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FEBRUARY 19, 2007
AGENDA
Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Monday, February 19, 2007, 7:00 p.m.
Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room, 1924 Courthouse
30 North College Avenue, Newton, NC

1. Call to Order.

2. Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

3. Invocation.

4. Approval of the Minutes from the Regular and Closed Session Meetings of Monday, February 5, 2007.

5. Recognition of Special Guests.

6. Public Comment for items not on the agenda.

7. Presentations:

Certificates of Commendations presented to William Butler, Patricia Goodwin and the Catawba Rescue Squad.   Presented by Vice-Chair Barbara G. Beatty.

8. Public Hearings:

a. Rezoning request by John and Catherine Miller and Darlene Feege to rezone a parcel totaling 1.17 acres from R-20 Residential to the O-I Office and Institutional. Presented by Cal Overby, Planner.

b. Rezoning request by Jim Sherrill to rezone a 4.28 acre parcel from RC Rural Commercial and R-40 Residential to HC Highway Commercial. Presented by Cal Overby, Planner.

c. Rezoning request by Harvest Investment Properties, LLC to rezone a 2.1 acre parcel from R-20 Residential to HC Highway Commercial. Presented by Cal Overby, Planner.

d. Rezoning request by Edmund and Deborah Wyatt to rezone a 0.98 acre parcel from R-20 Residential to HC Highway Commercial. Presented by Cal Overby, Planner.

e. Close Out of CDBG Economic Recovery Planning Project 03-P-1166. Presented by Sherry Long, Community Development Director.

f. Close Out of CDBG Planning Project 02-P-0972. Presented by Sherry Long, Community Development Director.

9. Appointments.

10. Department Reports.

Issuance of $4,500,000 Industrial Revenue Bonds. Presented by Scott Millar, President, Economic Development Corporation.

11. Other Items of business.

12. Attorneys’ Report.

13. Manager’s Report.

14. Adjournment.

PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Individuals needing assistance should contact the County Clerk at 465-8990 within a reasonable time prior to the meeting. A telecommunication device for the deaf (TDD) is located in the Government Center and can be reached by dialing 828-465-8200. Access to the 1924 Courthouse for individuals with disabilities is at the south side (“A” Street). The elevator is located at the north end of the building. Participation in public meetings is without regard to race, creed, religion, national origin, sex, age, color, or disability.

INFOTALK/INTERNET
The Catawba County Telephone Information System will allow you to use your touch tone telephone to obtain current information on Catawba County 24 hours a day. Information is updated on a regular basis. Dial 465-8468 and INFOTALK will direct your questions with easy to understand instructions. Reach Catawba County on the Internet at http://www.catawbacountync.gov.

CALENDAR
There will be no March morning meeting of the Board of Commissioners due to the NACo Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., March 3-7, 2007. The next Board of Commissioners meeting will take place on Monday, March 19, 2007 at 7:00 p.m.


PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 19, 2007, 7 P.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold six public hearings when the Board meets beginning at 7 p.m. on Monday, February 19, 2007 in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room on the second floor of the 1924 Courthouse, located at 30 North College Avenue in Newton. Four of the public hearings regard requests to rezone property at 3013 and 3025 Highway 127 South (from R-20 Residential to O-I Office and Institutional); at 2617 Highway 16 South (from RC Rural Commercial and R-40 Residential to HC Highway Commercial); at 5767 Highway 150 East (from R-20 Residential to HC Highway Commercial) and at 5793 Highway 150 East (from R-20 Residential to HC Highway Commercial). The fifth and sixth public hearings will be on the closeout of two separate Community Development Block Grants awarded to the County from the State of North Carolina

The Board will also consider a request from the Catawba County Industrial Facilities and Pollution Control Financing Authority to approve the issue of $4.5 million in Industrial Revenue Bonds for Fiber Line, Inc. The bond issue would carry no financial obligation for Catawba County. The money comes from private investors and bonds are sold in national capital markets to insurance companies, and bond and mutual funds. The Board will also present a Certificate of Commendation to William Butler, a Bandys High School junior, Patricia Goodwin, a registered nurse, and the members of the Catawba Rescue Squad, whose actions saved the life of a man who collapsed at a Bandys basketball game.

PRESENTATIONS
The Board will present Certificates of Commendation to Mr. William Butler, a Bandys High School junior, Ms. Patricia Goodwin, a registered nurse and members of the Catawba Rescue Squad, whose quick thinking and professional care recently saved the life of a man who collapsed at a Bandys High basketball game. A person attending the game was unresponsive after collapsing. Mr. Butler, a junior member of the Catawba Rescue Squad, and Ms. Goodwin responded immediately, used an automated external defibrillator in an attempt to revive the victim and provided life support until paramedics arrived. Mr. Butler continued to assist paramedics until the patient was stabilized for transport to a hospital. The commendation further salutes Catawba Rescue Squad’s initiative to train the future emergency responders of Catawba County and the Rescue Squad’s overall effort that evening.

