Draft

BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS 

ALEXANDER COUNTY

SPECIAL CALLED MEETING

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA

June 27, 2002

PRESENT: John F. Watts, Chairman
William L. Hammer, Vice-Chairman
Joel C. Harbinson
W. Darrell Robertson
ABSENT: David S. Odom
STAFF: Rick French, County Manager
David Icenhour, Human Resources /  Public Information Director
Jamie Millsaps, Clerk to the Board

 

The Alexander County Board of Commissioners held a Special Called Meeting on Thursday, June 27, 2002 in the Commissioners’ Room of the Alexander County Courthouse, Taylorsville, North Carolina.

CALL TO ORDER

Chairman Watts called the meeting to order at 7:00 PM.

RECOGNITION OF BOY SCOUTS MEMBER

Chairman Watts recognized Joel King from Boy Scouts Troop #274 and explained that Mr. King was attending the meeting to earn a merit badge. The Board welcomed Mr. King and his father to the meeting.

ADOPTION OF AGENDA

Commissioner Hammer made a motion to adopt the agenda as presented. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

PUBLIC HEARING: DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION ABANDONMENT OF A PORTION OF SR1431 / DANIELS RIDGE ROAD

John Cook, Alexander County Maintenance Engineer, presented a request from the NC Department of Transportation to abandon a portion of SR1431 (Daniels Ridge Road). Mr. Cook explained that the abandonment request was due to a realignment in conjunction with the Secondary Road Construction Program improvement project.

Commissioner Robertson asked if all property owners involved were aware of the abandonment. Mr. Cook replied that all property owners had been made aware of the abandonment request.

Public Comment

George Daniels, resident of Daniels Ridge Road, inquired about the use of the portion of Daniels Ridge Road to be abandoned. Mr. Cook explained that the portion of the road abandoned would be left as is and would be reverted back to the property owners. Mr. Cook also noted that the State would not keep the right of way on the portion of the road to be abandoned.

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 approve the abandonment a portion of SR1431 (Daniels Ridge Road) as requested. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

PUBLIC HEARING: REZONING CASE 02-6: KING

Sylvia Turnmire, Director of Planning and Development, presented Rezoning Case 02-6 submitted by J. Harold King. Mr. King requested rezoning of property located at 5565 Icard Ridge Road from R-20 (Residential) to H-C (Highway-Commercial). The size of the property is 3.32 acres and the current land use is boat sales, service, and storage. Ms. Turnmire stated that zoning within 100 feet of the property was R-20 (Residential) to the north, south, east, and west. There are legal non-conforming greenhouses and vacant property to the north as well as vacant property to the south. There are also 2 manufactured homes, a single-family site-built residence, and vacant property to the east and 2 single-family site-built residences and vacant property to the west.

Ms. Turnmire stated that current structures on the property included a 3,300 square foot cinderblock principal building and an 800 square foot accessory building. There is also approximately 1.5 acres of open boat storage on the property. Ms. Turnmire stated that Icard Ridge Road was served by a 6-inch water line but noted that there was no sewer service available. Icard Ridge Road is classified by the NCDOT as an "Urban Thoroughfare" north of the intersection with Hubbard Road.

Ms. Turnmire explained that Bethlehem zoning was adopted in 1987. The business located on this property was established in 1989 and the zoning permit issued on September 18, 1989 lists the zoning of the property as H-C (Highway-Commercial). However, Ms. Turnmire noted that staff had looked at all available Bethlehem zoning maps which showed the property as being zoned R-20 (Residential).

Ms. Turnmire stated that the property was surrounded by residential zoning which created an issue of spot zoning. Ms. Turnmire noted that the County Attorney had researched the issue of spot zoning and found it "invalid or illegal unless there was a clear reasonable basis for treating the singled out property differently from adjacent land." Ms. Turnmire explained that for any case involving spot zoning the Board must address two questions including:

    1. Did the zoning activity in the case constitute spot zoning as our courts have defined that term?
    2. If so, did the rezoning authority make a clear showing of a reasonable basis for the zoning?

The clear reasonable basis can be determined by reviewing four factors:

    1. The size of the tract.
    2. The compatibility of the disputed zoning action with an existing comprehensive plan.
    3. The benefits and detriments resulting from the rezoning action for the petitioning property owner, neighbors, and surrounding community.
    4. The relationship between the uses envisioned under the new zoning and the current used of adjacent land.

