Draft

BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS 

ALEXANDER COUNTY

REGULAR MEETING

STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA

February 2, 2004

PRESENT: W. Norris Keever, Chairman
William L. Hammer, Vice-Chairman
Wesley E. Bolick
Joel C. Harbinson
W. Darrell Robertson
STAFF: Rick French, County Manager
Jamie Starnes, Clerk to the Board
David Icenhour, Human Resources Director
Greg Cronk, Information Technology Director
MEDIA: Gary Herman, The Taylorsville Times
Norris Keever, WACB Radio

 

The Alexander County Board of Commissioners held its regular meeting on Monday, February 2, 2004 in the Catawba Valley Community College / Alexander Center Multipurpose Room, Taylorsville, North Carolina.

CALL TO ORDER

Chairman Keever called the meeting to order at 6:00 PM.

INVOCATION AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Lewis Murdock, pastor of Reformation Lutheran Church, gave the invocation and Tanner Pearson, student at Stony Point Elementary School, led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

***SPECIAL RECOGNITION***

Russell Greene, Fire Marshal, recognized Ellendale Fire Department, Stony Point Fire Department, and Hiddenite Fire Department for their recent rating change from Class 9 to Class 7.  Those present at the meeting were Ellendale Chief Michael Nail, Stony Point Chief Steve Lackey, and Stony Point Captain Scott Abernathy.  Mr. Greene noted that Grover Sharpe, Hiddenite Chief, could not make it to the meeting.

Mr. Greene explained that all fire departments in NC were rated by the Office of the State Fire Marshal and he noted that these 3 fire departments had gone through the response rating survey in August and September 2003.  Mr. Greene informed the Board that the rate change would save all homeowners in each of these districts on their homeowner’s insurance.  Mr. Greene stated that the average savings on a $130,000 wood frame house built in 1990 was approximately $100 per year and he noted that these ratings would take affect April 1, 2004 for Stony Point and Hiddenite and May 1, 2004 for Ellendale.

Commissioner Harbinson asked if homeowners should notify their insurance companies of the rate change.  Mr. Greene replied that he had spoken with several insurance companies who informed him that their systems automatically updated the change and credited the homeowner at their renewal cycle; however, Mr. Greene stated that there would be no harm in notifying insurance companies simply to confirm the change.

Commissioner Harbinson felt that Alexander County had the best volunteer fire fighters in the state and he thanked them for everything that they did for the citizens.  Commissioner Bolick also commended Mr. Greene for his excellent job as Fire Marshal.

Commissioner Robertson recognized Scott Abernathy who is employed with NC Department of Transportation to convey his appreciation to the entire NCDOT staff for keeping the roads clean and safe during the winter storm last week.  Commissioner Hammer also thanked Mr. Greene and the Maintenance staff for removing snow and ice from County department parking lots and sidewalks. 

ADOPTION OF AGENDA

Chairman Keever requested a change in the appointments listed under Agenda Item #10 to include the replacement of Janice Buckner on the LEPC with Travis Miller.  Chairman Keever also stated that the Board needed to appoint a Chairman to the LEPC as well as appoint someone to serve on the Carolinas Partnership Board.

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

PUBLIC HEARING:   CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT 04-1:  R & N MARINA

Sylvia Turnmire, Director of Planning & Development, presented Conditional Use Permit 04-1 for approval to add 28 boat slips at the R & N Marina.  The applicants are R & N Marina as well as the owners Rick and Nancy Barnes.

Ms. Turnmire stated that the property was located at 5754 Icard Ridge Road, tax map number A11B-35a.  The size of the property area is less than one acre and the existing land use is residential.  Ms. Turnmire stated that the existing zoning was R-20 (Residential).  The zoning within 100 feet of the property is R-20 to the north and H-C (Highway-Commercial) to the east.   Lake Hickory is located to the south and west of the property.  Ms. Turnmire stated that there was a single-family site-built home to the north of the property, a commercial marina to the east, and Lake Hickory to the south and west.