PUBLIC HEARINGS
(NOTE: New zoning classifications are now being used by Catawba County following the passage of the Unified Development Ordinance on February 5, 2007.)

A. The Board will hold a public hearing on a request of Mr. John Miller and Ms. Catherine Miller, and Ms. Darlene Feege, to rezone two parcels totaling 1.17 acres, located at 3013 and 3025 NC Highway 127 South in the Mountain View Small Area Planning District, from the R-20 Residential District to the O-I Office and Institutional District. The two parcels are occupied by two single-family residential homes. The property to the north is zoned R-20 Residential and is occupied by a single-family residence; properties to the south across NC 127 are zoned C-4 Commercial and PD-SC-C Planned Development Shopping Center Community by the City of Hickory. They are occupied by a car wash, a fast food restaurant and a physician’s office. The property to the east is zoned R-20 Residential and is vacant, while the property to the west across Frye Ave. is zoned Office and Institutional by the City of Hickory and is occupied by a multi-tenant office building. NC 127 South is designated as a major thoroughfare by the Hickory-Newton-Conover Urban Area Transportation Plan. Major thoroughfares are defined as primary traffic arteries of the urban area. Their purpose is to move traffic from city to city and within urban areas; therefore, strip development and multiple driveway access is to be discouraged.

The Catawba County Unified Development Ordinance states that the O-I Office and Institutional District is intended to accommodate low intensity office and institutional, and commercial land uses. Properties located within O-I Districts may be developed to a maximum floor area ratio of 1:5. The two properties could individually accommodate approximately 5,000 square feet of floor area, or 10,000 square feet collectively. The subject properties are also located within the Mixed Use Corridor Overlay District, which places specific use, site and building design standards on non-residential construction and development.

The Mountain View Small Area Plan, adopted on October 21, 2002, serves as the current land use plan for this area. The plan identifies this section of NC 127 South as a Highway Corridor (suitable for commercial, and office and institutional uses). Catawba County staff considers this request to be in conformance with the adopted land use plan but the size of the parcels in question prohibits large-scale Office and Institutional uses. Staff recommended approval of this rezoning request based upon: 1) the Mountain View Small Area Plan recognizing this area as a Commercial and Office and Institutional corridor; 2) the purpose of the O-I Office and Institutional District; and 3) the close proximity of existing office and commercial zoning. The Catawba County Planning Board held a public hearing on this rezoning on January 29, 2007. A total of eight citizens spoke during the public hearing. Four spoke in favor of the rezoning, and four in opposition to the rezoning, with those in opposition citing traffic congestion and safety, stormwater issues (drainage); and the historical residential character of the area. The Planning Board concurred with the staff recommendation to support the request to rezone the property from R-2 Residential to O-I Office and Institutional, based on the factors cited above.

B. The Board will hold a public hearing on a request of Mr. Jim Sherrill to rezone a 4.28-acre parcel, located at 2617 Highway 16 South in the Balls Creek Small Area Planning District, from the RC Rural Commercial and R-40 Residential Districts to the HC Highway Commercial District. The subject parcel is vacant. The property immediately to the north across Highway 16 is zoned RC (Rural Commercial) and is being developed for the location of a convenience store and gas station. The property to the northwest across the intersection of Highway 16 and Bethany Church Rd./Smyre Farm Rd. is zoned HC (Highway Commercial) and is occupied by an auto sales and auto repair facility. The property to the northeast across Highway 16 is zoned R-40 Residential and is occupied by a single-family residence. Properties to the south are zoned R-40 Residential and occupied by a church and single-family residence. Properties to the east are zoned R-40 and occupied by single-family residences. Properties to the west across Smyre Farm Road are zoned R-40 and occupied by two single-family residences. NC 16 South is designated as a major thoroughfare by the Catawba County Transportation Plan. Major thoroughfares are further defined under item A, above.