Ms. Turnmire discussed staff comments in regard to these factors which included:

2(a) Size of the tract: The subject property is 3.32 acres. The surrounding properties are:

West – 9.2 acres, 4.52 acres, .5 acres, .71 acres, 1.10 acres, and 1.54 acres
North – 1.96 acres and 1.93 acres
South - .43 acres and .50 acres
East - .72 acres, .52 acres, .46 acres, and .50 acres

2(b) The compatibility of the disputed zoning action with an existing comprehensive plan:

    1. Section 154.170: The purpose of the H-C (Highway-Commercial) District is to provide suitable locations for those commercial activities which serve primarily the traveling public, including those which function rather independently of each other.
    2. Section 154.145: The R-20 (Residential) District is established to provide quiet, low-density living areas consisting of only single family and related uses necessary for sound neighborhoods. The regulations for this district are designed to stabilize and encourage a healthful environment for family life in areas where public or community water or sewer facilities may be available and protect and provide for sound residential development of areas along the scenic shoreline of Lake Hickory (Catawba River).
    3. The Alexander County 1993 Comprehensive Plan identifies Bethlehem as an "Urban Transition" area which is to provide for future intensive urban development on lands that are suitable to support urban service and growth.

2(c) The benefits and detriments resulting from the zoning action for the petitioning property owner, neighbors, and surrounding community:

Ms. Turnmire stated that the Board must determine what effect the rezoning would have upon the entire community as a social, economic, and political unit.

2(d) The relationship between the uses envisioned under the new zoning and the current uses of adjacent land:

Ms. Turnmire explained that if the property was rezoned to H-C (Highway-Commercial), any use listed in the use matrix would be allowed, not just the current use of the property. All immediate adjacent land is used for residential purposes. There are 2 properties zoned H-C (Highway-Commercial) in the neighborhood which include and automobile body shop/machine shop located approximately 1,300 feet to the north and a boat marina located approximately 450 feet to the south.

Ms. Turnmire informed the Board that the Planning & Zoning Commission met on June 25, 2002 to review this request and unanimously recommended denial of the rezoning request. However, Ms. Turnmire stated that earlier today, June 27, 2002, tax maps of the property were discovered which listed the property zoned as H-C (Highway-Commercial). Ms. Turnmire noted that the Planning & Zoning Commission nor the County Attorney had reviewed this information which showed the property zoned as H-C (Highway-Commercial).

Commissioner Robertson asked why the zoning would have been changed from H-C to R-20. Ms. Turnmire felt that the property may have been labeled as being zoned R-20 in error during the process of countywide zoning.

Commissioner Harbinson asked if there was a sale pending on the property. Ms. Turnmire stated that the property owners were looking to sell the property.

Public Comment

Jim Osborne, Jim King’s Son-in-Law, stated that when the marina portion of the property was purchased in 1987, the Alexander County Planning & Inspections Office was contacted in regard to the zoning and was informed by the Planning & Inspections Office that the property was zoned H-C (Highway-Commercial). Mr. Osborne distributed copies of a zoning permit issued in 1988 by the Alexander County Planning & Inspections Office for a 10,000 square foot which shows that the property was zoned H-C (Highway-Commercial). Mr. Osborne explained that in 1989, before purchasing the property in question, they again checked with the Planning & Inspections Office and was informed that this property was also zoned H-C (Highway-Commercial). Mr. Osborne distributed copies of another permit issued in 1989 by the Planning & Inspections Office for a 6,000 square foot building service shop which also showed that the property was zoned H-C (Highway-Commercial). Mr. Osborne noted the property was refinanced and reappraised by Charles Snipes, Bank of Granite in Hickory, in 1993 and was again found to be zoned as H-C (Highway-Commercial). Mr. Osborne noted that in 1997, they had visions for a restaurant on the property and had to get documentation from the Planning & Inspections Office which showed that the property was in fact zoned H-C (Highway-Commercial). Mr. Osborne distributed copies of a letter from the Planning & Inspections Office dated December 5, 1997 in regard to the proposed restaurant which clearly stated that the 3 parcels of land located at the end of Icard Ridge Road were zoned H-C (Highway-Commercial). Mr. Osborne explained that in the process of selling the marina portion of the property in 1999, they found that the zoning on the property had been changed to R-20 (Residential) and noted that they were not contacted or informed of the change in any way.

Commissioner Harbinson asked if the Planning & Zoning Commission and the County Attorney had reviewed the information presented by Mr. Osborne. Ms. Turnmire stated the Planning & Zoning Commission and County Attorney had reviewed all copies of the permits and reappraisal but had not seen the December 5, 1997 letter or the tax maps discovered today.