Ms. Turnmire stated that the applicants proposed to add 28 boat slips along the edge of the property, which is one step in a long process required by Duke Power.  However, Ms. Turnmire noted that the applicants wished to continue using the residential structure on the property as a dwelling unit, which required the application for the conditional use permit.  Ms. Turnmire informed the Board that this use was allowed by the Zoning Ordinance in R-20 as a conditional use, granted by the Board of Commissioners.  Ms. Turnmire also noted that Planning & Development staff recommended approval of the conditional use permit and she mentioned that staff had not received any calls in favor or in opposition of the request.

Chairman Keever called the public hearing to order and requested any public comment.  There being no 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 Bolick felt that R & N Marina was the most aggressive growing business in the Bethlehem community and he noted that he had done business with them for several years.   Commissioner Bolick also stated that he had always heard many citizens say that it was a pleasure to do business with R & N Marina.

Commissioner Bolick made a motion to approve Conditional Use Permit 04-1.  Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

PUBLIC HEARING:   REZONING CASE 04-1

Sylvia Turnmire, Director of Planning & Development, presented Rezoning Case 03-2 submitted by Chris Richey (Richey Automotive) and Todd McAuley.  Mr. Richey and Mr. McAuley requested rezoning of property located on Automotive Lane just south of Heritage Farm Road from RA-20 (Residential-Agricultural) to H-C (Highway-Commercial).  Ms. Turnmire stated that Mr. Richey owned Lots 40 and 42 and Mr. McAuley owned Lot 42a.  The sizes of the properties are 2.35 acres, 1.92 acres, and 1.95 acres (respectively) and the current land uses are a legal non-conforming use (Richey Automotive) and vacant (McAuley).  Ms. Turnmire stated that zoning within 100 feet of the property was RA-20 to the north, south, east, and west.   There is a single-family site-built home, a 2 family site-built home, singlewide and doublewide manufactured homes to the north of the property, a single-family site-built home to the south, single-family site-built homes and a doublewide manufactured home to the east, and singlewide manufactured homes to the west.

Ms. Turnmire stated that Richey Automotive was a legal non-conforming use that was present prior to the adoption of the Bethlehem Zoning Area in 1987.  Ms. Turnmire stated that Mr. Richey did not have plans to expand Richey Automotive at this time; however, she noted that commercial zoning would allow for future expansion, which would possibly be required by NCDMV.  Ms. Turnmire informed the Board that Mr. McAuley proposed a 7,200 square-foot metal building for a fitness center on his property.

Ms. Turnmire stated that properties along Automotive Lane were served by a 6-inch water line but she noted that the property proposed for the fitness center was not served by public water but that access was available.  The property occupied by Richey Automotive is served by a 60-foot right-of-way named Automotive Lane and the property proposed for the fitness center has access to Automotive Lane by a 30-foot right-of-way that is used as a driveway to Mr. McAuley’s house.

Ms. Turnmire stated that the property proposed for the fitness center faced several issues including inadequate transportation access, no connectivity to a public water source, the need for a commercial-sized septic system, and the ability to meet the parking, landscaping, and dimensional requirements of the Zoning Ordinance.

Ms. Turnmire stated that the property was surrounded by residential zoning, creating an issue of spot zoning, which is “invalid or illegal unless there is a clear and reasonable basis for treating the singled out property differently from adjacent land.”  Ms. Turnmire noted that for any case of spot zoning, the Board of Commissioners and the Planning & Zoning Commission must address the following questions:

1.       Did the zoning activity in the case constitute spot zoning as our courts have defined that term; and

2.       If so, did the zoning authority make a clear showing of a reasonable basis for the zoning?  The clear reasonable basis can be determined by reviewing 4 factors:

a.        The size of the tract;

b.       The compatibility of the disputed zoning action with an existing comprehensive plan;

c.        The benefits and detriments resulting from the zoning action for the petitioning property owner, neighbors, and surrounding community; and

d.       The relationship between the uses envisioned under the new zoning and the current uses of adjacent land.