The Catawba County Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), section 44-418, HC Highway Commercial District, states “… this district provides areas for regional highway-oriented business, 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 R-40 District is considered a low-density residential and agricultural district. Permitted uses within the Rural Commercial (RC) District generally consist of retail and service uses targeting the immediate surrounding neighborhoods. Permitted uses in the R-40 District consist of site-built homes, duplexes and agricultural uses. However, Section 44-402 of the UDO states, “Where a zoning lot contains two or more district designations, the regulations of the underlying general district fronting the public street shall govern, except where lots front on Lake Hickory, Lake Lookout, or Lake Norman or the main stem of the Catawba River”. This stipulation would, in effect, cause RC District regulations to guide development on this entire 4.28-acre parcel. The stated intent of the Highway Commercial (HC) District is to provide for the location of business, office and service uses in the vicinity of regional highways. Uses permitted within the HC District are typically larger in terms of physical size and greater in intensity than those uses permitted within the RC District.

The Balls Creek Small Area Plan, adopted on June 16, 2003, serves as the current land use plan for this area. The plan identifies the intersection of Highway 16 South and Smyre Farm Road as a Neighborhood Commercial Node. County staff considers this request to be in conformance with the adopted land use plan and recommended the rezoning of the property from RC Rural Commercial and R-40 Residential to HC Highway Commercial based upon: 1) the fact that the Balls Creek Small Area Plan recognizes this area as a Neighborhood Commercial Node; 2) the intent of the HC Highway Commercial District; and 3) the close proximity of existing HC Highway Commercial zoning. The Catawba County Planning Board conducted a public hearing on this request on January 29, 2007. No one present opposed the rezoning. The property owner spoke in favor of it. The Planning Board concurred with the staff recommendation to support the request to rezone the property from RC Rural Commercial and R-40 Residential to HC Highway Commercial, based on the factors cited above.

C. The Board will hold a public hearing on a request of Harvest Investment Properties, LLC to rezone a 2.1-acre parcel, located at 5767 Highway 150 East in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District, from R-20 Residential to HC Highway Commercial. The subject parcel is occupied by a single-family residential home. Properties to the north across Highway 150 are zoned HC Highway Commercial, R-20 Residential and PD - Planned Development and occupied by a single-family residential home, an auto maintenance/repair facility, and a physician’s office, respectively. The properties to the south are zoned R-20 Residential and HC Highway Commercial and are occupied by a single-family residential home and an equipment rental business. The property to the east is zoned R-20 Residential and is occupied by a single-family residential home. The property to the west is zoned R-20 Residential and is occupied by a single-family residential home. Highway 150 is designated as a major thoroughfare on the Catawba County Transportation Plan. Major thoroughfares are further defined under items A and B, above.

The intent of the HC Highway Commercial District under the Catawba County UDO is addressed under item B, above. The R-20 Residential District is primarily a medium-density residential and agricultural district, which permits site-built homes, duplexes, and agricultural uses by right. The subject property is occupied by a single-family residential structure and could possibly be subdivided to create an additional residential building lot, which would be the maximum extent of development possible for the property. Development of the subject property under the HC Highway Commercial standards would permit the property to be developed at a maximum floor area ratio of 1:3, which would calculate into 0.693 acres (30,187 square feet) of total floor area. The HC Highway Commercial district permits a wide variety of retail and service land uses. The subject property is also located within the Mixed Use Corridor Overlay District, which places specific use, site and building design standards on non-residential construction and development.

The Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan, adopted on February 17, 2003, serves as the current land use plan for this area. The plan identifies this span of the Highway 150 corridor as a Regional Commercial/Mixed Use area. Staff considers this request to be in conformance with the adopted land use plan and recommended the rezoning of the property from the R-20 Residential District to the HC Highway Commercial District based upon: 1) the Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan’s recognizing of this area as a Regional Commercial/Mixed Use area; 2) the purpose of the HC Highway Commercial District; and 3) the close proximity of existing commercial zoning. The Planning Board conducted a public hearing on January 29, 2007. No one present spoke regarding this rezoning request. The Planning Board concurred with the staff recommendation to support the request to rezone the property from R-20 Residential to HC Highway Commercial, based on the factors cited above.

D. The Board will hold a public hearing on a request of Mr. Edmund Wyatt and Ms. Deborah Wyatt to rezone a 0.98-acre parcel, located at 5793 Highway 150 East in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District, from R-20 Residential to HC Highway Commercial. The subject parcel is occupied by a single-family residential home. The properties to the north across Highway 150 are zoned R-20 Residential and occupied by two single-family residential homes. The property to the south is zoned HC Highway Commercial and occupied by a childcare center. The property immediately to the east is zoned R-20 Residential and is vacant. The next property to the east is zoned R-20 Residential and is occupied by a single-family residential home. The property to the west is zoned RC Rural Commercial and is vacant. Highway 150 is designated as a major thoroughfare by the Catawba County Transportation Plan. Major thoroughfares are further defined under item A, above.

