Draft

BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS 

ALEXANDER COUNTY

REGULAR MEETING

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA

February 12, 2002

PRESENT: Joel C. Harbinson, Chairman
William L. Hammer, Vice-Chairman
David S. Odom
W. Darrell Robertson
John F. Watts (late)
STAFF: Rick French, County Manager (late)
Jamie Millsaps, Clerk to the Board
David Icenhour, Human Resources/Public Information Director
MEDIA: Lonnie Carrigan, WACB Radio
Gary Herman, The Taylorsville Times

 

The Alexander County Board of Commissioners held its regular meeting on Tuesday, February 12, 2002 in the Commissioners’ Room of the Alexander County Courthouse, Taylorsville, North Carolina.

PEOPLES’ AGENDA

No citizens asked to speak at the Peoples’ Agenda. Therefore, Chairman Harbinson gave the Chairman’s Report.

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT

Chairman Harbinson gave the Chairman’s Report which included discussion of the following information:

    1. Chairman Harbinson discussed revaluation and explained that the State required revaluation at least every 8 years. Chairman Harbinson stated that the Board could decide at a later date to hold revaluation every 4 or 5 years to avoid the "sticker shock" of the 8-year cycle. Chairman Harbinson also urged citizens to contact the Tax Office with legitimate appeals to schedule an informal hearing and noted that consideration would be given to outside appraisals that are not in line with the appraisals given by revaluation staff.
    2. Chairman Harbinson commented on the inventory tax reimbursements and stated that Governor Easley would be taking those revenues from cities and counties because of the State’s inability to balance its own budget. The inventory tax reimbursements have in the past been distributed to cities and counties twice per year. The State budget shortfall is projected at $1 billion by June 30, 2002. Chairman Harbinson noted that Governor Easley would be taking, not holding, $95 million from cities and counties in North Carolina. This total includes $328,340 from Alexander County which was scheduled to be received in April 2002. Chairman Harbinson also noted that if this process continued, the effects would double during the next fiscal year meaning that Alexander County would lose approximately $650,000 of funding that the county is legally entitled to, amounting to 5 cents on the local tax rate.
    3. Commissioner Robertson explained that the State had given cities and counties a half-cent local option sales tax to take the place of the reimbursements. The Board would be required to enact the sales tax by resolution to be effective July 1, 2003 after the State’s temporary half-cent sales tax is no longer in effect. Commissioner Robertson stated that it was his opinion that Governor Easley would also take the half-cent local option sales tax away from cities and counties at a later date, especially if gambling was legalized in North Carolina.

      Chairman Harbinson, as well as the entire Board, conveyed their displeasure and disappointment and urged citizens to speak to their Federal and State Representatives regarding the State budget. Chairman Harbinson also noted that Rick French, County Manager, would give a more detailed update on the inventory tax reimbursements later in the meeting.

    4. Chairman Harbinson discussed an article in the Hickory Daily Record which noted that the hospital in Alexander County would reopen in late March or early April 2002 with a 24-hour emergency room as well as in-patient beds.
    5. Chairman Harbinson stated that the Rural Issues Task Force would be meeting on February 22, 2002 and urged any Board member to attend the meeting to represent Alexander County. The meeting will be held in Laurenburg, Scotland County. Issues to be discussed include partnerships and economic development between rural counties.
    6. Commissioner Hammer reported that Alexander County had been awarded a $794,000 CDBG grant from the State to install water lines on Herman Road, Sipe Road, and across the Liledoun Bridge. Commissioner Hammer noted that Alexander County had met all conditions for the grant and that pipes would be installed sometime next year.
    7. Commissioner Odom noted that Alexander County had agreed to invest $150,000 towards the CDBG project. Chairman Harbinson noted that counties were more likely to receive grants from the State the more the county agrees to invest. Alexander County has invested $300,000 towards grant projects and received $1.5 million in CDBG monies in the last 2 years.

