in the projected vehicle trips per day;
(2) The dedication of additional right-of-way;
(3) The rerouting of traffic and a proposed access and egress point;
(4) Participation in the funding of a traffic signal or intersection improvement; and
(5) Other modification determined to be necessary.
(K) Appeal of Planning Director's action.
(1) An applicant may appeal the Planning Director's denial to the Town Council.
(2) The Town Council may approve the traffic impact analysis if the Council determines that the:
(a) Applicant has satisfactorily mitigated adverse traffic effects; or
(b) Additional traffic from the project has an insignificant effect on the town's streets.
(L) Period of validity. A traffic impact analysis shall be valid for a specific site for no more than ten years, so long as no significant modifications to the development approved for the site are made.
(Ord. 2005-11-02, passed 11-21-05; Am. Ord. 2018-07-02, passed 7-16-18)