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AUGUST 16, 2010

AGENDA
Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Monday, August 16, 2010, 7:00 p.m.
2nd Floor Meeting Room
Government Center, Newton, NC

PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE IN LOCATION DUE TO THE SOLDIERS REUNION IN NEWTON

1. Call to order

2. Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag

3. Invocation

4. Approval of the minutes from the Regular Meeting of August 2, 2010

5. Recognition of special guests

6. Public comment for items not on the agenda

7. Public Hearings:


a. Public Hearing to consider an Amendment to the Unified Development Ordinance, Section 44-562 On-Premise Signs (Freestanding), Subsection (f), Specific to Light Emitting Diode (LED) Signs. Presented by Chris Timberlake, Planner.


b. Proposed Road Name for Unnamed Street in Bandys Township. Presented by Renee Hart, E-911 Addressing Coordinator.

8. Appointments

9. Consent Agenda:


a. Request to Appropriate $7,000 in Existing Fund Balance to the Town of Catawba Fire Department.


b. Pyrotechnics Permit Application by Rock Barn Golf Club.

10. Departmental Report:


Tax Office:


Revaluation Process. Presented by Mark Logan, Tax Administrator.


11. Other Items of Business


Legislative Wrap-up. Presented by Assistant County Manager Lee Worsley.

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 Government Center for individuals with disabilities is available through the front entrance. An elevator is located nearby in the lobby. 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 September 2010 Board of Commissioners meetings will take place on Tuesday, September 7, 2010 at 9:30 a.m. (due to the Labor Day holiday on Monday, September 6th), and on Monday, September 20, 2010 at 7:00 p.m.

 

PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, AUGUST 16, 2010, 7:00 P.M.
SECOND FLOOR MEETING ROOM
GOVERNMENT CENTER, NEWTON, NC

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will receive an update on the process involved in the 2011 property revaluation, which will take effect on January 1, 2011, and hold public hearings on 1) proposed text changes to the Catawba County Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), to allow LED signs in residential districts for schools, places of worship, public use facilities, community recreation and other non-profit organizations; and 2) the proposed name of Holly Ridge Drive for an unnamed street off Highway 10 West, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, August 16, 2010, in the Second Floor Meeting Room of the Catawba County Government Center at 100-A Southwest Boulevard (Highway 321 Business) in Newton. Please note the change from the Board’s regular meeting location, due to Soldiers Reunion events in downtown Newton on that evening.

The Board will also receive an update on the status of its legislative goals, following the recent adjournment of the North Carolina General Assembly’s 2010 session, and consider a request to appropriate $7000 from the existing fund balance of the Town of Catawba Fire Department, with the funds to be used as part of a matching grant to purchase equipment for the department, and a request for approval of a pyrotechnics permit for a fireworks display to be held at Rock Barn Golf and Spa on September 18 as part of activities associated with the Ensure Classic at Rock Barn.

PUBLIC HEARINGS
A. The Board will hold a public hearing on, and consider adopting, a proposed amendment to the County’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), Section 44-562(f), for the purpose of allowing signs using light-emitting diodes (LED) and similar technologies in residential districts for the following uses: schools, places of worship, public use facilities, non-conforming uses, community recreation and other non-profit organizations.

When the UDO was adopted on February 5, 2007, LED technology was relatively new to the sign industry, so there were few requests or examples of LED signs in the area. According to the Economic Developer’s Guide to the Renewable Energy Industries, LED technology is commercializing more rapidly because it is highly energy efficient and lasts nearly three times as long as compact fluorescent bulbs. LED signs benefit the owner and public in some cases, in that the display can offer a variety of messages and, as the technology advances, the clarity of the signs continues to increase.

Since the adoption of the UDO, the County Planning Department has received an increasing number of requests to erect freestanding LED signs on non-residential properties and has begun receiving requests for such signage on residentially zoned properties. On February 25, 2010, a request was received from Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church to allow a LED sign on residential property. Several schools in the county have also inquired as to the possibility of erecting LED signs on their campuses. Non-residential uses such as places of worship, schools, public use facilities, community recreation and other non-profit organizations are permitted by right in residential districts. Each of these uses is currently allowed to erect freestanding signs, with the exception of LED signs which are not allowed in residential districts.

The proposed amendment would permit LED signs in residential districts for the following uses: places of worship, schools, public use facilities, non-conforming uses, community recreation and other non-profit organizations. A survey found that nine out of ten area jurisdictions allow such uses to have LED signs in residential districts. Places of worship, schools, public use facilities, community recreation and non-profit organizations are permitted in residential districts and allowed to have an on-premise (freestanding) sign. The ordinance also allows those on-premise signs to be illuminated by floodlight or spotlight as long as the light does not shine directly into any public right-of-way or any adjacent residential property. Section 44-562(f) of the UDO would state that LED signs are not allowed to pulsate or flash and must hold a static message for a minimum of eight seconds. Section 44-558 would require that any LED sign must not be of an intensity that glares or creates a safety concern to travelers along the public right-of-way. These regulations are in place to protect adjacent property owners from light spillage and motorists from glaring or intense illumination.