    8. Chairman Harbinson stated that the Annual Retreat was held on February 1-2, 2002 at the Hidden Crystal Inn in Hiddenite, North Carolina. Chairman Harbinson noted that the minutes from the Retreat would be posted on the county web site very soon.
    9. Commissioner Robertson discussed the new GIS (Geographical Information System) which gives citizens the ability to view maps of the county on the Internet. Citizens can also overlay several types of maps including property and water maps, sewer, and topography maps. Commissioner Robertson noted that the system could also be used by the School System to view school districts and bus routes. Commissioner Robertson noted that the fly-over photos of Alexander County property were taken in 1998 and 1999. The county currently has a contract with the Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) for GIS services. Commissioner Robertson noted that the new GIS system would help citizens looking to expand industry and economic development because the system allows citizens to view the topography of a piece of property and get all of the pertinent information about the property on-line. The GIS site can be accessed from the county web site at www.co.alexander.nc.us and can be viewed 24-hours a day.

At this time, Rick French, County Manager, entered the meeting. The time was 7:07 PM. Chairman Harbinson asked Mr. French to further discuss the inventory tax reimbursements. Mr. French reiterated that the State would be "taking" and not "holding" $328,340 from Alexander County as well as $1.5 million from Catawba County, $1.2 million from Iredell County, $829,295 from Caldwell County, $800,862 from Wilkes County, and $831,832 from Burke County.

Mr. French also noted that cities and towns would be impacted as well. The State will be taking Beer & Wine taxes, Utilities taxes, Homestead Exemptions, as well as inventory tax reimbursements. The Town of Taylorsville will be impacted by $101,523. The State will be taking $1.6 million from the City of Hickory, $553,553 from the City of Newton, $1.1 million from Statesville, $987,000 from Lenoir, and $821,000 from Morganton.

Mr. French informed the Board of actions being taken by other cities and counties due to this budget crisis. These include across the board budget reductions including schools and community colleges, forced leave without pay, staff layoffs, capital expenditure elimination, hiring freezes, travel and training freezes, purchasing freezes, reductions to non-profit agencies, reduced hours of operation for libraries and other community facilities, and reduced parks and recreation programs, and "holding" of county share with state agencies such as Day Reporting, Soil & Water, Extension Service, and Forestry. Mr. French also noted that the Medicaid shortfall would affect Alexander County by an increase of at least $200,000 which makes things even worse.

Mr. French stated that some changes would have to be made within county departments budget and noted that he would be contacting department heads within the week with some steps to be taken.

CALL TO ORDER

Chairman Harbinson called the meeting to order at 7:15 PM.

INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Rev. Paul Schronce, Pastor of Mt. Herman Baptist Church, gave the invocation and Jody Upright, student at Stony Point Elementary School, led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

CITIZEN OF THE MONTH

Commissioner Robertson presented the Citizen of the Month Award to Dr. Trevor Craig in recognition of his contributions to Alexander County as well as many other countries around the world. Commissioner Robertson explained that after Dr. Craig served his residency in pediatrics and family practice, he gave his time and medical expertise to an Indian Reservation in Montana. He spent a summer in Kenya and spent time in Guatemala. Commissioner Robertson mentioned that Dr. Craig had prepared a manual called the "Village Health Care Manual" which provided medical care instructions for those traveling to foreign places.

Dr. Craig also wrote "Who’s In Charge Here" which was published by Stony Point Christian Publications. Commissioner Robertson stated that Dr. Craig was a man of faith and demonstrated his faith in his daily life. Commissioner Robertson stated that Alexander County was fortunate to have Dr. Craig.

Dr. Craig thanked the Board for the recognition stated that he would accept the award in memory of Dr. Hugh Shearin, who proceeded Dr. Craig as the EMS Medical Director. Dr. Craig also thanked all members of EMS, the emergency dispatchers, and those who have put so much time into the hospital. Dr. Craig stated that he had witnessed a lot of changes in the medical and emergency field within the last 21 years that he was very thankful for.

***SPECIAL RECOGNITIONS***

Commissioner Odom presented a plaque to Blanche E. Sharpe in recognition of 20 years of service to Alexander County. Ms. Sharpe retired in 2001 from the Public Buildings Department and the Alexander County Courthouse.

