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FEBRUARY 20, 2012
AGENDA
Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Monday, February 20, 2012, 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 – Led by Boy Scout Troop 250 from St. Luke’s United Methodist Church

3. Invocation

4. Approval of the minutes from the Board’s Regular Meeting and Closed Session of January 27, 2012

5. Recognition of Special Guests

6. Public Comments for Items Not on the Agenda

7. Public Hearings:


a. Rezoning Request by Jeffery Cernuto to rezone 1.91 acres from RC Rural Commercial and R-20 Residential to HC Highway Commercial District. Presented by Planner Chris Timberlake


b. Rezoning Request by Brian and Lisa Jones to include one parcel totaling 11.97 acres in the Doublewide Manufactured Home-Overlay District. Presented by Planner Chris Timberlake


c. Proposed Amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance. Presented by Director of Planning, Parks and Development Jacky Eubanks


d. Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Amendment for Royal Heights Circle Water Project – Old Shelby Road. Presented by Assistant Director of Utilities and Engineering Jack Chandler

8. Appointments

9. Departmental Reports:

A. Tax


1. Tax Refund Request. Presented by Tax Collector Ona Scruggs


2. Delinquent 2011 Real Estate Property Tax. Presented by Tax Collector Ona Scruggs

B. Social Services:


2011 Community Child Protection & Fatality Prevention Team Annual Report. Presented by Social Services Director John Eller and Public Health Services Manager Jennifer McCracken

10. Other Items of Business

11. Attorneys’ Report

12. Manager’s Report

13. Adjournment

PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES: Individuals needing assistance should contact the County Clerk at 465-8990 within a reasonable time prior to the meeting. 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
Due to the Board members’ attendance at the NACO Conference in Washington, DC in early March, there will be only one March Board of Commissioners Meeting. This meeting will take place on Monday, March 19, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.


PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2012, 7 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 to rezone two parcels at 9187 and 9195 Sherrills Ford Road, in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District, from R-20 Residential and RC Rural Commercial to the HC Highway Commercial district; 2) a request to include 11.97 acres at 4645 Puddle Path, in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District, in the Doublewide Manufactured Home-Overlay district; 3) on proposed amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance text related to the Rural Preservation Overlay, sidewalks, parking standards and accessory structures; and 4) a proposed amendment to the 2009 Community Development Block Grant Royal Heights Circle Water Project grant, which would extend water lines along Old Shelby Road from the Bakers Mountain Road intersection south to the JV Parker Road intersection, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, February 20, 2012, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room of the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.

The Board will also receive the 2011 report from the Community Child Protection and Fatality Prevention Team; a report on delinquent 2011 property taxes and a request to advertise all unpaid tax liens, as prescribed under North Carolina General Statute 105-369; and consider a request for a tax refund.

PUBLIC HEARINGS
A. The Board will hold a public hearing on a request to rezone two parcels totaling 1.91 acres, at 9187 and 9195 Sherrills Ford Road in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District, from RC-Rural Commercial and R-20 Residential to HC Highway Commercial district. One parcel is currently zoned RC-Rural Commercial and is vacant. The second parcel is zoned R-20 Residential & occupied by a single family home. A parcel to the north is zoned R-20 Residential and occupied by a single family home. Single parcels to the south and west are zoned R-20 Residential and vacant. One of two parcels to the east is zoned R-20 Residential and is vacant. Approximately 2.5 acres of this parcel is the proposed location of the future Sherrills Ford Branch Library. The other parcel is zoned R-20 Residential and occupied by a single family home.

Generally, the RC Rural Commercial district provides small areas for offices, services, and retail uses, all designed in scale with surrounding residential uses. The district regulations are designed to protect and encourage the transitional character of the district by permitting uses and building forms that are compatible with the rural area of the county. The R-20 Residential District is considered a medium-density residential and agricultural district. Permitted uses in the R-20 Residential District consist predominately of site-built homes and agricultural uses.

