March 20, 2001
The Alexander County Board of Commissioners held a special called meeting on Tuesday, March 20, 2001 in the Commissioners Room in the Alexander County Courthouse, Taylorsville, North Carolina.
CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Odom called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.
Commissioner Darrell Robertson gave the invocation and Chairman David Odom led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
ADOPTION OF AGENDA
Chairman Odom requested a few amendments be made to the agenda. A request from VFW Post 5466 was added as the first item to be heard on the agenda. The minutes from the March 6, 2001 Commissioners Meeting was added to the Consent Agenda as Item D for approval.
Commissioner Watts made a motion to adopt the agenda as amended. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
James Friday, Commander of VFW Post 5466, approached the Board with a request to place a monument on the Alexander County Courthouse lawn in honor of those that gave their lives in the Civil War. Mr. Friday stated that he would like the monument to be placed between the canon and the large tree on the Courthouse lawn. The monument will be funded by the VFW and contributions made by the public. The monument will be 7 feet tall and 18 inches wide and will include the names of 319 Alexander County residents who lost their lives in the Civil War. Mr. Friday stated that he would like to have a ceremony on Memorial Day to present the monument.
It was agreed that this item would be put on the April Commissioners Meeting agenda. This would allow time for further input to the Board.
PUBLIC HEARING: AMENDMENTS TO THE ZONING ORDINANCE
Sylvia Turnmire, Director of Planning & Development, conducted the public hearing for approval of amendments to the Alexander County Zoning Ordinance. The amendments include those suggested by the Board at the 2001 Planning Retreat. The Zoning Ordinance is currently effective in the zoned areas of Bethlehem and US Highway 64/90 Corridor. After adoption of the countywide zoning map, the Zoning Ordinance will be effective countywide. Ms. Turnmire stated that the Planning & Zoning Commission held 2 public information sessions to receive public input on the amendments to the Zoning Ordinance. There were 6 people that spoke at the Bethlehem session and 5 people that spoke at the US Highway 64/90 Corridor session.
Commissioner Harbinson asked Ms. Turnmire how Alexander Countys Zoning Ordinance compared to other counties. Ms. Turnmire responded that Alexander Countys zoning ordinance was very similar to surrounding counties. There are currently 87 out of 100 counties in North Carolina that have countywide zoning. Wilkes County has partial zoning. All other counties contiguous to Alexander County have countywide zoning.
Ms. Turnmire informed the Board that the Town of Taylorsville handled their own zoning and that the Zoning Ordinance would exclude Town limits and the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) which is approximately 1 mile outside the Town limits.
John Marshall, Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) Planner, presented the amendments to the Zoning Ordinance which included:
Additional amendments were made by Commissioners Watts and Robertson. Commissioner Watts asked that the word "drugstore" be changed to "pharmacy" on page 168 under the schedule of uses and permissible conditional uses. Commissioner Robertson suggested changing the wording on page 114 of the basement definition to read: "A story partly underground but having at least one-half of its height below (instead of above) the average level of the adjoining ground". Commissioner Robertson also asked that wetland requirements be added to Control Sedimentation section on page 125.
Commissioner Watts inquired about the impact of the Zoning Ordinance on current businesses or residences that are already zoned. Ms. Turnmire responded that those would be grandfathered-in.
At this time, Chairman Odom asked for public comment. Grover Sharpe stated that he lived on Old Mountain Road and asked if he would be able to put a Hardees or other fast food establishment on property zoned as L-I (Light Industrial) or H-I (Heavy Industrial). Ms. Turnmire responded that he could.
Connie Killian, Planning & Zoning Commission Chair, and Andy Baker, member of Planning & Zoning Commission, expressed their thanks to the Board for their support and patience. The Board then expressed their thanks to the Planning & Zoning Commission for all of their hard work.
Commissioner Harbinson commented that the Zoning Ordinance was established to ensure landowners that surrounding property will appear similar to theirs. For example, a chemical plant could not be built beside a residential home.
Jonna Zema asked if property values would be affected with countywide zoning enforced. Commissioner Watts responded if the property is zoned I (Industrial) or H-C (Highway Commercial), the taxes on the property could be higher.
There being no further public comment, Commissioner Watts made a motion to close the public hearing. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Watts made a motion to approve the amendments to the Zoning Ordinance including the aforementioned amendments made by the Board. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
PUBLIC HEARING: AMENDMENT TO 1999 CDBG WATER PROJECT
Nancy Coley, WPCOG Community Development Administrator, conducted the public hearing for approval of the amendment to 1999 CDBG Water Project. In 1999, Alexander County was awarded $720,625 in CDBG money to install waterlines, taps, and connections to serve 86 households on Three Forks Church Road, Wood Road, Little River Church Road, McDuffie Court, Glass Road, and Parsonville Road and to construct a 100,000 gallon water tank and booster pump station. Most of this project has been completed. It is estimated that the overall project will have approximately $50,000 in uncommitted funds that could be used to extend waterlines. The project amendment is to install approximately 2,400 feet of additional waterlines, 18 water taps, and connections to serve 18 additional households. This area is located on Three Forks Church Road from Wood Road to the bridge.