The intent of the HC Highway Commercial District and the R-20 Residential Districts, under the Catawba County UDO, are addressed under items B and C, above. The subject property is occupied by a single-family residential structure and could possibly be subdivided to create an additional residential building lot, which would be the maximum extent of development possible for the property. Development of the subject property under the HC Highway Commercial standards would permit the property to be developed at a maximum floor area ratio of 1:3, which would calculate into 0.323 acres (14,070 square feet) of total floor area. (Note: rounding was used.) The HC Highway Commercial district permits a wide variety of retail and service land uses. The subject property is also located within the Mixed Use Corridor Overlay District, which places specific use, site and building design standards on non-residential construction and development.

The Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan, adopted on February 17, 2003, serves as the current land use plan for this area. The plan identifies this span of the Highway 150 corridor as a Regional Commercial/Mixed Use area. Staff considers this request to be in conformance with the adopted land use plan and recommended the rezoning of the property from R-20 Residential to HC Highway Commercial based upon: 1) the Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan’s recognizing this area as a Neighborhood Commercial Node; 2) the intent of the HC Highway Commercial District; and 3) the close proximity of existing HC Highway Commercial zoning. The Planning Board conducted a public hearing on January 29, 2007. No one present spoke with regard to this rezoning request. The Planning Board concurred with the staff recommendation to support the request to rezone the property from R-20 Residential to HC Highway Commercial, based on the factors cited above.

E. The Board will hold a closeout public hearing on the use of a $180,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Economy Recovery Grant awarded to Catawba County in 2004. This grant was used for projects identified by the Future Forward Economic Alliance. In response to the tremendous loss of jobs in North Carolina and the impact of those lost jobs, the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) made funding available for grants to be used to complete Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies, blueprints for future economic development. An EDA grant of $320,000 was approved for a project area which included Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Iredell, Lincoln, Rutherford, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes and McDowell Counties and was matched by the $80,000 CDBG grant to Catawba County. Working with professional consultants and the Western Piedmont Council of Governments, the Future Forward Committee reviewed existing reports, interviewed more than 150 people and talked with nearly 400 citizens in a series of workshops. A comprehensive study of the region’s economy found that the region’s decline in manufacturing jobs began in 1995, well before the recession early in this decade. Structural changes in key industries also contributed to the economic decline. From this data, the Future Forward Committee fashioned a vision statement and identified strategies considered most important for achieving long-term economic success.

As of December 31, 2006, the alliance was successful in achieving identified goals in four areas: 1) market research to compile a list of companies with the greatest potential for local expansion or relocation; 2) a Brownfields environmental site survey of potential sites that could be redeveloped or evaluated for redevelopment for business and industry, which identified nine sites in the alliance area, six of which are being redeveloped or evaluated for redevelopment while two are being marketed and one is being considered for purchase by a local government; 3) identification of two “mega-site” projects with North Carolina Site Certification, suitable for multiple industries, including one mega-site in Catawba County; and 4) implementation and monitoring of the progress of the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategies study, noted above, which recorded a number of successes including establishment of the Future Forward alliance itself, the opening of the North Carolina Center for Engineering Technology in Hickory in 2007, creation of a regional tourism website (greaterhickorymetro.com), establishment of a Higher Education Coordinating Council and a system to match people with available jobs.

F. The Board will hold a closeout public hearing on the use of an $80,000 CDBG which Catawba County received from the State of North Carolina in 2002. This grant resulted in creation of the Future Forward Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy and Action Plan outlined above.

DEPARTMENT REPORTS
The Board will consider formally approving the issue of $4.5 million in Industrial Revenue Bonds for Fiber Line, Inc. This bond issue would carry no financial obligation for Catawba County or the State of North Carolina. The money comes from private investors. Bonds are sold in national capital markets to insurance companies, and to bond and mutual funds.

The bonds would fund a proposed project that would include a 60,000 square foot expansion of Fiber-Line’s existing manufacturing facility located in Shurwood Business Park, in Hickory. The project also includes the acquisition of equipment to be used in the manufacture of coated synthetic yarns, fiberglass yarns and various resin products. Fiber-Line would add 25 new jobs, increasing its employment from 33 to 58 over the next three years. The average expected wage will be approximately $14 an hour for machine operators and administrative personnel. Training programs offered through Catawba Valley Community College will be used to help offset training costs for the company. The Catawba County Industrial Facilities and Pollution Control Financing Authority entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with Fiber-Line on July 19, 2006, and the Board of Commissioners authorized an application for the issue of these bonds after a public hearing at its meeting on September 18, 2006. This expansion would generate approximately $44,550 in annual combined Hickory and Catawba County tax revenue.

CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 465-8464

 

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