Ms. Turnmire addressed staff comments in regard to these 4 factors to show a reasonable basis for zoning, which included:

            2a.  The size of the tract: 

            The subject properties are 2.35, 1.92, and 1.95 acres.  The surrounding properties are:

                        West - .52 acre, .52 acre, 1.77 acres, and 2.96 acres

                        North - .33 acre, .58 acre, .72 acre, and 2.33 acres

                        South - 7.44 acres

                        East - 15 acres

2b.  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 154.140:  The RA-20 District is established as a district in which the principal use of the land is for low-density residential and agricultural purposes including single-family dwellings, 2-family dwellings, individual manufactured homes, and related uses necessary for a sound neighborhood.   The regulations for this district are designed to stabilize and encourage a healthful environment for family life in areas where neither public nor community water or sewer facilities are available.

3.       The Alexander County 1993 Comprehensive Plan identifies this area as lying in an “Urban Transition” area which is 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.  Areas meeting the intent of the Urban Transition classification are presently being developed for urban purposes or will be developed in the next 5 to 10 years to accommodate anticipated population and urban growth.

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

The board must determine what effect the rezoning will have upon the entire community as a social, economic, and political unit.

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

If rezoned to Highway-Commercial, any use listed in the use matrix would be allowed, not just the use of which the applicants are applying.  All immediate adjacent land is used for residential purposes.

The closest commercially zoned properties are on Telephone Exchange Road (the properties have frontage on Highway 127 and Telephone Exchange Road).  Those properties are measured approximately 1, 989 feet to the closest corner of the subject properties.

Ms. Turnmire stated that staff had received several calls from Mr. and Mrs. Eckard who have stated their opposition to the fitness center.  Ms. Turnmire also stated that a protest petition was filed on January 5, 2004 and was verified by staff to be a valid protest petition.  With a valid protest petition, a vote for approval of the rezoning request must be passed by at least a vote by the Board of Commissioners.

Ms. Turnmire informed the Board that the Planning & Zoning Commission reviewed the rezoning request on January 8, 2004, at which they considered the requests separately.  The Planning & Zoning Commission passed a motion recommending approval for Lots 40 and 42 owned by Chris Richey by a 3-2 vote.  The Planning & Zoning Commission also passed a motion recommending denial for Lot 42a owned by Todd McAuley by a 3-2 vote.

Chairman Keever asked if the protest petition was in opposition to both properties, Richey & McAuley.  Ms. Turnmire replied that the protest petition was in opposition to both properties. 

Commissioner Robertson asked if sanitariums had looked at Mr. McAuley’s property in regards to the commercial-sized septic tank.  Ms. Turnmire stated that no sanitariums had been to the property because the type of septic tank required would depend on whether Mr. McAuley provided showers as well as bathrooms in the fitness center.  Ms. Turnmire explained that the property could be inspected once that information was determined.

            Public Comment

Don Eckard, adjoining property owner, stated that he and his wife had purchased a house and vacant tract next to Mr. Richey and Mr. McAuley in 1992, on which he built 3 duplexes for a total investment of over $400,000.  Mr. Eckard stated that he made this investment knowing that the property had been zoned residential in 1987 and was a considerable distance from any commercial zoning; therefore, he felt confident that he would never have to face the issue at hand.  Mr. Eckard stated that he assumed that Richey Automotive was grandfathered with provisions to provide protection for his investment when zoning assignments were made in 1987 since the business was already established.  Mr. Eckard stated that Mr. Richey and Mr. McAuley were good neighbors and he noted that the only negatives he had experienced were that there was a lot of daytime traffic due to the garage and some noise from Mr. Richey’s air compressor.   However, Mr. Eckard stated that he was concerned that if these properties were rezoned to H-C, Mr. Richey would expand his garage and possibly service diesel tractors, which would cause more noise.  Mr. Eckard felt that the area would not be suitable for a fitness center and he expressed his concerns that the metal building would be converted to a welding shop or a place to hang out and have a few drinks when the fitness center failed.   Mr. Eckard informed the Board that rezoning these properties would impact 7 families that lived on his property and he felt that rezoning was not in the best interest of neighbors and the Bethlehem community as a whole.  Mr. Eckard pointed out that the Alexander County Zoning Ordinance stated that “the purpose of the H-C Highway Commercial District is to provide suitable locations for those commercial activities which serve primarily the traveling public…” and he noted that this location was not accessible by the traveling public.  Mr. Eckard stated that if the Board approved the rezoning request it would prove that there was no protection for a citizen’s investment in this county.

