PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 16, 2009, 7:00 P.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold four public hearings on 1) a request by Mr. Larry D. Drum and Ms. Denise D. Wright to rezone 3.97 acres at 2852 Buffalo Shoals Road and 4144, 4188, and 4194 Highway 16 South from RC Rural Commercial and R-40 Residential to HC Highway Commercial; 2) a request of Palliative Care and Hospice of Catawba Valley to rezone 5.2 acres, located at 7473 Sherrills Ford Road in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District, from R-20 Residential to PD Planned Development; 3) a request to name an unnamed street off Highway 16 South as Bryant Jones Drive; and 4) the County's proposed application for Community Development Block Grants in fiscal year 2009-10; and consider accepting grant funds to develop a Civic Leadership Academy through which high school students will learn about local government, issues and leadership skills, when the Board meets at 7 pm on Monday, February 16, 2009, at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.
The Board will also consider a change in the County's Building Inspection Fee Schedule to include green building incentives, which would provide limited rebates, not to exceed $500, to promote and increase renewable and sustainable energy technologies and green buildings certification for homes and businesses; establishment of a new pay classification for Public Health's Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Office, which will not have any actual financial impact on the County budget; an update on the use of new technologies by the County and a presentation from the Catawba County Youth Council. The Board will also present a Certificate of Commendation to the Newton-Conover High School football team, winners of the 2008 North Carolina 2-A football championship.
A. The Board will present a Certificate of Commendation to the Newton-Conover High School Football Team for its outstanding performance in winning the North Carolina 2A Championship in 2008. The certificate will commend the team and its coaches for their spirit, motivation and teamwork, and for bringing this impressive honor to Newton-Conover High School and Catawba County.
B. The Board will hear a presentation from the Catawba County Youth Council, formed one year ago to provide a youth voice and perspective to local government. The council consists of 25 high school students with 2-3 representatives from each school and selected community organizations. Members of the Council are expected to update the Board on its accomplishments and focus after one year of effort and organization.
A. The Board will hold a public hearing on a request by Mr. Larry D. Drum and Ms. Denise D. Wright to rezone five parcels totaling 3.97 acres, at 2852 Buffalo Shoals Road and at 4144, 4188, and 4194 Highway 16 South in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District, from RC Rural Commercial and R-40 Residential to HC Highway Commercial. Four parcels are currently zoned RC Rural Commercial and occupied by non-residential uses. One parcel is zoned R-40 Residential and is the location of a well and septic drain field used by some non-residential uses, but is otherwise unoccupied. Parcels to the north and east are zoned R-40 Residential and occupied by single family residences. Parcels to the south are zoned RC Rural Commercial and R-40 Residential and occupied by single family residences. Parcels to the west are zoned R-40 Residential and occupied by a single family residence; LI Light Industrial and vacant, and PD Planned Development and occupied by Buffalo Shoals Supermarket and Hardware.
The Catawba County Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Section 44-418, HC Highway Commercial District states, “…this district provides areas for regional highway-oriented businesses, office, services and civic uses. The district regulations are designed to protect and encourage the transitional character of the districts by permitting uses and building forms that are compatible with the surrounding area”.
The applicants have indicated that rezoning the properties to HC Highway Commercial would allow the owners an increased number of uses over those allowed in the RC Rural Commercial district. Further, at the time Highway16 is widened, it is highly probable that a sizable portion of these properties could be needed for right-of-way and road location. Rezoning each parcel will offer the applicants greater options and opportunities to redesign and relocate businesses at that time. According to the 2009-2015 State Transportation Improvement Program, right-of-way acquisition is scheduled to begin in 2013 with construction following in 2015.