Jesse Riddle, Parks & Recreation Director, presented the Annual Bubba Watts Awards to the following individuals:

Lori Bielenburg from Bethlehem

Steve Gomez from Taylorsville

Gary Comer from Wittenburg

Jennifer Mull from Ellendale

David Bentley from Sugar Loaf

Phil Millsaps from Hiddenite and Steve Johnson from Stony Point were not present to receive their awards. The awards are given in honor of the late Bubba Watts who was known for his involvement in recreation activities.

ADOPTION OF AGENDA

Chairman Harbinson asked for any amendments to the agenda by the Board. Rick French, County Manager, requested a short Closed Session to discuss contractual matters.

Commissioner Watts made a motion to adopt the agenda as amended. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

RURAL INTERNET ACCESS AUTHORITY (RIAA) e-NC GRANT

Duane Coley, local e-Champion, discussed the fact that rural communities have not been able to take advantage of the use of advanced information technologies including Internet access. Mr. Coley explained that the Rural Internet Access Authority was heading an effort to bring connectivity to rural counties and seeking to ensure Internet access to every citizen at reasonable rates to promote understanding of the benefits of the Internet and to increase the use of Internet literacy skills. Financial incentives and grants are being made available to all 85 rural counties through e-NC grants.

Mr. Coley noted that Alexander County had received a $10,000 grant to facilitate the planning and dialogue stage of the project. Mr. Coley will serve as the e-Champion on behalf of the Hiddenite Center.

Mr. Coley presented names for a Steering Committee to begin the e-NC process for Alexander County. These included the following:

Keith Hertzler, Chamber of Commerce
Renee Edwards, Public School System
Carrie Richards, Health Department
Josh Millsaps, Criminal Justice Department
Dwaine Coley, Hiddenite Center
Susie Barkley, CVCC
E.T. "Pete" Petrie, Public Citizen
Doris Stephens, Library
Greg Cronk, Information Technology
Angela Johnson, Senior Center
Gary Herman, Taylorsville Times
Rob Moody, Charter Communications
Mike Dunn, Bellsouth

Jimmy Moretz, Public Citizen

Mr. Coley also requested confirmation that Alexander County had contracted with the RIAA for the $10,000 grant as well as approval to contract with the Hiddenite Center and staff to lead this e-NC effort for Alexander County in the amount of $10,000.

Commissioner Robertson asked if old surplus computers would be useful to this project. Mr. Coley replied that they would.

Commissioner Watts made a motion to approve the Steering Committee, to confirm that Alexander County had contracted with RIAA for a $10,000 grant, and to contract with the Hiddenite Center and staff to lead the e-NC effort for Alexander County. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

PLANS FOR THE 4TH OF JULY CELEBRATION

Ben Hines, Register of Deeds, and Seth Chapman, Clerk of Court, presented a tentative schedule of events and costs for an Independence Day Celebration. The schedule included the following:

June 29, 2002

Time Event Place Cost
7-10 AM Breakfast Vashti Fire Dept. Pay as you go
11-1 PM Parade / Lunch Vashti Fire Dept. Free / Pay as you go
3-5 PM Parade Taylorsville Free Admission
7-9 PM US Army Band Concert ACHS Gym Free Admission
* Travel $970.00
* Meals $270.00
* Billeting $1,533.25

July 4, 2002

Time Event Place Cost
12 Noon Old Fashion 4th ACHS Football Field Free Admission
12-until Food Vendors

" " "

Pay as you go
12:15 PM Post the Colors (DAV)(VFW)

" " "

Free
2 PM Local Pilot Fly-over

" " "

Free
3 PM Parachute Jump Demo

" " "

$1,500.00
4 PM Parade of Car Clubs

" " "

Free
5-9 PM Games / Singing

" " "

Free
9 PM Speakers (4)

" " "

Free
* "What Freedom Means to Me"
9:45 PM Fireworks

" " "

$1,800.00
10 PM Town of Taylorsville Mayor Remarks

" " "

Free
County Commissioners Remarks

" " "

Free
Closing Prayer for our Nation

" " "

Free
Song: God Bless America (All)

" " "

Free

Mr. Hines noted that the US Army Band would be traveling from Fort Bragg and that David Icenhour’s father would be in the lead plane during the fly-over.