Chris Richey, owner of Richey Automotive, stated that he had requested rezoning of his property and business from RA-20 to H-C so that his family could continue running the business or sell the business if something happened to him.  Mr. Richey explained that the business could never be improved or expanded as long as it was zoned RA-20, which could pose problems in the future with the emissions testing that could be required in Alexander County in the next 3 years.  Mr. Richey admitted that 80% of the traffic on Automotive Lane was due to his business and he stated that 30% of his business came from Catawba County.   He also noted that he would not service diesel trucks if rezoned because he was not certified to do so.  Mr. Richey stated that he had been in the same location since 1981 and had served a lot of citizens in the Bethlehem community.  He mentioned the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Eckard could choose to get out of their business of renting property at anytime but he noted that he didn’t have that option.

Todd McAuley, owner of property for the proposed fitness center, stated that he had no objection to the Board approving the rezoning for Mr. Richey, even if the Board chose not to approve his rezoning request.

Evelyn Eckard requested that the Board reject the rezoning request for Mr. Richey and Mr. McAuley because it would adversely affected the 7 families renting her and her husband’s property.  Mrs. Eckard pointed out that the Alexander County Zoning Ordinance stated that “the RA-20 District is established as a district in which the principal use of the land is for low-density residential and agricultural purposes…the regulations for this district are designed to stabilize and encourage a healthful environment for family life in area where neither public nor community water or sewer facilities are available.”  Mrs. Eckard felt that there were much better locations for a fitness center than down a single lane, dead end gravel road, 2 miles from the nearest H-C zoning.  However, she noted that if the property was rezoned H-C, if would be a good location for other uses such as a cabinet shop, heavy equipment sales and service, concrete product production, metal fabrication, or a pool hall/disco.  Mrs. Eckard informed the Board that Mr. McAuley had stated that he intended to cater to the elderly and the teens, be open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM, and to have facilities for about 60 people, which posed the question of where Mr. McAuley planned to gain revenue.  Mrs. Eckard stated that the facility would not be available for the first shift worker who would need to be there at 5:30 AM or 6:00 PM or the second and third shift workers who would only be able to use the center at 10:00 PM or 11:00 PM.  Mrs. Eckard stated that Mr. Richey’s air compressor was located next to their side property line and she noted that Mr. Richey did not have any setbacks on his building.  Therefore, she and her husband placed a barrier of firs along the side property line as well as sound deadening sheet rock in their duplexes; however, Mrs. Eckard stated that this may not be adequate if Mr. Richey upgraded his building and equipment.   Mrs. Eckard stated that rental property was a business for her and her husband since it was an investment for their retirement income but she noted that it was residential property, which was entirely different from that being requested.  Mrs. Eckard mentioned that she and her husband worked hard to keep their property clean, repaired, and free of noise and other nuisances to keep the reputation that Bethlehem was a great place to live and she felt that rezoning the adjacent properties would not be in the best interest of the entire community but only a favor for a few.

Commissioner Harbinson asked if Planning & Development staff had received any comment from any of the other neighbors including the Pages, Bonhams, Teagues, Costners, Rotens, Powells, or Porters.  Ms. Turnmire stated that staff had not received any comment from any of the neighbors.  Commissioner Harbinson asked if staff had placed signs at or near the property advertising the rezoning case.  Ms. Turnmire replied that staff had placed signs at Richey Automotive and at the end of Automotive Lane.

Commissioner Robertson asked if Mr. Richey would be required to meet setback requirements if he expanded his business.  Ms. Turnmire replied that he would have to meet setback requirements.  Mr. Richey stated that he was aware of that fact.

Chairman Keever stated that he didn’t realize that rental property was not zoned differently from regular residential since is was, in fact, a business.  Chairman Keever inquired if this was normal practice throughout the area.   Ms. Turnmire replied that it was normal practice and that zoning was based on the use of the property.

