PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, AUGUST 18, 2008, 7:00 P.M.
2nd FLOOR MEETING ROOM
GOVERNMENT CENTER, NEWTON, NC
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will conduct public hearings on 1) proposed amendments to a Planned Development-Conditional District rezoning requested by Lowe’s Home Center in southeast Catawba County; and 2) a proposed renaming of B&B Road, southeast of Claremont, to JB Road, when the Board meets at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, August 18, 2008, in the Second Floor Meeting Room of the 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 consider a proposed incentives package for the proposed expansion of the Poppelmann warehouse and distribution facility in Claremont; a supplemental appropriation of funds received from Duke Energy for training and other matters related to the McGuire Nuclear Station; and a request for a commitment of additional County funds for the Protect the Catawba Coalition, as it continues efforts in opposition to the transfer of water from the Catawba River basin.
A. The Board will hold a public hearing on a request to rename a road located southeast of Claremont. Mr. Rick Bumgarner has requested that the road currently named B & B Road be renamed JB Road. Mr. Bumgarner’s brother, Jerry Bumgarner, lost his life on this road in May 2008 when a deer ran into the path of his motorcycle very close to his home. Due to the fact that Jerry Bumgarner spent his entire life living and working on B & B Road, his family would like to rename the road in memory of him. A required petition containing the signatures of at least 51% of the property owners on the road has been received by the County. The requested name is not duplicated in the county.
B. The Board will conduct a public hearing regarding a request by Lowe’s Home Centers Inc. to amend a PD-CD Planned Development-Conditional District rezoning of property at 5374 Highway 150 East, approved by the Board on February 18, 2008, as a result of substantial changes to the building’s square footage, elimination of all outparcels, and modifications to the building.
Lowe’s Home Centers, Inc. has requested an amendment to the site plan, elevation drawings, and development conditions approved with a rezoning to the PD-CD Planned Development-Conditional District on February 18, 2008. The approved plan shows four parcels, three outparcels and a remaining parcel for the Lowe’s building. A revised site plan received by the County on July 3, 2008, shows no outparcels. In order not to further impact a stream on the property, Lowe’s has proposed eliminating the outparcels and bringing the building forward. The building setback would change from approx. 520 feet to approx. 315 feet from the edge of the Highway 150 right-of-way.
Based on the revised site plan, Lowe’s is proposing a reduction in the building size from 172,953 square feet to 155,433 square feet, which includes a garden center. The approved site plan shows the building dimensions as 500 feet wide by 400 feet deep, while the revised site plan shows it at 580 feet wide by 290 feet deep. Under the floor area ratio for a PD Planned Development, there must be two square feet of land area for every square foot of building space. Based on the 155,433 square feet of building area, there must be a minimum of 504,642 square feet of land area. Since the property is 1,009,285 square feet in size, it meets the floor area ratio requirement.
The Catawba County Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) requires four parking spaces for every 1,000 square feet of retail space. The proposed retail area is 124,076 square feet, which would require 496 parking spaces. The Mixed Use Corridor Overlay (MUC-O) in this area allows for a reduction in parking, provided the applicant presents market studies or documented industry standards. Lowe’s has submitted a parking study indicating that an average of
3.2 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of building space (434 parking spaces) is necessary. The site plan shows that 450 parking spaces will be provided. The UDO requires that only one parked commercial vehicle be visible from the streets. Lowe’s plan states that its commercial vehicles will not be parked in the front parking lot during normal business hours. As required by the UDO, there will be a bicycle parking area on the site.
The on-premise Lowe’s sign currently approved along Highway 150 is to have a maximum height of 25 feet and signage area of 92 square feet. As proposed, the Lowe’s monument sign would not compete visually with other on-premise signs because of the removal of the outparcels, so it is reasonable that the monument sign now meet the current standards of the UDO, which allows a maximum height of 16 feet and signage area of 50 square feet. The approved area allowed for wall signage on the Lowe’s building is approximately 455 square feet. In the MUC-O, the UDO allows 10% of the wall surface for signage, up to a maximum of 30 square feet. The proposed plan requests that the signage allowance stay the same, although the building would move closer to Highway 150, and that the color scheme change from blue day/white night on a light beige background to a constant white on a blue background. Because Lowe’s is proposing to move the building 39% closer to the road, the wall signage area should be reduced by 39%, allowing approximately 278 square feet, and remain in the blue day/white night scheme. Lowe’s is continuing a request for a 60 foot high pylon sign, with a signage area of 148 square feet. The pylon sign meets the dimensional size of a limited access user’s sign provided under the UDO, but limited access user’s signs are only intended to be located along Interstate 40. Because the future Highway16 bypass is a lesser classified road than I-40, has lower posted speed limits than I-40 and is an entry way into Catawba County, the pylon sign was not recommended by staff.
The revised MUC-O standards require that the first floor of all building facades, fronting public or private streets, must be designed to complement architectural aesthetics by including glass windows or doors, false window panels and treatments, awnings, murals or framed openings comprising at least 20% of the wall area. Although the areas of the facades for glass windows or doors have changed, the front and left elevations still meet the requirements. The building façade has been amended to not include brick on the front of the building.