The parcels are located in a Mixed Use Corridor-Overlay (MUC-O), Rural Preservation-Overlay (RP-O), and WS-IV Watershed
Protected Area (WP-O). The MUC-O provides for architectural and pedestrian oriented design requirements and setback standards
for certain uses. The RP-O requires that any new structures be set back 100 feet from the Highway 16 right-of-way and the WP-O requires that imperviousness not exceed 24 to 36% of the property, depending on the use of curb and gutter and amount of disturbed land. Depending on the amount of right-of-way expansion needed, buildings may have to be redesigned or relocated, properties
may be reconfigured and new site plans would be reviewed administratively with respect to current land use regulations. The properties are currently served by private well and septic. There are future plans for providing public water to the site. At this location, Highway 16 is a two-lane roadway. Widening of Highway 16 is expected to include a combination of four-lane divided and five-lane cross-sections. Buffalo Shoals Road is a minor collector road. The Catawba County Thoroughfare Plan recommends minor widening to the lane widths on Buffalo Shoals Road, for safety reasons, once funding is available.
The Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan serves as the current land use plan for this area. The subject properties are in an area recommended in the plan for a neighborhood commercial center (equivalent to HC Highway Commercial) of approximately 10 to 25 acres. There are currently only 14.23 acres zoned (PD Planned Development) to meet the intent of the neighborhood commercial center. Because the request is for a higher intensity commercial district, staff considers it to be reasonable and in conformance with the Small Area Plan.
The Catawba County Planning Board held a public hearing on January 26, 2009. Mr. Miles Wright, son of Denise Wright, spoke on her behalf. He stated that increased competition across the street and removal of underground storage tanks on site have made this location less viable for the long standing convenience store. Approval of the request would allow for more uses of the property and additional commercial area, depending on how much property is needed for highway widening. One person spoke regarding a private easement adjacent to one parcel. It is intended to be closed. The Planning Board unanimously recommended the rezoning of the property to HC Highway Commercial based on the Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan recognizing the parcels as being in an area proposed for a higher intensity commercial development, and the purpose of the HC Highway Commercial district noted above.
B. The Board will hold a public hearing on a request of Mr. David Clarke, representing Palliative Care and Hospice of Catawba Valley, to rezone one parcel totaling 5.2 acres, at 7473 Sherrills Ford Road in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District, from R-20 Residential to PD Planned Development, and amend an existing site plan approved by the Board on February 18, 2008. The property now at issue for rezoning is adjacent to the property shown on the existing site plan and is currently zoned R-20 Residential and undeveloped. Properties to the north and west are zoned R-20 Residential and occupied by a nonconforming commercial establishment, a single-family residence or undeveloped. Properties to the south are zoned R-40 Residential and undeveloped.
The Catawba County UDO, Section 44-443, PD Planned Development District states that “the planned development district is established to encourage the master planning of large scale, multiple and/or mixed use development patterns.” Applicants who propose a planned development have more flexibility and creativity in design than is possible under conventional zoning regulations. The Planned Development District allows for the layout of uses and open space that promote high standards in design and construction which furthers the purposes of small area plans; encourages well-planned, efficient development to promote economical and efficient land uses; allows a planned and coordinated mix of land uses that are compatible and harmonious, but were previously discouraged by conventional zoning procedures; encourages development of contiguous large lot parcels into an integrated and orderly pattern, with particular attention to developing an efficient and coordinated network of internal streets; promotes clustering of structures and other uses to preserve unique and natural features such as woodlands, wetlands, natural drainage systems and scenic areas; and reserves adequate public right-of-way for the extension of arterial and collector streets.
Palliative Care Center and Hospice of Catawba Valley has acquired an additional 5.2 acres which allows them to reconsider a site design offering increased visibility and access to the public. Hospice has recognized a need and growing demand for its services in the eastern portion of Catawba County and Lake Norman area. An ideal site for the proposed facility would be between 3 and 5 acres. In order to make this site a viable location, an economical use of the excess property is required. In this case, PD Planned Development offers the ability to have a non-residential use (Hospice) and single family residences on individual lots within a mixed use planned development. In February 2008, Hospice received approval for 16 lots (15 single-family, 1 non-residential) on 22.15 acres. The newly proposed site plan consists of 22.3 acres and a total of 22 lots (21 single-family, 1 non-residential). The Hospice facility would be located on a 5.05 acre parcel, have frontage on Sherrills Ford Road, and would likely be built in two phases: first a six-bed facility with offices, workstations, and living areas, followed by six additional bedrooms and offices.