Section 44-418 of the Catawba County Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), 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 properties proposed for rezoning total 1.91 acres in size. The minimum lot size requirement for the HC district is 40,000 square feet. Because parcel 1 is currently 39,145 square feet, if the rezoning is approved, a portion of property from parcel 2 will be combined with parcel 1. The proposed recombination would provide parcel 1 with 40,813 square feet and parcel 2 with 41,629 square feet (excluding property within the right-of-way). The requested HC Highway Commercial District permits a maximum floor area ratio of 1:3, meaning that each square foot of building floor space requires three square feet of land area. The allowed floor area for parcel 1 would be 13,604 square feet. The allowed floor area for parcel 2 would be 13,876 square feet. The allowable square footage of a building on parcel 1 as it exists today is 7,927 square feet. Both properties are outside of the Mixed Use Corridor-Overlay district but within the WS-IV Watershed Critical Area, which provides that the maximum built upon area for each property be 24% when development exceeds one acre.

Public water is available to both properties. Parcel 2 is currently served by a private well. Public sewer is not currently available. Sherrills Ford Road is categorized as a minor collector road according to the Thoroughfare Plan for Catawba County. According to the 2009 Annual Average Daily Traffic Map (most recent data available), the average daily traffic count on Sherrills Ford Road in the proximity of the properties was 5,400 vehicles per day. The Thoroughfare Plan states that the existing conditions of Sherrills Ford Road should provide for a daily vehicle capacity of 13,800. The plan also recommends minor widening of lane widths when funding is available.

The Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan serves as the current land use plan for this area. The subject property is in an area for Village-Mixed Use. The idea of the “village” would include a mixture of commercial, office, and mixed-residential uses. Because of the nature of the request, staff considers it reasonable and consistent with the Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan. Staff recommended the Planning Board approve a favorable recommendation to the Board of Commissioners to rezone parcel 1 from RC Rural Commercial to HC Highway Commercial and parcel 2 from R-20 Residential to HC Highway Commercial based upon finding the request to be consistent with the Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan, the existing zoning designation of parcel 1, and the existing commercial zoning designation of other parcels located in the proximity of the Sherrills Ford Road and Highway 150 intersection. The Planning Board held a public hearing on December 12, 2011. No one spoke in favor of or against the request. The Planning Board voted, 6-0, to submit a favorable recommendation to the Board of Commissioners to rezone parcel 1 from RC Rural Commercial to HC Highway Commercial and parcel 2 from R-20 Residential to HC Highway Commercial, based on the reasons set forth in the staff’s recommendation.

B. The Board will hold a public hearing on a request to include one parcel totaling 11.97 acres, at 4645 Puddle Path in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District, in the Doublewide Manufactured Home-Overlay (DWMH-O) district. The parcel is currently zoned R-40 Residential, occupied by a stick-built single-family home, and is not in the DWMH-O. Four parcels to the north are within the DWMH-O and zoned R-40 Residential, with one being used for agricultural purposes and three occupied with manufactured homes. Five parcels to the south are in the DWMH-O and zoned R-40 Residential, with one parcel vacant and the remaining four occupied with manufactured homes. One vacant parcel to the east is zoned R-40 Residential, is used for agricultural purposes, and is not in the DWMH-O. Two parcels to the west are zoned R-40 Residential and not in the DWMH-O. One has two manufactured homes and one is vacant.

Section 44-432 of the UDO, Doublewide Manufactured Home, states that the district is established to provide opportunities for the sitting of affordable housing, implement small area plan policies regarding the location of manufactured homes and comply with general statute requirements. The DWMH-O allows the use of a doublewide manufactured home as a principal structure on a residential property by right. It also allows the use of a doublewide or singlewide manufactured home as an accessory dwelling if the occupant is a sibling or lineal family member of the principal structure’s owner.

The property could be subdivided into approximately 13 lots because the minimum lot size in the R-40 Residential district is 40,000 square feet. Roads would be required to meet State standards and the subdivision would have to be approved by the County’s Subdivision Review Board. If the roads were not improved, only two additional lots could be created as a Family Subdivision. The property is served by private well and septic. Public water is located approximately 3,000 feet northeast of the property. Puddle Path is a local residential road (unpaved) providing access to six parcels. There are no traffic counts available for Puddle Path and no proposed improvements for the road.

The Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan serves as the current land use plan for this area. It depicts the subject property in an area recommended for R-1 zoning which did not allow manufactured homes under the former zoning ordinance. Because of the nature of the request, staff considers this request to be reasonable but not consistent with the Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan. Staff recommended to the Planning Board that the 11.97 acre parcel be included in the Doublewide Manufactured Home-Overlay district based on consideration of the pattern of the existing zoning overlay district classification (DWMH-O) and the request being in harmony with surrounding land uses. The Planning Board held a public hearing on December 12, 2011. The applicant, Lisa Jones, stated the reason the applicants are requesting the rezoning is to allow them to put a manufactured home on their property for their parents. No one else spoke at the public hearing. The Planning Board voted, 6-0, to submit a favorable recommendation to the Board of Commissioners to include the 11.97 acres in the Doublewide Manufactured Home-Overlay District for the reasons cited by the Planning staff.

C. The Board will hold a public hearing on proposed amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Section 44-435 Rural Preservation Overlay (RP-O), 2) Section 44-518 Sidewalks, 3) Section 44-536 Parking standards, and 4) Section 44-607 Accessory structure. In support of the Board of Commissioners’ goal of “insuring that County regulations support orderly growth and business development,” staff is continuing the process of reviewing areas within the UDO which may justify consideration for modifications. The purpose of the UDO is to balance private property interests with the public good. Staff is taking a proactive approach by looking at regulations that do not achieve their original desired outcome. The four proposed text amendments address standards associated with residential and commercial development.

Amendment #1 - Section 44-435 Rural Preservation Overlay (RP-O)- would transfer a portion of the Rural Preservation Overlay (100-foot setback) from old Highway 16 South to align with the new NC 16 Bypass. The purpose of the Rural Preservation Overlay is to protect the rural viewshed along major arterial roads without adversely impeding development. At the time of initial adoption of the UDO, there was knowledge that the Highway 16 realignment project was on the horizon, and the policy was adopted with the acknowledgement that it would require a future transfer to the new NC 16. The current and proposed overlay extends from the City of Newton’s planning jurisdiction to Tower Road, then southward to the Catawba/Lincoln County line along Highway 16 South. This proposed change was identified as a strategy in the NC 16 South Corridor Development Plan adopted by the Board of Commissioners on August 15, 2011 and serves the purpose of protecting the rural viewshed along the new bypass. There is currently an established development corridor, comprising residential and commercial development, along the old Highway 16 South consistent with general setback standards. If the Rural Preservation Overlay is not transferred, it would create a situation where it is challenging to develop scattered vacant lots and cause inconsistent development patterns due to differences in set-back requirements from parcel to parcel. Relocating the 100-foot setback regulation to the NC 16 Bypass, a limited access highway, helps to protect the scenic viewsheds and does not impede future residential and commercial development.

Amendment #2 - Section 44-518 Sidewalks- would revise the regulation to delete the requirement for sidewalk installation or “fee in-lieu of” for (a) isolated non-residential properties (b) which are surrounded by established residential development and (c) that are not identified within a plan for pedestrian connectivity or “walkable” neighborhoods (such as the Lake Norman Regional Bicycle Plan, Carolina Thread Trail, and Parks Master Plan). Sidewalks, or a fee in-lieu of, are currently required for non-residential development along major collector or higher classified thoroughfares. In addition, sidewalks or a “fee in-lieu of” are required within major subdivisions of 25 or more lots in the R-20 or higher residential districts (R-15, R-10, R-7). This applies regardless of the ability or probability of connecting to existing or future sidewalks and planned pedestrian systems. Staff has had at least seven specific requests seeking relief from this requirement questioning the benefit of isolated sidewalk construction in established residential development and its associated cost. Sidewalks or “fee in-lieu of” would continue to be required within the Mixed Use Corridor-Overlay along Highway 150, Highway 16 North, Rock Barn Road., Springs Road, and Highway 127 and special districts (such as Planned Development, Village Center).

