October 4, 2004
The Alexander County Board of
Commissioners held a regular meeting on
CALL TO ORDER
Chairman Keever called the meeting to order at .
INVOCATION & PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Rev. Dr. Ronald Vaughan, New Salem
Presbyterian Church, gave the invocation and Alex Rhyne, student at
AMENDMENT TO AGENDA
Chairman Keever made a motion to proceed with the Community Grant Awards presentation during the Special Recognitions portion of the meeting instead of being held as Agenda Item #4. Commissioner Hammer seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
The following recognitions were acknowledged:
recognized the 170th anniversary of
Rev. Vaughan introduced J.M. Lackey, Judy Payne, and Martha Ellis who were present at the meeting. Rev. Vaughan stated that these individuals were 3 of the congregation elders.
recognized Megan McClure for her numerous Champion and Grand Championship titles in North
also mentioned that Megan had written articles and reported horse shows for Saddle and
Bridle and The National Horseman magazines as well as served as Historian for
the American Saddlebred Association of the
Commissioner Bolick presented a Key to the County to Megan McClure, on behalf of the entire Board of Commissioners, in recognition of her accomplishments during her horse riding career.
Commissioner Watts stated that he was very close to Megans parents, Dan and Karen McClure, as well as her grandmother. Commissioner Watts stated that he had introduced Dan and Karen many years ago. He noted that he was very proud of Megan and he conveyed his appreciation to her for her accomplishments.
recognized Sarah Bowman, who is employed with the Alexander County Information Technology
Department as a Computer Support Technician II, for earning 2 distinguished degrees. Ms. Bowman received her Bachelors of Science Degree
in Computer Information Systems from the
Commissioner Hammer congratulated Ms. Bowman on her accomplishment.
Community Grant Awards
Ellendale Ruritan Club Purchase chairs for
Gwaltney Ruritan Club Replace windows and
Gwaltney Volunteer Fire Department Install new linoleum in conference room, office, and 2 bathrooms. County grant $550.
Little River Ruritan Club Pave 2 driveway entrances and back of lot for parking for Little River Community Building. County grant $1,000.
Vashti Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary Complete fencing at Vashti ballpark. County grant $1,000.
Rocky Springs Community Projects, Inc. Replace restrooms in lower level and make handicap accessible. County grant $550.
Hayden Bentley, Alexander County
Sheriff, stated that on
Sheriff Bentley stated that, during discussions with the Board and County Manager French regarding the combination, it was agreed that an advisory committee needed to be formed to review and discuss the combination of the 2 departments. The advisory committee has been formed and includes Keith Millsaps, Alexander County Rescue Squad; Russell Greene, Fire Marshal; Greg Cronk, Information Technology Director; Bradley Earp, EMS Director; Dustin McAlpin, Firemens Association President; Tim Keever, Hiddenite Fire Department; and Chris Bowman, Sheriffs Department. Sheriff Bentley stated that he looked forward to supervising the newly combined system and to providing the best service to the citizens of the county.
Chairman Keever inquired about where individuals would enter the courthouse after hours. Sheriff Bentley replied that the public would enter into the doors leading into the lobby at the Clerk of Court Office. He explained that Sheriffs Department Administrative staff would greet the public Monday through Friday from to and that Communications staff would greet the public after hours and on weekends, while being shielded inside a glassed in area.
Chairman Keever felt that the combination would result in more efficient service and would be an excellent operation.
Commissioner Hammer stated that this project was something that he had strived to accomplish for many years. He felt that the combination would give the citizens a quicker emergency response time and provide more safety at the courthouse. Commissioner Hammer stated that he was very proud to finally have this project underway.
ADOPTION OF AGENDA
Commissioner Hammer made a motion to adopt the agenda as previously amended. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
PUBLIC HEARING: REZONING CASE 04-7: CATAWBA VALLEY PARTNERS
Sylvia Turnmire, Director of Planning
& Development, presented Rezoning Case 04-7 submitted by Donny Teague. Mr. Teague requested rezoning of property located
Ms. Turnmire stated that the applicant wished to rezone the property to expand the parking lot and truck turn-around area of their existing facility, Huntington House Furniture. The proposed expansion is to accommodate existing commercial traffic. Ms. Turnmire stated that the property was served by an 8-inch public water line and a sewer pump station. The property also has access to an 8-inch sewer gravity main.