Commissioner Robertson asked Mr. Osborne if he received a letter after adoption of countywide zoning in 2001 in regard to the rezoning of his property. Mr. Osborne replied that he did not receive a letter. Ms. Turnmire explained that letters were not sent to property owners in Bethlehem or Highway 64 after adoption of countywide zoning because those areas already had zoning.

Roger Drum felt that the property should remain R-20 (Residential) since all surrounding property was zoned as such. Mr. Drum explained that his father-in-law had purchased the property in 1950, sold lots, and built the marina in 1957 or 1958. Mr. Drum stated that he knew the property in question was purchased to build a home. Mr. Drum stated that the neighborhood was nice and he wanted it to stay that way and felt that if the property was zoned H-C (Highway-Commercial), almost anything would be allowed on the property, even junkyards.

The Board asked Ms. Turnmire to state what uses would be allowed under H-C (Highway-Commercial) zoning. Ms. Turnmire stated that any retail or service business would be allowed as well as restaurants, medical or dental offices, automobile dealerships, etc. Ms. Turnmire noted that a junkyard would not be allowed under H-C (Highway-Commercial) zoning.

Mr. Drum asked if a steel erecting business would be allowed. Ms. Turnmire replied that that type of business would be allowed.

Lisa McFarlin stated that her in-laws purchased their property and built a log home in 1989 as well as a seawall, dock, etc. Ms. McFarlin stated that it had always been her in-laws intend to divide their property between their children. Ms. McFarlin stated that she didn’t realize that the property had been zoned H-C (Highway-Commercial) and noted that she didn’t want to live next to a business. Ms. McFarlin stated that the entire neighborhood was surrounded by residential zoning and felt that this property should remain zoned R-20 (Residential).

Nancy Barnes stated that she and her husband had purchased the marina portion of the property located at the end of Icard Ridge Road. Ms. Barnes stated that they were informed that the property was zoned H-C (Highway Commercial) and later found out that it was zoned R-20 (Residential). Ms. Barnes felt that the Planning & Zoning Commission should be the deciding factor in the situation instead of a map.

Robin Osborne, daughter of Jim King, stated that Steve Boyd operated the wood shop portion of their property, zoned H-C (Highway-Commercial), from 1980 to 1984 and earned approximately $70,000 to $90,000 per year. Ms. Osborne stated that no one in the neighborhood was opposed to the service shop when it was built and noted that Charles Snipes, Bank of Granite in Hickory, says that he would have never loaned the Osbornes money if the property had not been zoned H-C (Highway-Commercial). Ms. Osborne stated that they were never informed of any change in zoning and felt that the H-C (Highway-Commercial) zoning should take effect due to the amount of proof presented to the Board.

There being no further public comment, Chairman Watts suggested continuing the public hearing to allow the Planning & Zoning Commission and the County Attorney to review the newly found information. Commissioner Harbinson asked when the next Planning & Zoning Commission meeting was to be held. Ms. Turnmire stated that the next meeting was scheduled for July 18, 2002. Chairman Watts suggested possibly holding a special meeting before July 18, 2002 in order to get this rezoning case resolved. Chairman Watts also instructed Ms. Turnmire to contact all property owners in the area in regard to this meeting.

Commissioner Harbinson noted that he knew the Osbornes and had docked his boat at their property for a period of time. Commissioner Harbinson felt that he should possibly recuse himself from voting when the Board considered this rezoning case. Commissioner Harbinson stated that he would like for the County Attorney to advise him on possibly taking a recusal in this matter.

Commissioner Robertson suggested that Ms. Turnmire also check the building permits to see if different inspectors had issued the permits.

PUBLIC HEARING: REZONING CASE 02-8: LACKEY

Sylvia Turnmire, Director of Planning & Development, presented Rezoning Case 02-5 submitted by Gilbert F. & Sheri A. Lackey. Mr. & Mrs. Lackey requested rezoning of property located Off Wellman Road from RA-20 (Residential-Agricultural) to H-C (Highway-Commercial). The size of the property is 12 acres and the current land use is vacant. Ms. Turnmire stated that zoning within 100 feet of the property was RA-20 to the north, south, east, and west. There is a manufactured home (under construction) and vacant property to the north, vacant property to the south, a single-family site-built residence and agriculture to the east, and manufactured homes and vacant property to the west.