Mr. Hines introduced Brent Stine, Sky Dive Carolina, who would be performing the parachute jump. Mr. Hines also noted that the price for the jump would be $1,600 instead $1,500. Mr. Stine stated that the performance would include 3 jumpers, one holding the County Flag and one holding the American Flag. Mr. Stine also explained that they had $1 million worth of insurance and that they were USPA affiliated. Mr. Stine also mentioned that the jump would be weather oriented and would not take place if it was windy, rainy, or if the ceiling was heavy which could cause dangerous conditions.

Mr. Chapman stated that Jerry Harmon would be providing the musical entertainment. Mr. Harmon is a resident of Rocky Springs and is trying to make it in Nashville, Tennessee. Mr. Chapman stated that they wanted a good show and expected a cost of approximately $2,000.

Mr. Hines noted that Larry Yoder, an Alexander County resident, knew someone affiliated with the New England Patriots and would try to get someone from the team to be at the Independence Day Celebration to speak on freedom and patriotism.

Michael Killian, who has been federally licensed in pyrotechnics for 14 years, discussed the fireworks show. Mr. Killian stated that all of his technicians were certified and went to school each year to get updated on new techniques. Fireworks display options and costs were discussed with the Board. Mr. Killian recommended spending at least $3,000 for a good show and stated that this fee was simply to pay the technicians. Mr. Killian also stated that he would like to have a fireworks show of the American Flag included in the Independence Day show. The team will purchase $100,000 worth of insurance for the event and will get a permit from the Fire Marshal.

Mr. Hines felt that the Board should decide what they wanted for the fireworks display. Chairman Harbinson suggested Mr. Hines and Mr. Chapman meet with Rick French County Manager, to discuss options for the Independence Day Celebration. Chairman Harbinson also suggested that Commissioners Robertson and Odom work with Mr. Hines, Mr. Chapman, and Mr. French to prepare and finalize these plans.

Commissioner Watts made a motion to appoint Commissioners Robertson and Odom to work with Ben Hines, Register of Deeds; Seth Chapman, Clerk of Court; and Rick French, County Manager to prepare and finalize plans for the Independence Day Celebration. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

PUBLIC HEARING: SECOND PUBLIC HEARING FOR SCATTERED SITE HOUSING PROGRAM FOR 2002

Nancy Coley, WPCOG Community Development Administrator, conducted the public hearing to receive citizen’s comments before submitting the application for Alexander County’s Scattered Site Housing Program for 2002. The objective of the program is to improve the housing conditions of low-income households with incomes at or below 50% of the area median income.

Ms. Coley stated that the purpose of the $400,000 grant would be to rehabilitate at least 7 homes owned and occupied by persons with very low income. Included in the $400,000 is $40,000 (10%) for administrative expenses and $3,500 for planning. Ms. Coley noted that the grant application proposes to give priority to homes owned by the elderly, disabled, single-parent, or homes with severe on-site wastewater problems. The grant application will also provide for clearance and reconstruction if a home cannot be rehabilitated in a cost-effective manner.

Ms. Coley informed the Board that a selection committee was included in the application that would evaluate the housing rehabilitation applications and make the final selection of the 7 homes. Staff contacted the following individuals and has recommended that they be appointment to this committee:

David Robinette Brent Davis
Angell Barnes David Icenhour
Doug Ferguson Sterling Howard
Doug Kerley Angela Johnson
Patti Foster

Ms. Coley requested approval of the Authorizing Resolution and submission of the Scattered Site Housing application to the Division of Community Assistance, North Carolina Department of Commerce.