Commissioner Robertson inquired about the magnitude of Mr. Richey’s investment in Richey Automotive.  Mr. Richey stated that he had just had the business appraised and he noted that Richey Automotive would sell on the market today at $550,000.

Commissioner Bolick stated that Richey Automotive was the only place in Bethlehem to get a vehicle inspected and he therefore felt that Richey Automotive was an asset to the Bethlehem community and Alexander County.  Commissioner Bolick stated that all the many regulations being enforced today were putting the small business owner out of business.  Commissioner Bolick also stated that he understood that property owners wanted their property to look nice but he pointed out that Richey Automotive was already established when Mr. and Mrs. Eckard purchase the adjoining property.

Commissioner Robertson agreed and stated that Richey Automotive was established in 1981 before zoning took effect in 1987 and he noted that the business was already there when the Eckard’s purchased their property.

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 the rezoning of Chris Richey’s property from RA-20 to H-C.  Commissioner Robertson seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

Commissioner Bolick made a motion to approve the rezoning of Todd McAuley’s property from RA-20 to H-C.  Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

AIR QUALITY RESOLUTION

John Tippett, WPCOG Assistant Director / Transportation Planner, stated that in December 2002, Alexander County joined the Early Action Compact (EAC) along with 3 other counties and 6 other cities including Taylorsville to deal with air quality issues in the Unifour region due to the Federal EPA tightening standards on what was deemed acceptable levels of ozone.  Mr. Tippett explained that even though the standards were tightened in 1997, the EPA decided to allow each area a 3-year average to determine what the ozone level was.

Mr. Tippett informed the Board that it was discovered in 2000 that our region was slightly violating the new standards along with 45 other counties.  Mr. Tippett explained that exceeding a rating of .085 would result in a classification of non-attainable.  He stated that monitors for our region had been placed in Taylorsville and Lenoir and he noted that the 3-year average at the end of 2002 was .091 for Taylorsville and .087 for Lenoir, which meant that our region was in danger of being classified as non-attainable.  Mr. Tippett stated that non-attainable status would result in penalties including strict regulations for businesses and industries that are required to obtain air quality permits, which could result in difficulty in attracting new business and industry to the area.

Mr. Tippett stated that joining the EAC last year deferred the penalties of the non-attainable status until 2007 as long as the region was active and implemented air quality programs in order to make an effort to improve the air quality.  Mr. Tippett felt confident that our region could be below .085 by 2007 due to the many efforts taking place at the present time to improve the air quality including regulations for the 14 coal fired power plants in NC and emissions testing for automobiles.   Mr. Tippett distributed a list of Ozone Control Measures for the Unifour Early Action Compact, which included 14 action steps that the region could implement.  Mr. Tippett stated that this was the first item to be submitted in order to get the non-attainment status delayed to 2007 and he noted that this would have to be submitted by the end of February 2004.   Mr. Tippet also submitted a resolution to be approved by the Board to implement these action steps.

Chairman Keever asked if the location of the monitor in Taylorsville was a contributing factor to Taylorsville’s high readings.  Mr. Tippett stated that the monitor was located on Highway 16, which could cause slightly higher readings since 40% of ozone in NC was caused by tailpipes of vehicles.  Mr. Tippett also noted that another 40% of ozone was caused by coal fired power plants and 10% by weed eaters, chainsaws, off-road equipment, tractors, etc.

Commissioner Bolick asked how many monitors had been placed in our region.  Mr. Tippett replied that there were only 2 in our region including the one in Taylorsville and the other in Lenoir; however, he noted that there were 42 or 43 monitors statewide.

Commissioner Robertson felt that the EPA was singling out areas instead of addressing a national problem.  Commissioner Robertson felt that Alexander County was not a contributor of ozone but he noted that the Board had no other option but to go along with what the EPA was doing.  Commissioner Robertson did not agree with basing the entire region on 2 monitors and he noted that our region would be assessed a penalty for ozone that was carried across the area by the wind.

Commissioner Harbinson agreed and stated that he felt it was unfair for our citizens to have to pay the price for something that they didn’t cause.

