North Wilkesboro Town Manager Wilson Hooper said land use restrictions resulting from the WS-IV watershed designation sought by his town would limit storm water runoff entering some of the Yadkin’s tributaries and make the river a safer water supply.

The proposed WS-IV watershed includes 10,300 acres in a WS-IV “protected area” that would be under Wilkes County government jurisdiction. Hooper shared a map showing most of the 10,300 acres are in the Moravian Creek watershed, extending nearly to the Alexander County line.

In a WS-IV protected watershed, up to two homes per acre are allowed. No residential lots less than a half-acre are allowed, but a third of an acre with curbs and gutters. No more than 24% of a parcel can be “built upon,” but 36% with curbs and gutters. “Built upon” means impervious, such as a building, asphalt or gravel.

The “critical area” of the proposed new WS-IV watershed is all within the Wilkesboro or North Wilkesboro town limits or extra-territorial zoning jurisdiction. This is the area that drains into a stream with an intake within a half mile of the intake or the nearest ridgeline if closer. Only two homes per acre and only 24% of a parcel can be built upon in the critical area.

Up to 70% of a parcel can be built upon with certain buffers to hold storm water runoff and with commissioner approval, but only on 10% of a watershed’s entire protected area. This isn’t allowed in the critical area.

The proposed WS-IV watershed also includes 2,439 acres in Wilkesboro and its ETJ, 502 acres in North Wilkesboro and its ETJ.

Hooper said he recommended making North Wilkesboro’s process for securing an exception to impervious surface limits a little harder to match this process in Wilkesboro and the county.

The watershed restrictions don’t apply to farm and existing land uses.

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