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APRIL 16, 2012
2. Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
4. Approval of the minutes from the Board’s Regular Meeting of April 2, 2012
5. Recognition of Special Guests
6. Public Comments for Items Not on the Agenda
8. Public Hearings:
9. Consent Agenda:
10. Departmental Report:
11. Other Items of Business.
12. Attorneys’ Report
13. Manager’s Report
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.
PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold public hearings on 1) a request to rezone approximately 10.7 acres, located along the north side of Energy Lane in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District, from R-80 Residential to R-30 Residential District and 2) a request to rezone approximately 2.3 acres, at 5879 Highway 150 East in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District, from PD Planned Development to HC Highway Commercial District, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 16, 2012, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room of the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton. The Board will also consider a set of proposed changes to the County’s Personnel Code to make clarifications, provide improved guidance in the area of discipline and grievance procedures, and revise or eliminate procedures or terms that are no longer practical.
The Board will consider appropriating funds from a grant awarded by the United States Department of Justice to the Sheriff’s Office, which would be used to purchase new technology to obtain data at crime scenes and to detect slight movements and breathing through walls, ceilings and floors, which is expected to be useful in manhunts and hostages situations or for search and rescue in disasters, fire or other situations. It will consider a request from the Newton-Conover Rescue Squad to appropriate $30,000 of the squad’s fund balance to purchase a new quick response vehicle. The Board will hear a request that it adopt a resolution in support of the State Marriage Amendment. The Board will also hear a presentation on the Mission of Mercy Free Dental Care program, issue a proclamation for the Week Of The Young Child and assist as a representative of the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners presents the Association’s Outstanding County Program Awards to three County programs.
B. The Board will issue a proclamation recognizing April 22-28, 2012 as the Week of the Young Child to encourage all citizens to work to make a good investment in early childhood, and support the agencies who work with young children.
C. The Board will assist as Mr. David Nicholson, Outreach Associate with the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners, presents the Association’s Outstanding County Program Award to three Catawba County programs. The County was a winner in all three categories (General Government, Human Services and Public Information/Participation) for the first time in the 21 year history of the program. Winning programs were: 1) the Healthy Schools Recognition Program, a partnership of Catawba County Public Health and Catawba County Health Partners’ Eat Smart Move More program. The program was created in 2010-2011 as an annual initiative designed to promote healthy, sustainable policies that improve physical activity and nutrition in schools across Catawba County; 2) Catawba County Social Services’ Backpack Program for Children, which serves as an ongoing, immediate source of food for students during weekends and school breaks and provides a means of educating parents about resources in the community, including job fairs, and free, family-friendly activities via printed materials included in the backpacks; and 3) the County Technology Department’s development of QR Codes for Building Permit Placards. QR codes are a type of barcode, or two-dimensional code, designed to be read by smart phones. The County’s Building Permit QR Codes system provides building contractors and inspectors with up-to-the-minute job site and inspection information, at their fingertips, in the field.
The PD Planned Development district encourages the master planning of large scale, multiple or mixed use development patterns. The HC Highway Commercial district provides for regional highway-oriented businesses, offices, services and civic uses. Applicants who propose a planned development usually have more opportunity for flexibility and creativity in design than is possible under conventional zoning regulations. However, there are some uses (auto repair, motor vehicle sales, for example) that are permitted in the HC district but are not permitted in the PD district.
The property is within the Mixed Use Corridor-Overlay district, which requires additional aesthetic standards for some facades and pedestrian improvements, and limits or provides for additional standards to some uses (such as motor vehicle sales, auto repair). In general, the overlay district provides for higher development standards along major corridors in the county and in some cases exceeds the standards for Planned Developments.
Public sewer does not currently exist along Highway 150 East. The property is proposed to be served by a private septic system. Public water is available along Highway 150 East and Mountain Creek Avenue. Highway 150 East is designated as a boulevard in the 2035 Greater Hickory Urban Area Long Range Transportation Plan. This road, designated a “strategic highway corridor”, is a major east-west route between Shelby, Lincolnton and Mooresville and is recommended to be widened from two lanes to four. The State Transportation Improvement Plan contains plans for the widening of Highway 150 East to a multi-lane facility. The planning and design portion of the project is currently funded, although right-of-way acquisition and construction remain unfunded. Traffic counts taken in 2009 to the west of the site along Highway 150 East measured 10,000. Based on design and construction, the road capacity in this area is 14,200 according to the Catawba County Thoroughfare Plan. Development of the property should not overburden the existing roadway.
The Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan serves as the current land use plan for this area. Its Future Land Use Recommendations depict the property as being located in an area designated for a regional commercial center. A regional commercial center is envisioned to provide a mixture of uses such as commercial, office-institutional, and multi-family.
Staff presented a favorable recommendation to the Planning Board based on the request being consistent with the adopted small area plan; the request being in harmony with the adjacent commercial land uses; and the property being adjacent to and in close proximity to other HC Highway Commercial properties. The Planning Board held a public hearing on March 26, 2012. No one spoke concerning this request. The Planning Board voted 5-0, to submit a favorable recommendation to the Board of Commissioners to rezone the 2.3 acre parcel from PD Planned Development to HC Highway Commercial based on the reasons stated above for staff’s favorable recommendation.
B. The Board will hold a public hearing on an application to rezone 10.7 acres from R-80 Residential to R-30 Residential. The property is located along the north side of Energy Lane in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District. The subject parcel is zoned R-80 Residential and vacant. Lake Norman is to the north. Parcels to the south are zoned R-80 Residential,one undeveloped and one with a single-family dwelling under construction. Parcels to the east are zoned R-30 Residential, four with single family dwellings and one vacant. A parcel to the west is zoned R-80 Residential and undeveloped.