Because the property is in the Watershed Protected Area, imperviousness of the 5.05 acres is allowed to be 79,192 square feet. The proposed impervious area is 77,796 square feet. A walking trail and sidewalks would account for approximately 0.88 acres of open space on the Hospice site. Hospice would maintain a 50-foot setback from all residential districts, as required by the UDO, and a 100-foot setback from Sherrills Ford Road, as required in Rural Preservation-Overlays to preserve the rural character of the corridor.
As proposed, the single-family subdivision located to the rear of the facility includes 21 lots ranging in size from 0.52 acres to 1.3
acres. The proposed density would be 1.06 dwellings per acre (less than the February 2008 plan). A 30-foot buffer would exist around the perimeter of the residential portion of the development and 1.59 acres of natural area and sidewalks would be provided. If the rezoning is approved, the development of the property would be preceded by creation of a detailed site plan for administrative review. The County Subdivision Review Board would also review the subdivision before any residential development begins.
Public water is available and located along Sherrills Ford Road The City of Hickory’s Public Utilities Department has confirmed
that a municipal water line adjacent to the site will be available for access. Public sewer is not currently available. As required by the UDO, all utilities will be underground. Sherrills Ford Road is a two-lane roadway. The Catawba County Thoroughfare Plan recommends minor widening of lane widths for safety reasons. The site plan indicates a divided entrance would be used to access the residential subdivision and Hospice would have a separate entrance with connection to the subdivision’s internal road system. The applicant has requested that the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) review the two driveway locations. If NCDOT does not approve both access points, the applicant will consider accessing the Hospice facility off the subdivision’s internal road. All internal roads will be designed to NCDOT standards.
The Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan serves as the current land use plan for this area. The subject properties are in an area with a recommended density of 2 dwellings per acre. The density proposed for the residential subdivision is 1.06 dwellings per acre. Because of its residential nature and proposed density, staff considers the request reasonable and in conformance with the Small Area Plan.
The Catawba County Planning Board held a public hearing on January 26, 2009. Mr. David Clarke, the applicant, stated that the proposed site plan amendment would allow Hospice to be more visible from the road. He was asked if Hospice planned to develop the residential lots, and indicated Hospice may sell the residential portion of the development because Hospice is not in the business of residential development. No one spoke in opposition to the request. The Planning Board unanimously recommended approval of the revised site plan and the rezoning of the property from R-20 Residential to PD Planned Development based on the Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan recognizing the parcels as being in an area proposed for medium density residential development, and the purpose of the PD Planned Development noted above.
C. The Board will hold a public hearing on a proposed name for an unnamed street in the Mountain Creek Township. The goal of the County’s E-911 Office is to assign individual E-911 numbers to all dwellings located in Catawba County. One step toward this goal is to name streets or driveways that are at least 1200 feet in length and/or access three or more parcels. An unnamed street has been identified in the Mountain Creek Township off Highway 16 South, potentially accessed by six properties. A suggestion was received from Mr. Garrett Goodson and Mr. Gerald Goodson to name the right-of-way Bryant Jones Drive. No other names were suggested, and this name is not a duplicate. The E-911 Office recommends the Board approve the name Bryant Jones Drive.
D. The Board will hold a public hearing to receive citizen input on the development of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) applications for the coming year. North Carolina receives approximately $50 million in CDBG funds each year. Local governments may apply for these funds for various activities that benefit low and moderate income persons with severe needs, including installation of infrastructure for businesses that will create jobs for low and moderate income persons, neighborhood revitalization, and housing development and rehabilitation. Two public hearings must be held to receive public comment on any project. The County must hold an initial public hearing to receive citizen input on the development of the application.