Chairman asked for public comment. There being no public comment, Commissioner Watts made a motion to close the public hearing. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

Commissioner Odom made a motion to approve the Authorizing Resolution and to submit the application for the Scattered Site Housing Program to the Division of Community Assistance. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

PUBLIC HEARING: THREE FORKS CHURCH ROAD / WOOD ROAD / LITTLE RIVER CHURCH ROAD CDBG #99-C-0581 CLOSEOUT

Nancy Coley, WPCOG Community Development Administrator, conducted the public hearing to receive citizen’s comments before submitting the Closeout Performance Report for CDBG 99-C-0581, Three Forks Church Road / Wood Road / Little River Church Road Water Project.

Ms. Coley explained that the purpose of the $720,625 infrastructure grant was to construct public water lines on Three Forks Church Road, Wood Road, Little River Church Road, a portion of Glass Road, Parsonville Road, and McDuffie Court. A booster pumping station was constructed on Little River Church Road, and a water tank was constructed on McDuffie Court.

Ms. Coley noted that the county had successfully completed this project serving 104 households and 275 residents. Approximately 89% of those benefiting from the grant were low or moderate income and CDBG funds financed 78% of the total project.

The Board instructed Ms. Coley to submit the Closeout Performance Report and thanked her for her work with submitting so many successful grant applications on the county’s behalf.

PUBLIC HEARING: REZONING CASE 02-1

Sylvia Turnmire, Director of Planning & Development, conducted the public hearing for consideration of Rezoning Case 02-1 submitted by Steve Icenhour. Mr. Icenhour requested rezoning of property located on the southeastern corner of Carrigan Road (SR 1111) and C.I. Chapman Court (SR 1112) from R-20 (Residential) to H-C (Highway-Commercial). The property is 7.87 acres in size and is currently vacant. Ms. Turnmire stated that zoning within 100 feet of the property was RA-20 (Residential-Agricultural) on all sides. There is a single-family site-built residence to the north of the property, a proposed sawmill to the south, a vacant lot (proposed church site) to the east, and agriculture to the west. The site is served by a 6-inch waterline from the Town of Taylorsville.

Ms. Turnmire stated that the property fell into the Limited Transition area in the Alexander County Land Development Plan which is an area to provide for development in areas that will have some services but that are only suitable for lower development densities than those found in the urban transition areas.

Ms. Turnmire stated that the applicant had a sale pending on the rezoning of this property to a potential buyer who wishes to relocate his recreational vehicle repair business from Catawba County to this site. Ms. Turnmire stated that none of the adjacent properties were zoned commercial but noted that an adjacent property would be used commercially but was approved before countywide zoning was adopted.

A protest petition was submitted from adjoining property owners in opposition to the rezoning requested which is hereby made a part of these minutes. Ms. Turnmire presented maps to the Board which illustrated where each adjoining property was located.

Ms. Turnmire stated that the Planning & Zoning Commission recommended denial of the rezoning requests due to the protest petition, comments made from adjacent property owners at the February 7, 2002 Planning & Zoning Commission meeting, and the issue of "spot zoning".

The issue of "spot zoning" was discussed. Ms. Turnmire read the General Statute regarding "spot zoning" which stated that spot zoning was unlawful and that county officials did not have the authority to "spot zone". Ms. Turnmire explained that property owners could still request "spot zoning" and that the issue must be brought to the Board of Commissioners.

Commissioner Robertson asked how "spot zoning" could be any more illegal or unlawful than "spot annexation". The Board expressed concerns of lawsuits due to making a decision without being properly informed of the legal limits of counties on "spot zoning".

Chairman Harbinson stated that he didn’t feel comfortable voting on a "spot zoning" issue until it was reviewed by the County Attorney and suggested tabling the rezoning case. Chairman Harbinson also asked the Board to consider letting everyone present at the public hearing speak with the County Attorney.

Commissioner Hammer expressed concerns about the waiting period and noted that this zoning request began on November 30, 2002.

Commissioner Odom stated that he would like to hear what everyone present at the public hearing had to say. Chairman Harbinson stated that the comments could be taped and a transcript could be given to the County Attorney.

Commissioner Odom also felt that Ms. Turnmire should have all rules clarified before holding a public hearing.

