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April 17, 2006

AGENDA
Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Monday, April 17, 2006,7:00 p.m.
Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room, 1924 Courthouse
30 North College Avenue, Newton, NC

1.    Call to Order

2.    Pledge of Allegiance

3.    Invocation

4.    Approval of minutes from the from the Special Session of March 27, 2006, Regular Meeting of April 6, 2006, Closed Session of March 13, 2006 and revised Closed Session Minutes of March 20, 2006.

5.    Recognition of special guests.

6.    Public comment for items not on the agenda.

7.    Public Hearings:
  1. request to rezone a 11.6 acre tract from R-2 Residential District to E-2 Intensive Manufacturing District. Presented by Jacky Eubanks, Planning Director.
  2. FY 2006-2007 Catawba County Rural Operating Assistance Program Grant Application. Presented by Cynthia McGinnis, Transit Manager, Piedmont Wagon Transit System (PWTS).
  3. Request to amend the Catawba County Code, Chapter 44, Article II, Administration and Enforcement, Section 44-45 for clarification and technical changes mandated by the General Assembly of North Carolina. Presented by Jacky Eubanks, Planning Director.
  4. Request to amend the Catawba County Code, Chapter 44, Article III, Districts, to add Section 44-89, Conditional Zoning District. Presented by Jacky Eubanks, Planning Director.
8.    Appointments.

9.    Consent Agenda:
  1. Request to increase to Home Health Budget for funding needed for Physical Therapy Services.
  2. Request for approval to submit revised grant for Criminal Justice Partnership Program.
  3. Request for Secondary Road Right of Way to the Department of Transportation on County owned property on Wilfong Road.
  4. Request for Letter of Commitment for FY2006/2007 to fund two high priority projects for Newton-Conover Schools.
10.    Departmental Reports.
Social Services: Update on Electing County Status. Presented by Jo Sloan, Family Support Program Manager.
11.    Other items of business.
Enabling Legislation for Keep Catawba County Beautiful. Presented by Tony Gallegos, Cooperative Extension Agent.
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 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
The May Board of Commissioners meetings will take place on Monday, May 1, 2006 at 9:30 a.m. and on Monday, May 15, 2006 at 7:00 p.m. There will also be a Board of Commissioners Retreat to address issues facing the Board at the Broyhill Inn in Boone, NC on Friday and Saturday, May 12 and 13, 2006.


PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
APRIL 17, 2006, 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 to rezone an 11.6 acre tract , located at 1936 Amity Street in the Startown Small Area Plan District, from R-2 Residential to E-2 Intensive Manufacturing District; 2) the County's proposed application for a Fiscal Year 2006-2007 Rural Operating Assistance Program Grant; 3) a proposed amendment to the Catawba County Code, Chapter 44, to add Section 44-89, allowing Conditional Use Zoning Districts; and 4) proposed amendments to the County Code, Chapter 44, Article II, Sections 44-45 to add technical changes mandated by the North Carolina General Assembly; and consider a resolution supporting the establishment of a chapter of the national Keep America Beautiful organization in Catawba County, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 17, 2006, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room on the second floor of the 1924 Courthouse in Newton.

The Board will also consider a request from the Newton-Conover City Schools for a letter of commitment indicating the Board will fund two high priority projects in the County's Fiscal Year 2006-2007 budget; an increase in the Home Health budget of the Catawba County Health Department to reflect increased costs due to an increased case load for the Home Health division; a resolution granting a secondary road right-of-way to the North Carolina Department of Transportation on County-owned property along Wilfong Road, for improvements on the portion of Wilfong Road that remains open following the closing of a portion of the road running through the Blackburn Landfill property; and the submission of a revised grant for funding of the Catawba County Criminal Justice Partnership Program, to reflect additional State funds to be used for jail diversion projects; and receive an update on “Electing County” status for the Catawba County Department of Social Services’ Temporary Aid For Needy Families program.