A. The Board will consider accepting a grant for $5150 from the North Carolina Civic Education Consortium and Z. Smith
Reynolds Foundation to support the development of the “C3 Civic Leadership Academy”, a collaborative project offered by Catawba County Government, Catawba County Schools, and the Catawba County Youth Council. The Academy will include a week-long summer program during which 20 high school students will learn about local government and issues, and enhance their leadership skills. This will be followed by a 35-hour internship experience with students working in different County departments, concluding with a presentation by the students. Donna Mull, Catawba County 4-H Agent, will serve as program coordinator, with assistance from a high school teacher who will work on a time-limited contract basis. A number of County employees representing different departments were involved in the development of the grant and will continue to be involved in program implementation. Funding will be received in the current budget year and carried over to the 2009-2010 budget year. Program progress will be measured through successful completion of local citizenship and community service programs, meeting requirements for chartering the Catawba County Youth Council as a North Carolina Youth Council, and evaluations completed by students. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends acceptance of this $5150 in grant funding.
B. The Board will consider establishing a new job classification, Program Assistant at a pay grade of 63, to apply to the Women, Infant & Children (WIC) eligibility staff at Public Health. These positions have been classified as Office Support Specialists, at pay grade 62, but have become more detailed and complex due to continued growth in program guidelines. These staff are responsible for meeting with clients to determine initial or continuing eligibility for WIC services. Employees in these positions obtain and verify personal client information, then analyze and evaluate appropriate eligibility for services. They are also responsible for independently interpreting State and Federal guidelines. The processing of new applications or determinations of eligibility must be done in a timely manner as mandated by the State. Once clients are approved for services, the WIC eligibility staff must explain the proper use of food instruments and refer clients to other organizations for further assistance when appropriate. Based on these job duties and responsibilities, the Human Resources Department and Board of Health recommend there be a different classification for these positions. According to job specifications from the Office of State Personnel, the Program Assistant classification seems the best match for these duties. Creation of this new classification would distinguish between the duties performed by these WIC positions and other Office Support Specialists. There are currently six employees serving in the WIC division. All are currently at or above the minimum pay for the proposed new grade 63, so there would be no financial impact on the County budget as a result of this change. The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends establishing the Program Assistant, Grade 63, classification.
A. UTILITIES AND ENGINEERING
The Board will consider amending the County’s Building Inspection Fee Schedule to include “Schedule J – Green Building Incentives”, which would become effective on February 17, 2009. Staff has developed these green building incentives, a special allowance to provide an incentive for building in accordance with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED, Energy Star, and/or North Carolina HealthyBuilt Homes programs. These incentives are intended to promote and increase renewable and sustainable energy technologies, and green building certifications for homes and commercial buildings in Catawba County.
The Green Building Incentives fee structure would be a rebate program providing the builder and/or owner of new structures with a limited 25% reimbursement (not to exceed $500) on permit(s) following the issuance of a Certificate of Occupancy, provided the project received Green Building certification, including but not limited to LEED, Energy Star, and/or North Carolina HealthyBuilt Homes programs, by a third party inspection agency. The Green Building Incentives fee structure will also provide the builder and/or owner of new structures with a 50% reimbursement of all fees related to plan review or express plan review for commercial buildings, provided the project receives Green Building certification by a third party inspection agency, as noted above.
The Green Building Incentives fee structure would provide owners of existing structures with 50% permit reimbursements upon approval for a Green Building certification, including but not limited to elements in the LEED, Energy Star, and/or NC HealthyBuilt Homes certification programs. County Building Services staff would certify renovations in the permitting process.
Presentations about this proposed incentives program were made to various stakeholder groups including the Professional Construction Estimators’ Association, Professional Engineers of North Carolina, Home Builders’ Association and the Building Services Advisory Committee. Responses from these groups was very positive.
The impact of this incentives program on the Building Services budget is expected to be insignificant, and staff feels the benefits derived by the County from environmentally efficient and renewable buildings outweigh any minor funding adjustments that may occur. The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends this amendment to the County’s Building Inspection Fee Schedule.
B. INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
The Board is expected to receive an informational report on the County’s Strategic Technology Plan which provides direction for addressing short and long term requirements for cost-effective, practical technological solutions and places a strong emphasis on both external and internal customer services. This plan provides a framework for the effective management of information technology, with the primary goal of supporting the business objectives of the County, and to facilitate departmental efforts to provide efficient and effective services to the citizens, businesses and visitors to Catawba County.
CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 465-8464