Commissioner Robertson made a motion to approve the Ozone Control Measures.  Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

ANIMAL CONTROL ORDINANCE

Terry Foxx, Emergency Management / Animal Control Director, presented a proposed final revision of the Alexander County Animal Control Ordinance after many discussions and suggestions.

Mr. Foxx discussed in detail Section 91.08: Animals Creating a Public Nuisance Prohibited.  Chairman Keever stated that this section was included in the original ordinance but had been removed from the first proposed revised ordinance.  Chairman Keever suggested that this section remain in the ordinance.

Chairman Keever discussed Section 91.08 C which stated “It shall be unlawful for any owner to permit his or her animal to run at large during the months of April, May, June, July, August, and September of any year.  During such months all animal shall be restricted by LEASH, PEN, or kept CONFINED to the premises of their owners.  Chairman Keever requested that an additional phrase be added to this section to read “unless the animal has been spayed or neutered.”  Chairman Keever stated that this was not a leash law but a step in that direction and he noted that the months listed were the months when animals were most active in breeding.  Chairman Keever explained that the reason he wanted Section 91.08 C in the ordinance was to encourage pet owners to get their animals spayed and neutered to enforce some birth control so that the numbered of euthanized animals could be reduced.

Commissioner Harbinson inquired about the penalty for allowing an animal to run at large during those months.  Mr. Foxx stated that the penalty had not been specified but he pointed out that the fee schedule included listing for “all other fines” that included a $10 fine per day per violation for a total of 15 days.

Commissioner Bolick asked how Section 91.08 C would apply to hunters who wanted to train their dogs in the summer months.  Mr. Foxx pointed out that Section 91.08 F would apply to that issue.  Section 91.08 F reads “This section shall not apply to any person while engaged in a supervised, formal obedience training class or show, or during formally sanctioned field trials, or while engaged in lawful hunting with a dog during open season or during bona fide hunting or field trial dog training.   It shall be unlawful for the owner of a dog to place such dog or allow it to be placed in the custody of any other person not physically capable of maintaining effective control of such dog.”

Commissioner Hammer felt that if Section 91.08 was adopted, staff would be overrun with calls from citizens complaining about dogs running loose.  Commissioner Hammer also stated that he had a problem with restricting citizens from allowing their pets to run loose in their neighborhood.

Commissioner Robertson stated that the only part of the ordinance that addressed dogs in packs bothering livestock was Section 91.07 A, which stated “It is unlawful for any owner to maintain or harbor unconfined or unrestrained any dangerous dog or animal which (1) bites, inflicts, assaults, or otherwise attacks a human being without provocation on public or private property; or (2) injuries or kills a pet or domesticate animal and the Animal Control Officer determines after investigation that the report is supported by the evidence, then and only then will the said dog or animal be deemed dangerous.”  Commissioner Robertson noted that this wording meant that at least one calf or other livestock had to be killed before something could be done about it.  At this time, Mr. Foxx distributed copies of N.C.G.S. 67-14 which stated “Any person may kill any mad dog, and also any dog if he is killing sheep, cattle, hogs, goats, or poultry.”  Chairman Keever felt that it would be appropriate to include this statute within the Animal Control Ordinance.

Commissioner Robertson made a motion to add wording from N.C.G.S. 67-14 to the Alexander County Animal Control Ordinance.  Chairman Keever seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

Commissioner Harbinson stated that he had a problem with a rural county like Alexander County having any type of leash law that required citizens to confine their animals for 6 months out of the year.  Commissioner Harbinson stated that Catawba County had considered a leash law and had opposed it because the Board felt that Catawba County was too rural.

Commissioner Hammer agreed and stated that he felt that requiring citizens to keep their animals confined for 6 months was too restrictive.

Commissioner Robertson suggested rewording Section 91.08 to state that it was “recommended” that animals be restrained or confined during those months unless spayed or neutered.  Commissioner Harbinson felt that a recommendation would not result in any changes.