The Catawba County Planning Board conducted a public hearing on July 28, 2008. An adjacent property owner made a request that Lowe’s provide an access easement for interconnectivity. The Planning Board determined that, based on the UDO, it should not mandate an access easement for interconnectivity because site plans for each site were not being submitted simultaneously and there was insufficient information from the adjacent property owner regarding slope, topography, and construction details and timelines. There was discussion about the pylon sign and wall signage. Both the applicant and a current property owner felt the size of the signage was necessary. The Planning Board felt that reducing the wall signage would make the size of the signs disproportionate to the building, that the sign color scheme proposed by Lowe’s is acceptable, and that the pylon sign was a benefit to the traveling public and would not negatively impact the aesthetics of the area. The Planning Board voted 6-0 to recommend adoption of a statement affirming the consistency of the rezoning request with the Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan; and the amendment of the existing Planned Development, based on site plan and elevation drawings dated June 16 and 30, 2008, the Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan’s recognizing the parcels as being in an area proposed for regional/commercial mixed use development and the purpose of the PD-CD Planned Development, subject to the façade treatment for the front of the garden center canopy remaining as it shown on elevation drawings approved on February 18, 2008.
A. The Board will consider a supplemental appropriation of $15,300 to account for funds received from Duke Energy, for training exercises related to the McGuire Nuclear Station, beyond the amount originally anticipated by the County. Duke Energy approved an additional $3,000 to support the County’s Citizen Alert Notification phone system, agreeing that the system will be beneficial to citizens in the event of an actual emergency. Duke Energy also approved $12,300 in additional funds to make upgrades to a trailer that is deployed to county responders to assure they have the ability to properly mitigate a radiation or nuclear event. These upgrades will consist of the replacement of radiation monitors and equipment for decontamination. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the approval of the supplemental appropriation of the additional $15,300.
B. The Board will consider a request for a two-year extension to Catawba County’s existing five-year financial commitment to fund the efforts of the Protect the Catawba Coalition. On September 18, 2006, the Board approved a five-year financial commitment to the Coalition’s efforts in opposition to the interbasin transfer (IBT) of water from
the Catawba River basin. This commitment included $50,000, plus $5000 for lobbying, for fiscal year 2007 and $50,000 per year for fiscal years 2008-2011. At its May 1, 2008 meeting, the Protect the Catawba Coalition determined that legislative activities needed to be monitored in order to protect the improved IBT law, in addition to the completion of the discovery process during the current appeal of the approved IBT. The consensus of coalition members was to request that all jurisdictions individually extend their five-year financial commitments for an additional two years to fund the appeal to conclusion and fund possible lobbying expenses. The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommended approval of the extension of the County’s commitment, for an additional $50,000 per year from fiscal years 2011-2013.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION
The Board will consider an agreement by and among Catawba County, Poppelmann Properties USA LLC, and Poppelmann Plastics USA, Inc., for economic incentives related to new development. As a result of Poppelmann’s current use of outside warehousing facilities and the current foreign exchange rate, Phase II of Poppelmann’s development plan is moving forward sooner than anticipated. The company is considering a second 60,000 square foot building with a proposed cost of between $5 and $8 million upon occupancy, upfit and equipment.
Poppelmann qualifies as a “Most Favored Business” under FORESIGHT Long Range Plan guidelines, and greatly exceeded the anticipated investment in Phase I of the expansion. While its contractual obligation to the County for investment was for $8 million in improvements, the company’s final expenditures exceeded $18 million. Two similar Poppelmann sites in Germany are similarly designed and are built-out, with a third site ready to begin construction of multiple buildings, further demonstrating that the company is on very solid financial footing. Catawba County typically requires new job creation for consideration of “Most Favored Business” incentives, and no new employees will be expected with this project. Poppelmann understands that no additional economic incentives for any future expansions or projects will be discussed unless there are a significant number of new jobs created.
To encourage the construction of Phase I of the project, Catawba County participated in a $30,000 grant toward assisting the City of Claremont with construction of a rail spur to serve the Poppelmann facilities, and awarded $200,000 to Poppelmann in an incentive grant. All current County obligations for previous phases have been met. Claremont’s rail obligations have grown from original cost estimates of $680,000 to around $1.8 million. The Golden Leaf Foundation’s commitment to a grant of $150,000 has been maintained, and a North Carolina Department of Transportation rail grant was increased from $75,000 to $200,000 in recent weeks. The City of Claremont is seeking to bid and award construction on the rail spur in the third quarter of 2008.
Construction on the new facility will begin by September 2008. Additional facilities for production of automobile parts, pharmaceutical plastics, food/beverage containers, various plastics products, and offices are likely in the future.
In order to encourage the continued expansion opportunity and new development to assist Claremont’s ability to construct the rail spur, the County could choose to participate in a Most Favored Business incentive with certain stipulations: that Poppelmann will agree to hire future employees under age 25 that have a high school diploma at a minimum, and that any future projects awarded Most Favored Business Incentives will require a substantial number of jobs exceeding the County average wage. The County is moving toward an educational requirement for incentive consideration, with a contractual stipulation that all employees hired under the age of 25 must have a high school diploma. Poppelmann’s current commitment to education is very strong. It require Workkeys Testing and Career Readiness Certification as a condition of hiring employees and is pushing for Apprenticeship training.
A suggested Catawba County incentive would be based on 67% of the increased tax base on the facility/equipment for five years, with a maximum total grant of $28,676 per year.
CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 828-465-8464