Ms. Turnmire stated that the applicant proposed to locate a truck and automobile repair and alignment shop on the property. Ms. Turnmire also noted that only a portion of Wellman Road was served by public water and that the 4-inch line stopped at the Liberty Manor Subdivision north of the property. Sewer service is also not available.

Ms. Turnmire stated that since the property was surrounded by residential zoning it created an issue of spot zoning as discussed earlier. Ms. Turnmire informed the Board that the surrounding properties were:

West – 1 acre and .7 acres
North – 1.17 acres, .75 acres, .75 acres, and .64 acres
South – 24.26 acres
East – 83.09 acres

Ms. Turnmire noted that the property was lying in the "Limited Transition" area which provides development in areas that will have some services that are only suitable for lower densities than those associated with the Urban Transition class and are geographically remote from exiting towns and municipalities.

Ms. Turnmire informed the Board that the Planning & Zoning Commission met on June 25, 2002 to review this request and unanimously recommended approval of the rezoning request. Ms. Turnmire stated that staff had received one call from Owen Icenhour who was in favor of the rezoning request. However, Mr. Icenhour informed Ms. Turnmire that there was currently a property line dispute involving himself and Mr. Lackey.

Public Comment

Frank Lackey, property owner, stated that he purchased the property 2 years ago from Pearson Properties with hopes of opening automobile repair shop to earn a decent living since he was out of work. Mr. Lackey stated that he and his wife also had plans to have a greenhouse, cattle, and horse. Mr. Lackey stated that the property was buffered by woods and would be kept looking nice.

Chairman Watts inquired about the property line dispute. Mr. Lackey stated that Owen Icenhour’s fence was torn down when Hurricane Hugo came through and noted that when Mr. Icenhour put his fence back up, he placed his fence on Mr. Lackey’s property as well as some other neighbors’ property. Mr. Lackey stated that the corners were right but that the fence bowed in on his property and his neighbors’ property approximately 15 feet. Mr. Lackey stated that his property had been surveyed by Wesley Fox and Carl Bunton and noted that both surveyors showed Mr. Icenhour’s fence on his property.

Chairman Watts advised Mr. Lackey to settle the dispute as soon as possible to avoid future misunderstandings.

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

Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to approve Rezoning Case 02-8. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

RECOGNITION OF BOY SCOUTS MEMBER

At this time, Chairman Watts invited Joel King, Boy Scouts Troop #274, to sit in Commissioner Odom’s chair during his absence at the meeting. Mr. King did so throughout the remainder of the meeting.

AWARD BID FOR SOCIAL SERVICES CONGREGATE AND HOME DELIVERED MEALS

Nan Campbell, Director of Social Services, informed the Board that informal bids were requested for the provisions of meals served daily at the congregate nutrition sites at Stony Point Baptist Church and Friendship Lutheran Church. Meals are also prepared and individually packaged for the Home Delivery program with drop-off locations at the congregate sites and Bethlehem Baptist Church. Ms. Campbell stated that a total of 20,396 meals were furnished in 2001-2002 and noted that Moore’s Ridge Catering had provided quality meals for this program for the past 4 years. Ms. Campbell noted that Moore’s Ridge Catering was the only firm equipped to provide this service in the immediate area, and the only firm to submit a bid for the service. Ms. Campbell requested the Board to award the contract again to Moore’s Ridge Catering for 2002-2003 for a cost of $2.96 per meal plus tax. This will total $3.15 per meal for a total contract cost not to exceed $60,372 (excluding tax) and $64,248 (including tax). Ms. Campbell noted that the program was funded through Home and Community Care Block Grant.

Commissioner Hammer made a motion to award the contract for congregate and home delivered meals to Moore’s Ridge Catering for 2002-2003. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

BOARD APPOINTMENTS AND REAPPOINTMENTS

Chairman Watts presented the following appointment:

Jerry Mayes – 3 yr. appointment to the Town of Taylorsville Board of Adjustments (ETJ)

Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to approve the appointment. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

CONSIDERATION OF 2002-2003 INTERIM BUDGET ORDINANCE

Rick French, County Manager, presented the 2002-2003 Interim Budget "Resolution" and explained that the Budget Ordinance would be presented when the actual budget was adopted.

Mr. French explained that word had not been received from the State as to whether or not the half-cent local option sales tax would be approved. Therefore, an interim budget is necessary. Mr. French noted that an interim budget would only include salaries, required debt, and utilities.

Mr. French stated that staff would need to inform the NC Department of Revenue by July 15, 2002 in order to enact the local option sales tax by August 1, 2002. Commissioner Hammer noted that he had spoken with Representative Tracy Walker who is in favor of the proposed local option sales tax.