Commissioner Harbinson requested that "Little River" be painted on the 1000,000 gallon water tank. Ms. Coley stated that painting the tank would cost extra. Commissioner Harbinson instructed Ms. Coley to find out the total cost of painting the tank. Commissioner Hammer inquired about Little Egypt Road. Ms. Coley stated that Little Egypt Road was not part of the CDBG project. There are currently lines that run to the first houses on each side of Little Egypt Road but the lines do not run the entire road distance.
Jonna Zema asked if there were any plans to install water lines on Apple House Lane which is off Three Forks Church Road. It was responded that there are currently no plans to install water lines along Apple House Lane. Ms. Zema stated that she was informed that it would cost approximately $16,000 to install the water lines along Apple House Lane. Ms. Zema stated that she would be willing to pay $8,000 toward the installation. There are currently no other residents of Apple House Lane that have committed funding the installation of the water lines.
There being no further public comment, Commissioner Robertson made a motion to close the public hearing. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Commissioner Hammer made a motion to approve the amendment to the 1999 CDBG Water Project and give Ms. Coley permission to submit the amendment to the NC Division of Community Assistance for approval. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Additional Water Concerns
At this time, other water concerns were discussed. Commissioner Hammer stated that problems with Highway 16 South and Sugarloaf water bills should be directed to the City of Hickory. The City of Hickory will try to solve the problem over the phone or send someone out to correct the problem if needed. If anyone has a hardship case and cannot pay the entire water bill, the City of Hickory will work with the customer and may accept partial payments until the entire bill can be paid. Rick French, County Manager, stated that customers can pay their bill at the Alexander County Tax Office, at the City of Hickory Office, or the payment may be mailed to the City of Hickory Office.
RIPARIAN BUFFER UPDATE
Sylvia Turnmire, Director of Planning & Development, gave an update on the Riparian Buffers and stated that a response was received from the Division of Water Quality regarding how the 50 foot buffer width was decided. The letter states that the 50 foot width was based in part on a compromise among the majority of members of the upper and lower Catawba Advisory Committees as well as on scientific literature.
Ms. Turnmire stated the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) has requested additional information for the permanent rule process which will require buffers along streams flowing into the Catawba River. Ms. Turnmire stated that this was an opportunity to include creeks and streams instead of NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) or Division of Water Quality (DWQ) choosing which streams they deem appropriate. As the rule is written now, all uses of streams would be grandfathered-in and the only time in which the buffer would be required is when the use changes or is expanded.
Ms. Turnmire stated that she had met with Dan McClure, Soil & Water District, and Lenny Rogers, Cooperative Extension, to discuss the situation and submitted the following creeks to be included in the permanent rule:
Ms. Turnmire and Corey Teague, Alexander County Planner, presented a map to illustrate where the creeks were located. Ms. Turnmire informed the Board that a response to EMC was required by April 2, 2001.
Commissioner Hammer suggested selecting creeks farther down the Catawba River. Commissioner Robertson suggested removing Elk Shoals from the list and submitting the other 2 creeks and also checking with other counties to see what type of creeks they are submitting.
Commissioner Watts instructed Ms. Turnmire to inform the EMC that the Board is currently reviewing the situation and will inform them of their decision for the permanent rule at a later date.
The Upper Basin public hearing will be held on March 22, 2001 at 6:00 PM in the Old Rock School in Valdese, NC. Ms. Turnmire stated that anyone wishing to speak at the public hearing should inform her so that she may have their names put on the agenda for that night. Commissioners Hammer and Robertson instructed Ms. Turnmire to contact the necessary individuals to have their names included on the agenda for the public hearing.
CONSIDERATION FOR FINANCING OF DEFIBRILLATORS FOR ALEXANDER COUNTY EMERGENCY SERVICES DEPARTMENT
Rick French, County Manager, stated that a low bid was received from BB&T for the financing of 3 defibrillators for EMS. The rate quoted was 4.69% for 3 years totaling $60,680.54. The total interest paid over 36 months will be $4,487.38. Mr. French informed the Board that letters were mailed to 5 banks. Out of the 5 banks, 2 banks responded that they would not bid on the RFP and 2 did not respond. Mr. French recommended that the Board accept the proposal from BB&T for financing and also approve the resolution for financing terms.
Chairman Odom stated that EMS was phasing out the older defibrillators since the new ones were much higher quality. The new defibrillators will be more accurate and will last 8-10 years. The old defibrillators will be traded in for the new defibrillators.
Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to accept the proposal for the new defibrillators from BB&T at a rate of 4.69% for 3 years totaling $60,680.54 and to approve the resolution for financing terms. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
At this time, Commissioner Harbinson stated that he would like to recognize J.M. Lackey who was attending the meeting. Mr. Lackey served as Alexander County Commissioner from 1970 to 1978.
Commissioner Robertson made a motion to approve the Consent Agenda. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
CLOSED SESSION PERSONNEL & LEGAL MATTERS
Commissioner Watts made a motion to enter into Closed Session at 8:45 PM to discuss personnel and legal matters. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
There being no further business, Commissioner Watts made a motion to adjourn at 9:15 PM. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
David S. Odom, Chairman Jamie C. Millsaps, Clerk to the Board