Based on four years of experience with this requirement, staff feels it is justifiable to provide some relief to developers where future connectivity has a low probability. This modification would not impede future long range planning initiatives calling for sidewalks, pedestrian access, or other opportunities for connectivity (such as to parks, schools, libraries, trail networks, etc.).

Amendment #3 - Section 44-536 Parking standards- would permit parking in the front setback for non-residential development where one or more of the following limiting factors are present: severe topography, location of septic tank/repair areas, wells, other utilities, corner lot, irregular shaped lot, or the inability to achieve inner-connectivity. Parking is allowed in the front, rear, and side yards as well as within the rear and side setbacks. A yard is defined as that area between the building line and the property line. A setback is the distance from the lot line to a point where a structure can be constructed. Parking is not allowed in the front setback. Staff has worked with at least nine owners of development projects who have requested relief from this provision in cases where site conditions or factors mentioned above limit the ability to place parking in the rear or side of the business.

Staff indicated that allowing parking to be placed in the front setback would provide greater use of the site. Aesthetics would still be achieved through the required installation of a 12-foot wide vegetated buffer between the parking facility and the street right-of-way.

Amendment #4 - Section 44-607 Accessory structure- would allow a 20-foot side street setback for accessory structures on lots with frontage on more than one street, instead of the current 30-foot setback, based on a set of criteria. Accessory structures placed on lots with frontage on more than one street are required to meet a 30-foot front setback from each street right-of-way. There is currently no provision for a designated side street setback. Staff has had at least 20 inquiries from property owners requesting relief from the 30-foot requirement for setbacks on lots with frontage on more than one street.

The amendment would provide property owners additional options in locating accessory structures on property with frontage on more than one street right-of-way.

The Planning Board held a public hearing on December 12, 2011, to consider the request. No one spoke in favor or in opposition to the proposed amendments. Staff stated that the Chamber of Commerce’s Land Use Development Board was presented with the proposed amendments on November 16, 2011 and was supportive of them. The Planning Board voted 6-0 to submit a favorable recommendation to the Board of Commissioners to adopt the proposed amendments.

D. The Board will hold a public hearing to consider the submittal of a beneficiary amendment for the 2009 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Royal Heights Circle Water Project grant application along with corresponding documents. Catawba County received a 2009 Community Development Block Grant in early 2010, in the amount of $308,500, for the Royal Heights Circle Water Project area. This grant provided 2,100 linear feet of eight inch PVC water line and connections to 22 households in the Royal Heights Circle Development. This project is complete and there are excess grant funds available to be used to extend the water line along the Old Shelby Road area where a previous CDBG grant stopped at Bakers Mountain Road. The cost estimate for the proposed project is $195,716.

The proposed area is the section along Old Shelby Road starting at the Bakers Mountain Road intersection extending south to the intersection at JV Parker Road, providing 2,550 linear feet of twelve inch municipal water line to nine houses with severe water needs, including taps and connections. The low-moderate income (LMI) benefit for the area is 52% and the combined LMI is 83% for both projects. In order to facilitate the approval of an amendment to a CDBG project, the North Carolina Division of Community Assistance typically requires the amended area to be in close proximity to the original CDBG project area. This proposed amendment will serve additional households in the Advent Crossroads community, an area from which the County has received numerous requests for municipal water, and which is in close proximity to the original Royal Heights Circle Water Project area. Additionally, this proposed amendment area has been evaluated using the County’s Utility Decision Tool and ranked second highest of all current projects with a Benefit to Cost Ratio of 10.3.

Catawba County is required to hold a public hearing to discuss the proposed amendment to its $308,500 CDBG Royal Heights Circle Water Project Grant. The purpose is to notify the public that, due to good construction bids and with the permission of the N.C. Division of Community Assistance, Catawba County is proposing to amend the Royal Heights Circle Water project as noted above.

DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS


TAX

A. The Board will consider a tax refund request in the amount of $345.74. Records have been checked and the refund verified, therefore the Tax Collector is asking for approval of the request. Under North Carolina General Statute 105-381, a taxpayer who has paid his or her taxes may request a refund in writing for an amount paid through error.

B. The Board will receive a report on delinquent 2011 real estate property taxes, in accordance with North Carolina General Statutes105-369(a) and consider adopting a resolution directing the Tax Collector to advertise the delinquent tax liens as prescribed in the statute. As of January 31, 2012, delinquent real property taxes in Catawba County totaled $5,290,997, which represents 6.57% of the 2011 real property levy.

SOCIAL SERVICES
The Board will receive the annual report of the work of the Community Child Protection and Fatality Prevention Team. The Catawba County Child Protection Team was established in February 1992 as the result of an executive order by Governor James Martin. North Carolina later mandated a Child Fatality Review Team and Catawba County elected to combine the two, with a first joint meeting in August 1995. The combined teams have met quarterly since then, except for specially called meetings. The Child Protection Team has the legal responsibility to review cases of child fatalities when the family is known to Social Services and identify areas in Protective Services needing improvement in order to maximize the safety of the community’s children. The Child Fatality Prevention Team’s purpose is to provide a multi-agency, multi-disciplinary approach to study cases of childhood death in Catawba County in order to attempt to reduce child fatalities. The Social Services and Public Health directors have specific responsibilities for each team and the Board of Commissioners decides if there will be a team for each area or if they will be combined. Although they are combined in Catawba County, this report addresses the work of the Community Child Protection Team. Efforts continue to be made to review additional individual Child Protective Services issues and satisfy the State’s agreement with the Federal Government to use Child Protection Teams as a review mechanism in the Child Protective Services arena.

In 2011, Social Services received 2985 reports involving 5915 children. 2046 reports met State criteria for acceptance. Neglect was the most reported concern. 28 child deaths were reported in Catawba County in 2011. 46% of those deaths stemmed from prenatal issues or perinatal conditions; 29% were due to illness, two were due to motor vehicle accidents; two were due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome; two were due to physical injury or homicide and one was due to drowning. 61% of these deaths were in children under the age of 1; 11% were ages 1-4, 7% were ages 5-9, 10.5% were ages 10-14 and 10.5% were ages 15-17.

The Team is in the process of assessing fatality trends by reviewing five years worth of data in order to see patterns. The Team believes this will allow it to better track how children die rather than relying on cause of death only (SIDS, unknown, etc…) so it can do more planning in the future around specific strategies. Substance abuse and domestic violence seem to be a recurring issue in many instances. As a result, there are higher demands in the criminal justice system and in emergency rooms as people seek care there as opposed to other places. The Team will support substance abuse prevention by supporting and assisting with bringing a program called Project Lazarus to the community. The Family Guidance Center is the designated service provider for domestic violence in the county and is also an approved facility to provide treatment for offenders. The team will engage and partner with the Family Guidance Center to help support victims of domestic violence. Also, the Team hopes to focus more on issues of trauma and how to help families deal with it.

The Team is also being proactive in trying to prevent the number of teenage deaths as a result of motor vehicle crashes in which distracted driving is an issue. In response, the team formed a committee made up of school personnel, law enforcement, medical personnel and community members to develop an action plan to increase awareness of the dangers of distracted driving. This year, the team will continue prevention efforts in the community including the sponsorship of the second annual Distracted Driving Video Contest.

In 2012, the Community Child Protection and Fatality Prevention Team will continue to advocate for the early entry of mothers into prenatal care; continue prevention messages about co-sleeping and safe sleeping environments; enhance community awareness about the dangers of distracted driving among teens as noted above; continue prevention of abuse and neglect though the Stewards of Children and Darkness to Light Training programs, and partner with initiatives that address substance abuse issues such as Project Lazarus.

CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 828-465-8464