PUBLIC HEARINGS

A. The Board will hold a public hearing on a request of Shook Builders Supply to rezone an 11.6 acre tract, located at 1936 Amity Street in the Startown Small Area Planning District, from the R-2 Residential district to the E-2 Intensive Manufacturing district. The E-2 Intensive Manufacturing district is intended to provide areas for intensive manufacturing, processing and assembly uses, controlled by performance standards to limit the effect of such uses on adjacent districts. The subject property is undeveloped. At least 125 acres of property (in various tracts) surround this parcel to the north, west and south, all within the City of Hickory’s Planned Development Industrial Park (PD-IP) zoning district. Various other parcels contiguous to the PD-IP district are also zoned for industrial use, but may be owned by others. The majority of this industrially zoned property is currently vacant. Some parcels nearby to the north are developed with various existing businesses, while property to the east is zoned in the County as R-2 Residential. The immediate property to the east is undeveloped. Public water is located at the site. Public sewer is not at available at the site.

The Startown Small Area Plan serves as the current land use plan for this area. This plan is used as a guide for new growth. Although the plan shows the subject property zoned for R-2 Residential development, staff finds that the requested rezoning is compatible with the intent of the land use of the surrounding industrially zoned properties. There is no immediate housing to be impacted by industrial zoning; therefore, the spirit of the neighborhood has not materialized as residential and new residential development is unlikely. The rezoning of this land to the E-2 zone would expand an existing industrial district, as opposed to creating a new district. The Catawba County Planning Board conducted a public hearing on this request on March 27, 2006. No one spoke in support or opposition to the request. The Planning Board concurred with the staff recommendation to support the request on the basis of the location, relative to existing industrially zoned properties; the expansion of the existing industrially zoned area, and the fact that the property's location and proximity to other industrial uses would make it unsuitable for residential uses. The Planning Board voted to recommend that the Board of Commissioners approve this rezoning.

B. The Board will hold a public hearing on a proposed application for a fiscal year 2006-2007 Rural Operating Assistance Program (ROAP) Grant. This grant is available annually from the North Carolina Department of Transportation. It includes an Elderly and Disabled Transportation Assistance Program (EDTAP), a Work First Transitional/Employment Transportation Assistance Program and a Rural General Public Program (RGP). EDTAP funds are used to provide operating assistance for the transportation of elderly and disabled citizens. Work First funds are used to provide assistance for transitional Work First clients seeking a better job and general public employment transportation needs. RGP funds are intended to provide transportation services to individuals who are not human service agency clients.

The 2006-2007 ROAP allocation to Catawba County will be $151,469, as determined by a State formula, and will fund the programs as follows: EDTAP, $74,134; Work First, $12,358, and RGP, $64,977. The EDTAP and Work First funding will be provided with 100% State funds and requires no local match. The RGP programs are funded at 90% of the fully allocated costs of each general public trip, with a required 10% match, which is covered by existing County allocations to the Piedmont Wagon Transit System.

C. The B oard will hold a public hearing on proposed amendments to the County Code, Chapter 44, Article II, Section 44-45 to add technical changes mandated by the North Carolina General Assembly. In 2005, the North Carolina General Assembly ratified Senate Bill 518 and Session Law 2005-426 (Senate Bill 814), an act to clarify and make technical changes to city and county planning statutes. This bill included clarification on the filing of applications, information needed in the contents of an application, and on the actions of Planning Boards and Boards of Commissioners. Other items, listed under provisions for Notice of Public Hearing, specify when notices must be published; deadlines for mailed notices and who should be notified; steps required for rezonings that affect more than 50 property owners; and requirements for the posting of subject property. Staff recommended to the Catawba County Planning Board amendments to the Catawba County Code, Chapter 44, Article II, Section 44-45 to address State Senate Bill 518 and Session Law 2005-426. After general discussion, the Planning Board unanimously recommended that the Board of Commissioners approve these proposed amendments.

D. The Board will hold a public hearing on proposed amendments to the Catawba County Code to add a new section, 44-89, which would allow for consideration of certain uses that are not necessarily supported by the underlying zoning. This new tool would allow for the establishment of conditional use zoning districts and provide the Board with flexibility to determine what uses are in the best interests of the citizens of Catawba County. The districts would contain specific uses that would not otherwise be allowed without the appropriate zoning change. The specific uses would be permitted and conditioned. They would only stay in existence as long as the use continued. Once the use ceased, the underlying zoning would be restored to the property.