Ms. Turnmire explained that the L-I District was to provide for the development of areas devoted to light manufacturing, processing and assembly uses, warehousing, distribution and servicing enterprises, and limited office activities controlled by performance standards to limit the effect of such uses on uses within the district and adjacent districts. She also stated that the Alexander County Land Development Plan showed this property as being 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 Urban Transition classification are presently being developed for urban purposes or will be developed in the next 5 to 10 years to accommodate anticipated urban growth.
Ms. Turnmire stated that the U.S. Census recognized the Bethlehem Community as an urban area, which is defined by the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a land cover/use category consisting of residential, industrial, commercial, and institutional land; construction sites; public administrative sites; railroad yards; cemeteries; airports; golf courses; sanitary landfills; sewage treatment plants; water control structures and spillways; other land used for such purposes; small parks (less than 10 acres) within urban and built-upon areas; and highways, railroads, and other transportation facilities if they are surrounded by urban areas. Also included are tracts of less than 10 acres that do not meet the above definition but are completely surrounded by urban and built-up land. Two size categories are recognized in the NRI: (I) areas .25 to 10 acres, and (II) areas greater than 10 acres. [NRI-97]
Ms. Turnmire informed the Board that
the Bethlehem Area contained 12 of the 14 uses defined as an urban land use and she noted
that the 2 remaining uses not present were a railroad and a sewage treatment plant. Ms. Turnmire explained that a railroad was not
suitable given the geographic location and the sewage treatment plant was maintained and
operated by the City of
Ms. Turnmire pointed out that a sign had been posted on the subject property 2 weeks prior to the first public hearing. Letters were also sent by first class to all property owners within 100 feet of the subject property. Ms. Turnmire stated that public notices had been published in The Taylorsville Times and The Hickory Daily Record.
Ms. Turnmire stated that one person
called the Planning & Inspections Office prior to the Planning & Zoning public
hearing held on
Ms. Turnmire mentioned that an offer had been made by Catawba Valley Partners to sell a 45 foot wide barrier to Homestead-Shook, LLC to provide an additional buffer between the proposed rezoning and the subdivision; however, the offer was not accepted. Ms. Turnmire stated that Dent Allison, Homestead-Shook, LLC, made an offer to purchase 4 acres of the property. This offer was also not accepted. Ms. Turnmire informed the Board that Mr. Allison had stated opposition to the request and had submitted a letter of opposition, which was a valid protest petition that required a ¾ favorable vote by the Board of Commissioners in order to approve the rezoning request.
Ms. Turnmire informed the Board that, after 2 public hearings, staff as well as the Planning & Zoning Commission had unanimously recommended approval of the rezoning request.
Chairman Keever called the public hearing to order and requested any public comment.
Public Comment & Discussion
Attorney at Law representing Homestead-Shook, LLC, and Dent Allison, was present in favor
of Wittenburg Springs and in opposition to rezoning of the adjacent tract requested by
Catawba Valley Partners. Mr. Jennings stated
that Wittenburg Springs was a beautiful residential area within
Mr. Jennings felt
that the Board needed to consider the fact that Catawba Valley Partners did not seek to
have the subject property rezoned before they purchased it 2 months ago and also that
Catawba Valley Partners purchased the property knowing that it was zoned R-20. Mr. Jennings stated that the initial rezoning
application submitted by Catawba Valley Partners stated the purpose for rezoning the
subject property was for a parking lot and a truck turn-around; however, Mr. Jennings
informed the Board that Donny Teague stated at the
Mr. Jennings stated
that rezoning the subject property to L-I would allow over 100 principal and conditional
uses on property that has historically been residential, wooded, and agricultural. Mr. Jennings referenced and distributed copies of
N.C.G.S. 153A-341. He also distributed transcripts of the
presented a large subdivision plat drawing that illustrated the direct impact and back
yard affect of the possible expansion of Huntington House.
Mr. Jennings felt that Huntington House and Wittenburg Springs could, in
fact, co-exist. He again pointed out that
Huntington House could expand or develop a parking lot and truck turn-around in the 433
feet of property available to the north instead of on the 6.440 acres purchased 2 months
ago. Mr. Jennings stated that Mr. Allison had
every right to rely on the traditional characteristic classifications of the property for
his considerable expenditure in bringing Wittenburg Springs to
Wittenburg Springs resident, stated that he and his wife lived in
Wittenburg Springs resident, stated that he was one of the first people to move into the
Wittenburg Springs development. He told the
Board that he did the same as Mr. Noble by considering other areas such as Conover and
Donny Teague, Owner
of Huntington House, stated that the subject property had been purchased for the purpose
of a parking lot and truck turn-around. Mr.