Public Comment

Steve Icenhour, owner of property requested for rezoning, stated that there was no opposition when he purchased the property and felt that if the neighbors were worried about what happened to the property they would have bought it themselves. Mr. Icenhour stated that he had difficulty understanding the zoning laws which made it difficult to present a solid case. Mr. Icenhour stated that he felt the adjoining property owners had been misinformed and misled and explained that most of the property owners that spoke at the February 7, 2002 Planning & Zoning Commission meeting were opposed to the sawmill. Mr. Icenhour also noted that information was incorrect at the meeting and the map was wrong. Mr. Icenhour stated that he understood the adjoining property owners concerns but felt that the proposed business would generate revenue during the difficult economic time. Mr. Icenhour also felt that an industrial business would generate more revenue than agriculture and that this particular business would be beneficial to the county and emergency services.

Doug Kirby, owner of the proposed business, stated that his business in Catawba County had grown and he needed a larger facility. Mr. Kirby stated that his business would help the emergency services in the county and noted that he already did business with several in the county. Mr. Kirby mentioned that there was a similar business at the end of Carrigan Road that had recently closed that no one had complained about.

Monique Warren stated that she had lived here for over 30 years and did not feel that this business would be the highest investment for the subject property. Ms. Warren informed the Board that she had her Real Estate license and did appraisals for real estate. Ms. Warren read the definition of "spot zoning" from her Real Estate license book which stated that "spot zoning" was the illegal singling out of a property for inconsistent treatment. Ms. Warren read an article from the Catawba Valley Neighbors which quoted Chairman Harbinson stated that we should preserve farmland. Ms. Warren stated that the proposed business may produce revenues but it would hurt the surrounding property value. Ms. Warren requested denial of the rezoning request.

Darren Webb expressed concerns with zoning the subject property H-C (Highway-Commercial) and stated that if Mr. Kirby decided to move his business again, anything could move into the lot. Mr. Webb stated that he didn’t want the shop in his backyard and would like to see the property remain as residential or agricultural. Mr. Webb also noted that he had been interested in the property, but when he found out that it had been for sale, the property had already been purchased.

John D. Carrigan stated that he owned property on both sides of the subject property and was against anything but agriculture being put on the property. Mr. Carrigan stated that he had worked that land since he was 9 years old and did not want it to be turned into an industry or trailer park. Mr. Carrigan also requested denial of the rezoning request.

Shields Jolly stated that the subject land had been in the Carrigan family for over 50 years and that it had always been farmland. Mr. Jolly stated that the south side of the property all the way back to the water tank on Fairground Road was all farmland, hayfields, and pastures. Mr. Jolly stated that he understood the proposed business would generate more revenue but felt that you can’t put a price tag on a peaceful neighborhood. Mr. Jolly also read an article from the February 10, 2002 edition of the Hickory Daily Record which discussed the community grants project for beautification of communities. Mr. Jolly commended the Board for the effort to beautify the communities but urged the Board to deny the rezoning request.

Commissioner Robertson asked how long the property was up for sale. Mr. Jolly stated that several adjoining property owners had called about the property and the then owners had said they wouldn’t sell the property. The property was later sold. Mr. Jolly stated that the "For Sale" sign was posted for about 2 weeks.

Commissioner Odom asked Ms. Turnmire to name all permitted uses for property zoned RA-20. Ms. Turnmire stated that permitted uses included site-built homes, modular homes, manufactured homes, duplexes, multi-family homes, agricultural, and manufactured parks.

Commissioner Watts asked if a buffer would be required for the proposed business. Ms. Turnmire replied that a 10 foot buffer would be required on the sides and the rear of the property.

Commissioner Odom inquired about the shop located at the end of Carrigan Road that was mentioned and asked if the shop would be grandfathered if it reopened. Ms. Turnmire stated that it would depend on how long the shop was closed.

John D. Carrigan’s sister was present at the meeting and informed the Board that she had called about purchasing the property and they told her that they weren’t going to sell the property. The property was then sold and nobody knew anything about it.