Commissioner Harbinson stated that 66 out of 100 counties had adopted a resolution to enact the half-cent local option sales tax or had scheduled public hearings for such. Commissioner Harbinson stated that an additional half-cent sales tax was something that this board and previous boards had always wanted in order to distribute taxes more fairly to all people instead of just property owners. Commissioner Harbinson noted that it was never intended to replace inventory tax reimbursements. Commissioner Harbinson explained that the interim budget would allow time for the State to make a decision and noted that the actions of the State would determine if Alexander County would have a tax rate of 46.5 cents or 49.5 cents.

Mr. French stated that projected revenues for the local option sales tax, if approved, had changed. Mr. French explained that staff was informed that Alexander County would receive approximately $170,000 more than reimbursements if the local option sales tax was enacted. Mr. French was later informed that the revenues would equal about the same amount as the revenue supplied by reimbursements. Mr. French stated that he had most recently been informed that the revenues generated from the local option sales tax would be $25,000 less than revenues that would have been received from the reimbursements.

Commissioner Robertson felt that the State was playing games with the local option sales tax and explained that the interim budget would allow some time to get everything sorted out to keep the affects on taxpayers minimum.

Mr. French noted that the State budget was not fixed and that they were running out of areas to take funding from to plug the State budget. Mr. French felt that there were several more bad years ahead in regard to the budget.

Nan Campbell, Director of Social Services, asked exactly how restrictive the interim budget would be and explained that several day cares and foster care homes relied on revenue from DSS. Jennifer Herman, Budget Officer, informed Ms. Campbell that that type of expenditure would be allowed during the interim budget.

Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to adopt the 2002-2003 Interim Budget Resolution for the month of July 2002. Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

Commissioner Harbinson also conveyed his thanks and appreciation to County Manager Rick French, Budget Officer Jennifer Herman, Commissioner Darrell Robertson, and Commissioner John Watts for their hard work during this tough budget year. Commissioner Robertson also conveyed his appreciation to the department heads for their cooperation and understanding.

OTHER BUSINESS

The following items were discussed during Other Business:

    1. Rick French, County Manager stated that the July Commissioners’ Meeting was scheduled for July 9, 2002. Mr. French suggested moving the meeting to July 16, 2002 if staff did not receive word regarding the half-cent local option sales tax next week. Mr. French stated that he would contact the Board regarding the meeting.
    2. Mr. French presented a resolution requesting for adequate funding for NC Human Services Programs. Nan Campbell, Director of Social Services, explained that the Senate Human Resources Appropriation’s Committee’s budget included a reduction of $5.5 million for Department’s of Social Services for the administration of programs of public assistance. Ms. Campbell noted that the statewide reduction equated to $27,100 cut to Alexander County and the reduction of one staff person in eligibility positions.
    3. Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to adopt the resolution requesting adequate funding for NC Human Services Programs. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

    4. Mr. French asked for nominations for the NCACC Voting Delegate. Commissioner Robertson made a motion to nominate Commissioner Odom to serve as the Voting Delegate for 2002. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
    5. Chairman Watts noted that Alexander County had received a $400,000 grant for water from the Rural Center. Chairman Watts stated that this grant would be used for water lines along Rink Dam which would tie into water lines along Highway 16 South and also would tie into water lines in Bethlehem. This line will provide a back-up to the current line serving Bethlehem.
    6. Commissioner Harbinson invited the public to attend the county’s 4th of July Celebration to be held on Thursday, July 4, 2002 at Salem Luthern Church Park. Commissioner Harbinson stated that private funds had been raised for the celebration.
    7. Chairman Watts discussed the recent attempt to remove the words "Under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance which was established in 1954. Chairman Watts urged all to support actions to keep our Pledge of Allegiance as it is now written.

CONSENT AGENDA

  1. Minutes from the June 11, 2002 Regular Meeting and Minutes from the June 18, 2002 Special Called Meeting/Budget Work Session.
  2. End of Fiscal Year Budget Amendments #49, #50, and #51.

Commissioner Robertson made a motion to approve the Consent Agenda. 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 &6) CONTRACTUAL / PERSONNEL

Commissioner Harbinson made a motion to enter into Closed Session at 8:22 PM to discuss contractual matters and personnel issues pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5 & 6). Commissioner Hammer 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 8:43 PM. Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

 

                                                                                                           

  John F. Watts, Chairman           Jamie C. Millsaps, Clerk to the Board