Teague explained that the original plans had not allowed a large enough area for trucks to
efficiently turn around, especially in todays industry where more 53 foot trailers
were being hauled instead of the usual 48 foot trailers.
Mr. Teague informed the Board that Huntington House did not have any plans
to expand immediately on their property; however, he noted that the company would possibly
expand sometime in the future but that it would not be close enough to Wittenburg Springs
to cause the development any harm. Mr. Teague
pointed out that there were currently lots adjoining Huntington House on the north side
and he felt it was obvious that the plant location had not hurt the resale value of the
property because the lots were still selling. Mr.
Teague stated that Huntington House was an economic benefit to the county, providing an
annual payroll of $4 million to employees, 60% of which were
Mr. Teague stated
that he and Danny Meadlock, who were partners and owners of Huntington House, were
lifelong residents of
Mr. Teague stated that Huntington House was very instrumental in getting water and sewer lines put in and he noted that they were doing everything they could to improve the community. Mr. Teague mentioned that he and Mr. Meadlock would be retiring soon and that their sons would be taking over the company making it a 3rd generation business. He felt that Huntington House was a benefit to the community by providing jobs and he requested that the rezoning case be approved.
Mr. Hasty addressed Mr. Teagues earlier comment that there were no immediate plans to expand and then pointed out that the Huntington House website stated Today our team of over 150 people works together in our newly completed 100,000 square foot facility. As our company continues to grow at over 20% a year, we are already planning our next expansion. Mr. Hasty pointed out that these were Mr. Teagues words directly from the website. Mr. Teague replied that the Huntington House was planning an expansion but he noted that there was no immediate need for the facility. He informed Mr. Hasty that an expansion would definitely be considered if business continued increasing, however, he stated that currently the only plans was those for a parking lot and truck turn-around.
Commissioner Watts asked Mr. Teague where the current parking was located. Mr. Teague replied that the current parking lot was located in front of the plant itself. Commissioner Watts asked if there was currently a truck turnaround area located on the property. Mr. Teague replied that there was a truck turn-around present on the property but he explained that the longer trailers were forcing the drivers to swing farther out to turn around which resulted in the trucks hitting the fence and causing damage. Mr. Teague stated that the truck turn-around was adequate in 1985 when the company began. Commissioner Watts asked how many trucks came in and out of the plant area on an average day. Mr. Teague replied that approximately 15 to 20 delivery and transfer trucks entered and exited the property daily.
inquired about the buffer between Huntington House and Wittenburg Springs. Mr. Teague informed Chairman Keever that the
property located between Huntington House and Wittenburg Springs was a wooded area and he
noted that they had no plans to clear that area. Mr.
Teague explained that the area for the proposed parking lot was already cleared. He stated that only a few trees would need to be
cut down to accommodate for the parking lot. Mr.
Teague informed the Board that a 1972 mobile home that was located on the subject property
had been torn down and he noted that an old structure that had been used as rental
property by the previous owner had been hauled away on
Chairman Keever asked if Huntington House had expanded as far west as it could. Mr. Teague replied that Huntington House could expand to the west; however, he noted that the machine room was located on the west side of the plant, leaving the most likely position for an expansion to the north or east of the property.
Commissioner Bolick asked how many lots in Wittenburg Springs had been developed. Ms. Turnmire replied that 85 addresses had been issued as of today. She explained that an address was issued once a building permit had been applied for, meaning either the homes were there and were being lived in or they were under construction.
By request of Chairman Keever, Ms. Turnmire presented the following information concerning the values of Huntington House and Wittenburg Springs:
· Built in 1985 and expanded twice
· Assessed at $1,898,100
· Including building equipment, building supplies and property taxes, Catawba Valley Partners paid $9,584.26 in 2004 taxes.
Mr. Allison presented
Economic Benefits to
286 homes @ an average value of $175,000 = $50,050,000
Value X Tax Rate = Annual Taxes
$50,050,000 .465/100 $232,733
According to 2004 property tax records, the lots within Wittenburg Springs are assessed at $11,872,800 with a current tax value of $55,208.52.
In Fiscal Year 2003-2004,
the expenditure per pupil for
Springs as an example, the annual calculation listed below assumes one child per lot in
Wittenburg Springs will attend an
Expenditure per Pupil X Number of Lots = Total Expenditure Per Year
$6,894 286 $1,971,684
Therefore, $1,738,951 for providing public education to children within Wittenburg Springs remains a County liability.