Commissioner Odom applauded Mr. Kirby for wanting to relocate his business in Alexander County and urged him not to get discouraged. Commissioner Odom stated that the Board just wanted what was best for each neighborhood and was not opposed to growth. Commissioner Odom addressed the property owners that were opposed to the rezoning by urging them to be aware that there were many permitted uses to property zoned R-20 or RA-20. Commissioner Odom gave an example of an incident on Mt. Wesley Church Road where there was a proposed business that the neighbors were opposed to. Later something else moved onto the property and the neighbors said they wished they hadn’t opposed the first business. Commissioner Odom also noted that the residents lived in a transitional area and that change would come.

There being no further public comment, Commissioner Hammer made a motion to close the public hearing. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

Chairman Harbinson suggested tabling the rezoning case to the March 5, 2002 Commissioners’ Meeting and urged those present at the meeting to try and work out their differences before that time. The Board discussed holding a work session before that time to discuss the rezoning case further.

Commissioner Robertson made a motion to table Rezoning Case 02-1 to no later than March 5, 2002 to allow the County Attorney to review the issue of spot zoning in order for the Board to make an informed decision. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

PUBLIC HEARING: REZONING CASE 02-2

Sylvia Turnmire, Director of Planning & Development, conducted the public hearing for consideration of Rezoning Case 02-2 submitted by Carlos Steffey. Mr. Steffey has requested rezoning of property located west of Highway 127 and north of Telephone Exchange Road (SR 1147) from R-20 (Residential) to H-C (Highway-Commercial). The property is 4.83 acres and is currently a singe family residential dwelling. Ms. Turnmire stated that zoning within 100 feet of the property was RA-20 (Residential-Agricultural) on all sides. There is a multi-family duplex to the north of the property, and property to the south, east, and west is vacant. The site is served by a 12-inch waterline from the City of Hickory.

Ms. Turnmire noted that the property fell into the urban transition area in the Alexander County Land Development Plan which is an area to provide for future intensive urban development on lands that are suitable and that will be provided with the necessary urban services to support intense urban development. If the request is approved, the applicant proposes to erect at 100 foot by 200 foot metal building to be used for light and heavy equipment rental and storage. The applicant also wishes to base his cable burying business on this site.

Surrounding land uses are primarily single family residential. Ms. Turnmire stated that the Planning & Zoning Commission recommended denial of the rezoning requests due to comments made from adjacent property owners at the February 7, 2002 Planning & Zoning Meeting and the issue of "spot zoning".

Public Comment

Jerry Campbell, Mr. Steffey’s attorney, spoke on behalf of Mr. Steffey, who was in Georgia. Mr. Campbell stated that Mr. Steffey had been an Alexander County resident for more than 30 years and would like to base his business, C&S Cable and Construction, on the subject property. Mr. Campbell stated that the property was currently unattractive and "junky looking" and that Mr. Steffey planned to make the property attractive complete with buffers if the rezoning request was approved. Mr. Campbell also discussed the issue of "spot zoning" and explained that "spot zoning" was not illegal or unlawful if you have a clear showing of a reasonable basis for the "spot zoning". Mr. Campbell stated that commercial use would be the best use for the subject property and requested that the rezoning be approved.

Brenda Lail stated she was concerned about "spot zoning" and noted that the area was residential. Ms. Lail explained that the subject property had been in her family for over 100 years and was owned by her grandfather, then by her mother, and then by her brother. Ms. Lail also stated that she was disappointed that the land left her family and noted that she would have purchased the land if she had known it was for sale. Ms. Lail stated that a commercial business would cause more traffic for the school areas and requested denial of the rezoning request.

Debbie Houser stated that she owned property behind and across the road from the subject property totaling 13 acres. Ms. Houser stated that she agreed with Ms. Lail’s comments and also requested denial of the rezoning request.

Charles Bolick stated that the subject land was owned by his grandparents and explained that the property had went "down hill" since Mr. Steffey purchased the property. Mr. Bolick stated that there were lots of junk cars parked there and that weeds had grown up around. Mr. Bolick felt that the property would look even worse if it were rezoned as commercial property.