At this time, Commissioner Harbinson distributed copies of N.C.G.S. 67-2 which stated “If any person owning or having any bitch shall knowingly permit her to run at large during the erotic stage of copulation he shall be guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.”  Commissioner Harbinson suggested using this statute as a replacement for Section 91.08 C, which would require animals to be confined for 6 months of the year.  Chairman Keever felt that this statute would indeed accomplish his plan to encourage spaying and neutering and he agreed to substitute the statute for the wording of Section 91.08 C.  However, Chairman Keever suggested changing the word bitch to read any female dog or cat. 

Chairman Keever made a motion to use N.C.G.S. 67-2 as a replacement for the wording in Section 91.08 C in the ordinance and to change the wording to state any female dog or cat.  Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

Mr. Foxx requested the Board to approve a pickup fee of $20 for incidents where citizens scheduled a pickup time and then was not present when the Animal Control Officer arrives to pick up the animal.  Mr. Foxx explained that, on several occasions, Animal Control Officers must return to the same location several times because the citizen fails to be there when they say they will be.  Mr. Foxx felt that the first trip was County responsibility; however, he felt that a fee needed to be charged if a second trip had to be made.   The Board agreed to charge a $20 pickup fee as requested. 

Mr. Foxx also requested the Board approved a $25 euthanization fee for citizens who simply want an animal put to sleep.  Mr. Foxx stated that there was currently no fee charged when Animal Control Officers went to a residence to pick up and animal for euthanization and he noted that a veterinarian would charge $60 or $70 for the same service.  The Board agreed to charge a $25 fee for this service.

Chairman Keever made a motion to table the approval of the Animal Control Ordinance until the March Commissioners’ Meeting and he asked that copies be made available at the County Manager’s Office, Library, and on the County website.  Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT FOR WASHINGTON COUNTY TO HAVE THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY RECONSIDER LOCATION OF LANDING FIELD

Chairman Keever presented the Resolution of Support to Have the Department of the Navy Reconsider Its Location of an Outlying Landing Field in Washington County, North Carolina for the Board’s consideration.

Chairman Keever explained that the United States Department of the Navy had decided to construct a practice airfield in Washington County, which would result in 70 families being forced to sell their homes and farms at market value or taken using eminent domain.  Chairman Keever also stated that the Navy’s acquisition of more than 32,000 acres of farmland would leave Washington County’s citizens with reduced county services or higher taxes to cover the lost revenue.

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

RESOLUTION FOR CONTINUING OPERATION OF THE CONSTRUCTION & DEMOLITION LANDFILL

Chairman Keever presented the Resolution for the Continuing Operation of the Construction and Demolition Landfill on Top of Our Closed Municipal Waste Landfill.

Chairman Keever stated that Alexander County had been permitted to dispose of construction and demolition waste on top of the closed municipal solid waste landfill since 1998.  However, he noted that new Solid Waste Rules may become effective July 1, 2004 that would require the County to close the construction and demolition landfill that is on top of the closed municipal solid waste landfill by January 1, 2008.  Chairman Keever informed the Board that staff believed that being required to develop another construction and demolition landfill would create additional environmental contamination.

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

RESOLUTION IN SUPPORT OF THE EFFORTS OF DURHAM COUNTY RELATED TO COUNTY IMPACT FEES

Chairman Keever presented the Resolution in Support of the Efforts of Durham County Related to County Impact Fees.

Chairman Keever informed the Board that Durham County had adopted an impact fee ordinance for funding public school capital costs under N.C.G.S. 153-102, which would enable county boards of commissioners to fix the fees and commissioners charges by counties for performing services or duties permitted or required by law.

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

RESOLUTION URGING STRONGER PENALTIES FOR OFFENDERS THAT SELL AND MANUFACTURE METHAMPHETAMINE IN NORTH CAROLINA

Chairman Keever presented the Resolution Urging Stronger Penalties for Offenders that Sell and Manufacture Methamphetamine in North Carolina.

Chairman Keever stated that the use, sale, and manufacture of methamphetamine was becoming more evident in North Carolina, posing extreme danger to children who inhabit the premises where methamphetamine manufacturing occurs as well as firemen and emergency workers who are called to the scene.  Chairman Keever felt that Alexander County should urge the NC Legislature to adopt laws that impose stronger penalties for offenders who operate clandestine labs and who sell or offer methamphetamine.