Commissioner Watts inquired about the number of feet between Huntington House and Jonathan Hastys property. Mr. Allison replied that there was approximately 700 to 800 feet from Huntington House to Mr. Hastys property line.
Danny Meadlock, Catawba Valley Partners, felt that the crucial argument in this case was that Huntington House owned the property adjoining Wittenburg Springs and was in operation before the development was even platted out. Mr. Meadlock stated that the main reaction that he was getting from Wittenburg Springs residents was that they wanted more jobs in the county instead of homes. Mr. Meadlock reiterated Mr. Teagues comments by stating that they were both lifelong residents of the county and had both served in the military. He felt that they had a right to conduct business in the county just as Mr. Allison did. Mr. Meadlock stated that they did not intent to harm or bother the residents in the subdivision and he noted that he personally wanted to keep a buffer between the plant and the subdivision. Mr. Meadlock distributed several photographs for the Boards viewing, which included the wooded area on the subject property, some debris that had been cleaned up on the subject property, the loading docks at the current Huntington House plant that cannot be moved, a storage building located on the subject property 50 feet from the Wittenburg Springs property line, an old rental home that was hauled away over the weekend, a mobile home located on the subject property that will be disposed of, and the Hi-Vue Mobile Home park that is located directly across from the proposed entrance of the Phase IV of Wittenburg Springs.
Wittenburg Springs resident, stated that he had known Mr. Teague and his family for most
of his life. Mr. Mayberry stated that his
point of view was a little different from the others because he had an interest in
bringing new jobs to the area. He felt that
Homestead-Shook, LLC, stated that he had been involved in the land development business
for 25 years and was very concerned with
Chairman Keever inquired about the Countys buffer standards listed with the Zoning Ordinance. Ms. Turnmire stated that the buffer requirements were 30 feet minimum with an additional setback of 15 feet for an industrial site. Ms. Turnmire also mentioned that there were requirements listed for planting and she explained that the plantings must be at least 10 feet in width at the time planted and must reach a certain height by a certain time period.
Chairman Keever stated that he would have more sympathy for the Wittenburg Springs arguments if Huntington House had not existed prior to the development of the subdivision. He stated that he was aware that Wittenburg Springs was a very nice development that he hoped would continue to be developed; however, he pointed out that Huntington House was, in fact, already in their current location when the development of Wittenburg Springs began. Chairman Keever stated that Huntington House was providing jobs that were desperately needed due to the loss of so many furniture manufacturing plants recently. Chairman Keever also felt that the Board should review the Zoning Ordinance in regard to setbacks and buffers.
Commissioner Hammer stated that cases like these were the hardest thing the Board had to decide because there were always good points made on both sides of every case. He stated that he understood both parties and the concerns that each had. Commissioner Hammer pointed out, as Chairman Keever did, that Huntington House already existed before the subdivision and he felt sure that the residents were aware of this before they ever built a house.
There being no further public
Commissioner Hammer made a motion to approve Rezoning Case 04-7. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted 4-0 in favor of the motion.
DRAFT AIR QUALITY ACTION PLAN
Sylvia Turnmire, Director of Planning & Development, first gave an update of the September 2004 ozone monitor readings. She informed the Board that all readings, with the exception of the last week in September, had been received. The readings were as follows:
Taylorsville Sewer Plant Monitor Co. Maintenance Building Monitor
Minimum Maximum Minimum Maximum
9/5 to 9/11 .019 .060 .019 .058
9/12 to 9/18 .026 .060 .024 .052
9/19 to 9/25 .045 .074 .042 .075
Ms. Turnmire stated that the ozone
readings had not exceeded .085 or higher this year. She
also stated that the 4th highest reading, which was what the Division of Air
Quality (DAQ) considered, was .071 and she also noted that the DAQ estimated the 3-year
average at .0823. Ms. Turnmire informed the
Board that if the average remained the same through the end of the monitoring season
Ms. Turnmire also gave the Board
notice of a public hearing to be held by the Environmental and Natural Resources, Division
of Air Quality at the
At this time, Ms. Turnmire presented
the draft Air Quality Action Plan, which is a part of the Early Action Compact (EAC) that
Ms. Turnmire stated that the draft
copy presented tonight was simply for the Boards information and review so that
suggestions could be made for the final draft. Ms.