The R-80 Residential district (80,000 square foot) is a low-density (1 dwelling per 2 acres) district providing for stick-built and modular homes and agricultural uses. In comparison, the R-30 Residential district (30,000 square foot) is a medium-density (1.33 dwellings per acre) district providing for stick-built and modular homes and agricultural uses. Based on the current zoning, the property could theoretically be subdivided to create five lots. If rezoned to R-30, approximately 15 lots could be created. Because of site conditions (topography, soil type, lot frontage requirements, etc.), the applicant has designed a preliminary subdivision plan depicting only 11 lots. The property is located in a WS-IV Critical Area Watershed, which requires single-family residential lots to be a minimum of 20,000 square feet in size.
The property is proposed to be served by individual wells since the closest public water system is approximately 1.75 miles southwest on Molly’s Backbone Road. The property is also proposed to be served by private septic systems. The County’s Utilities and Engineering Department conducted a study to determine the feasibility of requiring a subdivision at this location to connect to the existing sewer line on Molly’s Backbone Road. Estimated costs for such a system were found to be high enough (approximately $563,000) that development of the property would be impractical if private systems were not used. Molly’s Backbone Road is State maintained and classified as a local residential road. The Annual Average Daily Traffic count in 2009 along this portion of Molly’s Backbone Road was 1,100 vehicles per day. The estimated road capacity for this section of road is 10,000 vehicles per day. No transportation improvements are recommended at this time. Energy Lane is also a State maintained local residential road, but no traffic counts are available at this time.
The Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan serves as the current land use plan for this area. Its Future Land Use Recommendations depict the subject property as being in an area proposed for residential use with a density of 1.33 dwelling units per acre (approximately ¾ acre or 30,000 square feet). The request is in character with lot sizes of existing developments in the area and the proposed density recommendations of the small area plan.
Staff presented a favorable recommendation to the Planning Board based on the request being consistent with the adopted small area plan, the request being in harmony with the surrounding residential land uses, and the property being adjacent to, and in close proximity to, other R-30 properties.
The Planning Board held a public hearing on March 26, 2012. Kelly Watts asked about the legal requirements for posting the property and notifying property owners of the public hearings. Greg Neil asked if the lots would each have wells and septic systems and stated that he has concerns about septic systems discharging into the lake. Todd Serdula, who represented Kasey Kahne, an adjacent property owner, asked about the proposed square footage of homes. Jeff Cernuto, the applicant, said they do not plan to develop more than 11 lots and they have hired a soil scientist to assess the soil types for septic purposes. The Planning Board voted 5-0, to submit a favorable recommendation to the Board of Commissioners to rezone the 10.7 acre parcel from R-80 Residential to R-30 Residential, based on the reasons stated above.
B. The Board will consider appropriating existing fund balance in the amount of $30,000 for the Newton-Conover Rescue Squad. These funds will be used toward the purchase of a new quick response vehicle. In 2006, the County established a rescue squad equipment reserve by annually setting aside 8% of the overall rescue squad budget for the purchase of new vehicles as well as other high cost, nonrecurring expenses. Each year, funds from this reserve are allocated for vehicles scheduled to be purchased in that budget year. In fiscal year 2010-11, Newton-Conover Rescue Squad was scheduled and approved to purchase a quick response vehicle. However, the vehicle was not purchased during fiscal year 2010-11 due to difficulties with vendors listed on the State contract, so the appropriated funds reverted to fund balance. During the current fiscal year, Newton-Conover Rescue Squad obtained quotes from various dealerships and recently purchased a replacement vehicle from a local dealer. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends appropriating these funds.
The proposed revisions include several substantial changes to the Code which include the following:
(1) definitions would be updated to create three types of employees: full-time, part-time and hourly. The current Code addresses only full-time, four-fifths, and half-time employees; to address the need for organizational flexibility, it would be changed to offer a much broader variety of work schedules;
(2) language would be changed in the Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Policy to reflect an EEO Policy rather than an EEO Plan to avoid confusion with what some employers are legally required to do in the form of an official plan as defined by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC);
(3) under Employment Compensation and Employee Performance, there would be changes to require, rather than have optional, a probationary period (six months with a three month extension if needed) for employees who transfer from one department to another;
(4) under Flexible Promotions, the addition of an optional three month extension to the six month evaluation period to coincide with the length of the initial probationary period;
(5) under Resignations, state that a four week notice period for department heads, division managers and program managers may be required to be served working on-site for the entire four week period, to ensure work assignments are completed or transferred to other employees before the position is vacated;
(6) under Fair Labor Standards, changes to clarify that comp time should be used before annual leave, sick leave or leave without pay, to ensure comp time is kept to a minimum to reduce financial liability to the County;
(7) under Probationary Period, require probationary periods for transfers or promotions of employees from one department to another to ensure employees are able to satisfactorily perform their new job responsibilities;
(8) under Grievance Procedure, the entire section would be rewritten to (a) combine a two-step procedure into one step, and (b) ensure the procedure met the requirements of the State Personnel Act for Social Services and Public Health employees, eliminating the need for two separate policies (the most significant change is the time period for filing an appeal – which would be changed from 7 calendar days to 15 calendar days);
(9) under Reinstatement and Transfer of Sick Leave, sick leave from another jurisdiction would not be transferred into an employee’s sick leave account until successful completion of the probationary period to encourage new employees to have a consistent presence at work during their initial training period;
(10) under County Defense of Employees, language would be added in the event the County Manager is personally charged, and;
(11) under State and Federal Compliance, a change would be made to a general statement of compliance with federal and state laws and add a reference to administrative policies or procedures so the Code does not need to be amended each time federal or state law changes.
The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of these changes to the Personnel Code.
CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 828-465-8464
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