In the 1980s, North Carolina cities and counties began use of conditional use district zoning. When this technique is used, a new zoning district with no automatically permitted uses is created, and a concurrent conditional use permit is issued for a particular development within the new district. For example, a residential property adjacent to a commercial property could be used for a specific commercial purpose under conditional use zoning. In this example, the residential property would be restricted to a specific use, with conditions such as screening and hours of operation, rather than being rezoned to a commercial district. Once the specific commercial use ceased, the property would return to the residential use. Conditional use district zoning is used on a voluntary basis. Amendments to existing State statutes passed in 2005 addressed the origin and nature of conditions that may be imposed. A property owner or a local government, with citizen input, may suggest conditions, but only those conditions mutually acceptable to both the owner and the government may be incorporated into the individual permit involved. In addition, conditions or site-specific standards imposed are limited to those (1) that conform to County ordinances and officially adopted plans and (2) address impacts reasonably expected to be generated from the development or use of the site.

Staff recommended the proposed amendments to the Catawba County Code, Chapter 44, Article III, to add Section 44-89 Conditional Zoning District. At its March 27, 2006 meeting and after general discussion, the Catawba County Planning Board voted unanimously to recommend that the Board of Commissioners favorably consider this amendment to the County Code.

CONSENT AGENDA

A. The Board will consider a request from the Catawba County Board of Health to i ncrease the overall Home Health budget by $61,000. This request relates to funding needed for Physical Therapy services, Occupational Therapy services and travel costs for staff due to an increasing caseload. At the beginning of the current fiscal year, the Home Health caseload was approximately 235 patients. The current Home Health caseload is approximately 325 patients. The increase in caseload has increased not only nursing visits, but also the visits performed by other disciplines such as Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. The increase in caseload has also affected the funds available for travel reimbursement to nursing staff. Based on projections using data for the fiscal year, funds need to be added as follows: $44,000 for the Physical Therapy line item; $12,000 for the Occupational Therapy line item; and $5000 for additional travel costs. These additional costs will be covered by earned revenues. No additional County funds are being requested. The Board's Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board approve the requested increase in the Home Health budget.

B. The Board will consider a request to submit a revised grant application for funding for the Criminal Justice Partnership Program (CJPP). In March, the Board approved an application for a State grant for CJPP, in the amount of $111,512, the same amount awarded by the State last year. When the County received its funding letter from the State, the proposed grant was in the amount of $112,716. The State requires a new application to include this additional $1204 in funds. The additional funds will be budgeted for jail diversion projects. The Catawba County CJPP Board has approved the revised grant application and staff also recommends the Board approve the application.

C. The Board will consider a request from the Department of Utilities and Engineering that the County grant a Secondary Road Right of Way to the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) on County-owned property on Wilfong Road (State Road 2020). On June 6, 2005, the Board approved a resolution requesting the abandonment of maintenance of a portion of Wilfong Road by the NCDOT, and declaring its intent for closing the same portion of Wilfong Road, as allowed under North Carolina General Statutes §136-63 and 153A-241. The County’s Solid Waste Master Plan recommended the closing of this portion of Wilfong Road because the entire portion of the road has been absorbed by the landfill property. The County is assisting NCDOT in the acquisition of any easements or rights of way needed for improvements to the remaining open portion of Wilfong Road, and is participating in the cost of the planned construction of a cul-de-sac and paving of the remaining open portion of the road. In order for NCDOT to maintain the open portion of Wilfong Road, the dedication of a State Secondary Road Right of Way is required. The Board's Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board grant the Secondary Road Right of Way to the NCDOT on County-owned property on Wilfong Road.