Turnmire also informed the Board that Leeanne Whisnant, Health Director, and David
Icenhour, Economic Development Director, had reviewed the plan and reported suggestions. Ms. Turnmire mentioned that copies of the plan
would be made available to the public at the
Ms. Turnmire discussed the last Unifour Air Quality Committee Meeting at which Debbie Manning, DAQ Chemist, announced that the old monitor at the Taylorsville Sewer Plant would probably be removed following the next ozone monitoring season next year.
Ms. Turnmire stated that if the County did not reach the attainment standard by 2007, the County could face the reduction or suspension of federal transportation funding, restrictions on the location expansion of industries that would slow economic growth and reduce job opportunities, as well as mandatory vehicle emissions programs that would require alternative fuel cars, resulting in higher gas and vehicles prices.
Commissioner Watts asked which months were the worst for ozone levels. Ms. Turnmire replied that July and August showed the highest levels.
ADVANTAGE WOOD PRODUCTS ASSESSMENT POLICY RESOLUTION
David Icenhour, Economic Development Director, presented the Advantage Wood Products Assessment Policy Resolution to be included as part of a CDBG application for the installation of water and sewer lines. Mr. Icenhour explained that the Department of Commerce required the assessment policy because the water and sewer lines to be installed would be intended to benefit low and moderate income citizens. The assessment policy would require individuals that wish to tap onto the water or sewer lines, but are not considered low or moderate income, to pay an assessment fee to tap onto the lines. Mr. Icenhour mentioned that low and moderate income individuals or families would not be charged a fee to tap onto the lines.
Commissioner Hammer made a motion to approve the Advantage Wood Products Assessment Policy Resolution. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
Mr. Icenhour also announced that the
Mr. Icenhour also discussed Amendment
One Self-Financing Bonds that would be on the November ballot. Mr. Icenhour stated that several meetings ago, the
Board approved a resolution in support of Amendment One Self-Financing Bonds that would
allow projects in the County to use these bonds to improve the infrastructure of the
project such as water, sewer, and roads. The
bonds are paid back based on the increase in value of the property, meaning that taxes do
not have to be increased to pay for the bonds. Mr.
Icenhour informed the Board that these type bonds were used in every state in the
YMCA COMMITTEE UPDATE
Mr. French informed the Board that after review of the partnership, the Senior Center Advisory Board did not feel it would be beneficial to begin a contractual relationship with the YMCA. Mr. French also reported that the Parks & Recreation Advisory Board also did not wish to pursue any contractual relationship. However, he noted that soccer games would be scheduled between the YMCA and the Parks & Recreation Department.
Commissioner Hammer made a motion to terminate the process of negotiating a partnership with the YMCA. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
BUDGET ORDINANCE AMENDMENT #9
Budget Amendment #9
To budget for consulting services (re. cable television franchise agreement). To budget for an increased allocation for
Commissioner Hammer made a motion to approve Budget Amendment #9. Commissioner Watts seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
BOARD APPOINTMENTS & REAPPOINTMENTS
Commissioner Hammer presented the following appointments:
A. WPCOG REGION E DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
Appoint Andrew Jackson to replace Tim Keever
Appoint David Icenhour to replace Keith Hertzler
B. FUTURE FORWARD
Appoint public sector member
C. FIREMENS RELIEF FUND TRUSTEE
Appoint Joseph Carson
Appoint Gary Hall
Commissioner Hammer stated that a public sector member was still needed for the Future Forward Committee and he asked that the Board provide suggestions at the next meeting.
Commissioner Hammer made a motion to approve the appointments. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
The October 18, 2004
Commissioners Meeting is scheduled to be held in the Bethlehem Elementary School
Media Center. Mr. French stated that the
new County building located on
The N.C. Volunteer Service
Award Program scheduled for
A. Tax Release Requests for September $827.21 and Tax Refund Requests for September $431.53.
Commissioner Hammer made a motion to approve the Consent Agenda. Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
CLOSED SESSION N.C.G.S. 143-318.11(a)(1, 5, & 6) TO PREVENT DISCLOSURE OF CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION, CONTRACTUAL, AND PERSONNEL
Chairman Keever announced that there was no need for a Closed Session at this time.
There being no further business, Commissioner Hammer made a motion to adjourn at . Commissioner Bolick seconded the motion. The Board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.
W. Norris Keever, Chairman Jamie M. Starnes, Clerk to the Board