The Catawba County Planning Board held a public hearing on this proposed change to the UDO text on July 26, 2010. No one spoke with regard to this proposal. By a vote of 5-0, the Planning Board made a motion to favorably recommend allowing LED and similar technologies in residential districts for the following uses: schools, places of worship, public use facilities, community recreation and other non-profit organizations. It should be noted that the term “non-conforming uses” was inadvertently overlooked, as a use which could be located in a residential district and allowed to have a lit sign, when this amendment was presented to the Planning Board. Staff recommends that this use also be allowed to utilize LED and similar technologies in residential districts.

B. The Board will hold a public hearing on a request from the Catawba County E-911 Office to name an unnamed street in the Bandys 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 towards achieving this goal is to name streets or rights-of-way that meet the road naming requirements, which are as follows: the road must be at least 1200 feet in length and/or access three or more parcels. An unnamed right-of-way has been identified off Highway 10 West. This was brought to the County’s attention by Mr. Larry Stallings, a property owner of several adjoining parcels. It has been determined that this right of way should be named since there are six properties potentially accessed from it. A suggestion received from Mr. Stallings is to name the right-of-way Holly Ridge Drive. There were no other road names suggested, and this name is not a duplicate. The Planning Board held a public hearing on this proposed name on July 26, 2010. No one spoke at the public hearing and the Planning Board unanimously recommended approval of the name Holly Ridge Drive.

CONSENT AGENDA
A. The Board will consider the appropriation of $7,000 from the existing fund balance of the Town of Catawba Fire Department. The funds will be used as part of a matching grant to purchase a thermal imaging camera, four-gas monitor and chain saw/vent saw. The matching grant was awarded to the Fire Department by the Office of the State Fire Marshal’s Volunteer Fire Department Fund Grant program. Historically, each department has its own fund balance, which is carried from year to year unless the department makes a request to appropriate it. The fund balance is created through tax revenue collections exceeding the projections established by the Budget Department prior to the fiscal year. Fire departments have been allowed to utilize 90% of their existing fund balance to address major projects such as buildings, building additions, truck replacement and other non-operating budget needs such as equipment items. 10% of each department’s fund balance is held for unforeseen expenditures during the budget year. The Town of Catawba Fire Department’s current fund balance is $40,478. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends this appropriation of $7,000

B. The Board will consider issuing a Pyrotechnics Permit to Rock Barn Golf Club, which has submitted an application for a pemit for a fireworks display to be conducted on September 18, 2010, at 3763 Golf Drive in Conover, North Carolina. This display is a part of activities associated with the Ensure Classic at Rock Barn. It is scheduled to occur at 9:30 p.m. on September 18 and last approximately 30 minutes. Rock Barn Golf Club has contracted with Pyro Shows, Inc., which has a valid “Outdoor Pyrotechnics Display Operators Permit” through the North Carolina Department of Insurance’s Office of the State Fire Marshal. Based on the application, all statutory requirements have been or will be met. If, at any time, any requirement of the permit is not satisfied, the County Fire/Rescue Division will immediately revoke the permit. The Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the issuance of this permit.

DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS

TAX DEPARTMENT
The Board is expected to receive a report on the 2011 revaluation process from Mark Logan, the County’s Tax Administrator. Mr. Logan is expected to present an overview on the reasons for property revaluation. He will discuss the benefits of a four year revaluation cycle versus an eight year cycle, the presentation to the Board on September 7, 2010, of the Schedule of Values that will be used to set the new property values in Catawba County, a public hearing on that Schedule of Values on September 20, the anticipated mailing of notices of new property values to property owners in mid- November 2010, and the appeals process which will begin in December 2010.

MANAGER’S REPORT
The Board is expected to receive a report summarizing the legislative actions of the North Carolina General Assembly’s 2010 “short session” from Assistant County Manager Lee Worsley. Mr. Worsley is expected to give the Board an update on the seventeen goals it set for the short session of the North Carolina General Assembly that began on May 12 and ended on July 10. The passage of a law broadening the use of 911 funds by counties was among the Board’s goals. Other goals met include local legislation that will give the County more flexibility on the purchase of equipment at its EcoComplex, and the protection of existing local controls of the ABC system, as well as the preservation of local ABC revenues.

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

 

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