D. The Board will consider a request from the Newton-Conover City Board of Education for a letter of commitment to fund two high priority projects, totaling $275,000, in the FY 2006-2007 Catawba County Budget. In FY 2005-2006, funds were approved to upgrade the visitor side bleachers in the Newton-Conover High School football stadium with handrails. To prepare for this upgrade, an engineering company was contracted to inspect the bleachers. This inspection determined the bleachers need replacement due to corrosion and concrete sprawling. The estimated cost for replacement of the bleachers was $195,000. $35,000 originally approved for handrail upgrades has not been spent and will be applied to the project, decreasing the additional funding needed to $160,000. Due to safety concerns, the Newton-Conover City Board of Education believes this is a critical issue that needs action prior to the beginning of football season. Also requested in the FY 2006-2007 budget is $115,000 for the replacement of Multi-Zone HVAC units at Newton-Conover Middle School. Delivery of these units requires an eight-week advance order. Due to time constraints and concerns over the rising cost of materials, vendor commitments need to be made now for both projects, to allow time for delivery and installation over the summer before school begins in the fall. A letter of commitment from the Board of Commissioners would allow the Newton-Conover City School System to make the necessary vendor commitments

DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS
SOCIAL SERVICES

The Board will receive an update on “Electing County Status” under Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). The North Carolina General Assembly established the opportunity for a limited number of counties to apply for “electing” status. Counties chosen to be electing counties may implement local policy changes that are outside the standard state TANF plan, and will allow the County to move welfare savings from “cash assistance” to services, resulting in a savings for the department. Catawba County was granted “electing status” in July 2005 and set a goal to have $200,000 in TANF funds for transfer to the services provision. Through innovative policy changes, TANF recipients have moved more quickly to higher levels of personal responsibility and economic self-sufficiency and, through the end of February 2006, the actual amount of funds available for transfer to services was $300,000. The State has agreed to transfer $325,000 from Cash Assistance to Services. The department’s projection for an end-of-year surplus is now $355,000. These results clearly show the benefits for Catawba County from the electing county program. This will be an informational presentation and requires no Board action.

OTHER ITEM OF BUSINESS

The Board will consider a resolution supporting the establishment of Keep Catawba County Beautiful, a chapter of the national Keep America Beautiful organization. On October 8, 2003, a Litter Summit was held to focus on litter issues in Catawba County and brainstorm potential solutions. As a result of this summit, and at the direction of the Board, Cooperative Extension Service staff members took the lead to establish a Litter Task Force to evaluate and recommend the most effective ways to reduce litter in the county. On February 18, 2004, the Litter Task Force held its first meeting. Cooperative Extension has since worked with local municipalities, government agencies and concerned citizens on several program areas, including work to enhance participation in clean-up events, particularly the County’s two annual Litter Sweeps Weeks. Other efforts focused on working with schools and local educators to improve litter education; general public outreach; coordinating and seeking ways to improve the Adopt-A-Highway Program in Catawba County, and inmate and court-appointed community service pick-ups. The Task Force soon came to the conclusion that the most effective way to meet its goal to “Keep Catawba County a Clean and Beautiful Place to Live and Work” would be to establish a local affiliated chapter of Keep America Beautiful (KAB) called Keep Catawba County Beautiful (KCCB).

Founded in 1953, Keep America Beautiful, Inc. is the nation's largest volunteer-based non-profit organization dedicated to litter and graffiti prevention, beautification, waste minimization and community improvement. The organization, which has both state and local affiliates, engages millions of volunteers each year in hands-on community improvement activities during which citizens learn to take personal responsibility for improving their local environments and quality of life. The organization teaches citizens how to care for, preserve, and protect the natural beauty of their communities.

The Litter Task Force has already begun the pre-certification process to establish an affiliated KAB chapter in Catawba County. These initial efforts include raising over $7500 in community and corporate donations to fund the County's KAB application fee and local chapter operating costs; w orking with a KAB national trainer through the pre-certification process; identifying possible community leaders to serve on a Keep Catawba County Beautiful Board of Directors; developing the organizational/administrative structure of the local chapter; planning for a survey of high impact litter areas in the county; and developing a strategic plan to address litter concerns in the county. County support is expected to continue in its current form, with Cooperative Extension staff providing coordination for a short period of time while the organization develops. It was suggested that this type of structure would encourage board recruitment and donations since funds go to programming efforts vs. overhead. No additional County funds will be needed. It is anticipated that Keep Catawba County Beautiful will be officially in existence on August 1, 2006 and self-supporting, through community and corporate sponsorship, within three years. The Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board approve a resolution in support of the establishment of Keep Catawba County Beautiful.

CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER    465-8464