Commissioner Bolick made a motion to approve the resolution.  Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

BUDGET ORDINANCE AMENDMENTS #19 - #23

Rick French, County Manager, discussed the purpose of Budget Amendments #19 - #23, which included the following information:

Budget Amendment #19 – To budget for January through June 2004 contracted services from the Chamber of Commerce.  To budget for the 2003-2004 contracted services from the Charlotte Regional Partnership.   To budget for the final installment of $10,000 for the Alexander County History Project.

Budget Amendment #20 – To transfer funds to contingency (no debt service payments for DSS will be due in 2003-2004).

Budget Amendment #21 – To budget for the final project expenses for Ellendale Elementary School.

Budget Amendment #22 – To budget for an increase in the Office of Juvenile Justice funding.  To budget for an increase in WIC funding from the NCDHHS.

Budget Amendment #23 – To increase the budget for unemployment insurance and workers comp claims.

Commissioner Robertson made a motion to approve Budget Amendments #19 - #23.  Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

BOARD APPOINTMENTS / REAPPOINTMENTS

Commissioner Hammer presented the following appointments and reappointments:

A.      EQUALIZATION & REVIEW BOARD

Reappoint Patsy Little                1-year terms

Reappoint Darrell Adkins

Reappoint David Odom

Appoint Sue Watts

B.      LOCAL EMERGENCY PLANNING COMMITTEE

Reappoint Lynn Marshall           1-year terms

Reappoint Stephen Townsend

Reappoint Hayden Bentley

Reappoint Patti Foster

Reappoint Doug Ferguson

Reappoint Leeanne Whisnant

Reappoint Tony Setzer

Reappoint Russell Greene

Reappoint Terry Foxx

Reappoint Greg Atchley

Reappoint Ben Zachary

Reappoint Gary Herman

Reappoint Sylvia Turnmire

Reappoint David Icenhour

Reappoint Greg Jones

Reappoint William Hammer

Reappoint David Odom

Appoint Travis Miller (to replace Janice Buckner)

C.      JUVENILE CRIME PREVENTION COUNCIL

Appoint Sharon White 2-year terms

Appoint Jerry Ratchford

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

LEPC Chairperson

Commissioner Bolick made a motion to reappoint Terry Foxx as Chairman of the Local Emergency Planning Committee.  Commissioner Harbinson seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

Carolinas Partnership

Chairman Keever made a motion to appoint Rick French, County Manager, to serve on the Carolinas Partnership Board.  Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion.  The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

OTHER BUSINESS

Rick French, County Manager, discussed the following issues during Other Business:

A.      Due to adverse weather this week, the Chamber of Commerce Annual Banquet has been rescheduled for February 9, 2004.  The WPCOG Annual Meeting has also been rescheduled for February 23, 2004. 

B.      The NCACC is sponsoring a 2-day meeting at Mid Pines / Pine Needles on March 18-19, 2004.  The focus of the meeting is economic development – Collaborating for a Competitive Edge (County Leadership in the New Economy).  Mr. French stated that Chairman Keever and David Icenhour would both be attending and he requested that any other Board member interested in attending contact the Administration Office.

CONSENT AGENDA

  1. Request by the Alexander County Sheriff’s Department to declare a service handgun surplus.
  2. Request by the Alexander County Library to declare the 1984 Chevrolet Bookmobile surplus.
  3. Tax Release Requests for January $2,326.14 and Tax Refund Requests for January $4,193.19.
  4. Minutes from January 5, 2004 Regular Commissioners’ Meeting.

Commissioner Harbinson 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)

Commissioner Robertson made a motion to enter into Closed Session at 7:59 PM to discuss contractual matters and personnel issues pursuant to N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(5 & 6).   Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion.   The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

ADJOURNMENT

There being no further business, Commissioner Bolick made a motion to adjourn at 9:28 PM.   Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion.   The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

 

                                                                                                           

W. Norris Keever, Chairman         Jamie M. Starnes, Clerk to the Board