Wes Bolick stated that he wished the property could have stayed with the family and that he was opposed to the rezoning of the property.

Commissioner Hammer asked if there was some assurance from Mr. Steffey that the trash and vehicles would be cleaned up. Mr. Campbell replied that Mr. Steffey would clean up the property if the rezoning request was approved.

Commissioner Robertson suggested tabling the rezoning case due to the spot zoning issue discussed in the preceding rezoning case public hearing.

There being no further public comment, Commissioner Robertson made a motion to close the public hearing. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

Commissioner Robertson made a motion to table Rezoning Case 02-2 to no later than March 5, 2002 to allow the County Attorney to review the issue of spot zoning in order for the Board to make an informed decision. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

CONSIDERATION OF ABC BOARD REQUEST

Commissioner Watts discussed the request from the ABC Board to turn over ABC Funds totaling $5, 865.03 for the Alexander Community Hospital to the Town of Taylorsville. Frankie Watts gave the request at the January 22, 2002 Commissioners’ Meeting.

Commissioner Watts stated that he had reviewed the numbers and noted that the county would see a return for a similar amount spent by the Town on the new CVCC building and that the funds were just being redirected through the Town.

Commissioner Watts made a motion to approve the ABC Board request to turn over the ABC Funds for Alexander Community Hospital to the Town of Taylorsville. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

REPORT ON PUBLIC SAFETY COUNCIL

Commissioner Odom reported that the Public Safety Council held its first meeting Tuesday, February 5, 2002 at 6:00 PM in the DSS Conference Room. Items discussed at the meeting included the adjustment of the fire tax due to revaluation and the new EMS regulations. Commissioner Odom noted that the next meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, March 11, 2002 at 6:00 PM in the Agriculture Extension Learning Center in the Administration Building.

BOARD APPOINTMENTS / REAPPOINTMENTS

Chairman Harbinson presented the following appointments and reappointments:

    1. PLANNING & ZONING COMMISSION
    2. Appoint Eric Fritz 2-year term

    3. BOARD OF HEALTH

Appoint Dr. David Linzey 3-year term

Sylvia Turnmire, Director of Planning & Development, stated that Eric Fritz would be replacing Margo Mosley on the Planning & Zoning Commission. Ms. Mosley was informed from the State that the appointment was a conflict of interest and could no longer serve.

Commissioner Robertson made a motion to approve the appointments and reappointments as presented. Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

OTHER BUSINESS

The following items were discussed during Other Business:

    1. Mr. French stated that the county had purchased some surplus property from Alexander County Schools including items such as chairs, shelves, tables, and icemaker, a refrigerator, etc in the amount of $43.00. Mr. French stated that he had spoken with Caldwell County officials who were interested in trading some equipment from their Register of Deeds Office for 3 pieces of recreational equipment. Mr. French requested the Board declare the property as surplus so it could be exchanged with Caldwell County.
    2. Commissioner Robertson made a motion to declare the property as surplus to allow and exchange with Caldwell County. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

    3. Chairman Harbinson discussed the county logo and stated that he had received no objections regarding redesigning the logo. Chairman Harbinson suggested allowing David Icenhour, Human Resources/Public Information Director, to organize the project and involve the citizens in the process.
    4. Commissioner Robertson made a motion to proceed with the redesigning of the county logo. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

    5. Mr. French also noted that the LEPC minutes and information were included in the Information Section of the Board’s agenda packets.

CONSENT AGENDA

  1. Tax Release Requests for January $406.70 and Tax Refund Requests for January $21,181.74.
  2. Minutes from January 22, 2002 Special Called Meeting.
  3. Budget Amendments #12-#16.

Commissioner Odom made a motion to approve the Consent Agenda as presented. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

CLOSED SESSION – N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5) CONTRACTUAL

Commissioner Hammer made a motion to enter into Closed Session at 9:33 PM to discuss contractual matter pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5). Commissioner Odom seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business, Commissioner Robertson made a motion to adjourn at 9:55 PM. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

 

                                                                                                           

  Joel C. Harbinson, Chairman           Jamie C. Millsaps, Clerk to the Board