PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2008, 7:00 P.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, NC
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will conduct a public hearing on a request to rezone 6.9 acres of land, at 3250 Plateau Road in the Mountain View Small Area Planning District, from R-20 Residential to GI General Industrial and consider a supplemental appropriation of $242,174 for the purchase of a neonatal ambulance for the Catawba Valley Medical Center Neonatal Program, when the Board meets at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, September 15, 2008, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room of the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.
The Board will also consider appropriating $35,140 for co-location cell tower consultant services and the establishment of an expense account to disburse these funds, and two tax refund requests. The Board will also honor retired County Commissioner, state legislator and United States Congressman Cass Ballenger with its highest honor, the Catawba County Spirit Award, and issue proclamations for Fire Prevention Week and Fall Litter Sweep.
A. The Board will present the County’s highest award, the Catawba County Spirit Award, to Cass Ballenger for his leadership and public service to the county. Mr. Ballenger served as a United States Congressman, a North Carolina State Representative and Senator, and a Catawba County Commissioner. Among his many accomplishments, Mr. Ballenger worked tirelessly to ensure the success of the “No Child Left Behind” legislation and has made accountability and flexibility in the county’s school systems a lifelong priority. As Chair of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee, he also worked diligently to promote political stability in Latin America.
B. The Board will issue a proclamation declaring the week of October 5-11, 2008 as Fire Prevention Week in Catawba County to urge all citizens of Catawba County and people throughout the state of North Carolina to protect their homes and families by heeding the important safety messages of Fire Prevention Week 2008, and support the many public safety activities and efforts of North Carolina’s fire and emergency services agencies.
C. The Board will issue a proclamation declaring September 20-October 4, 2008 as fall Litter Sweep in Catawba County to encourage local governments and communities, civic & professional groups, businesses, churches, schools, families and individuals to participate in the cleanup of roadsides and common areas, such as parks and lake shores.
The Board will conduct a public hearing and consider a request from Mr. Ronald L. Fulbright for the rezoning of 6.9 acres of land, located at 3250 Plateau Road in the Mountain View Small Area Planning District, from R-20 Residential to GI General Industrial. This property is currently split-zoned in both the GI General Industrial and R-20 Residential districts, after the 6.9 acres currently zoned R-20 Residential was purchased and recombined with an existing 35.8 acres zoned GI General Industrial. The 6.9 acre portion is vacant. There is an existing sawmill operation and a single family home (legally nonconforming) on the portion of the property zoned GI. Surrounding properties are zoned R-20 and R-40 residential and occupied by single family homes or are vacant and used for agricultural purposes, with the exception of two properties to the west split-zoned LI Light Industrial and RC Rural Commercial, and occupied by Southland Furniture Company and Propst Crossroad Volunteer Fire Department, respectively.
The Catawba County Unified Development Ordinance, Section 44-421, GI General Industrial District states, “…this district provides areas for intensive manufacturing, processing and assembly uses. The district promotes the County’s policies to promote economic development opportunities. The uses permitted in this district may be very intensive, with their impacts controlled by performance or design standards”.
The property proposed for rezoning is 6.9 acres in size. The current R-20 Residential District would permit a
maximum of two dwelling units per acre, which would theoretically calculate into eight fifteen dwelling units. The GI General Industrial District being requested would permit a maximum floor area ratio of one square foot of building floor space per 2.5 square feet of land area. The allowed floor area would be 120,225 square feet. The property owner has indicated he would like to expand a portion of the existing sawmill’s operations to the 6.9 acres. A general rezoning to GI would not limit the applicant to such uses. However, any proposed structures placed on the 6.9 acre property would be reviewed through the commercial site plan review process, and proper standards such as screening and setbacks would be evaluated.
Public water is available and located along Plateau Road, but public sewer is currently unavailable. Plateau Road is considered a two-lane minor collector road. According to 2007 North Carolina Department Of Transportation traffic count maps, there are 4,800 average daily vehicle trips along this portion of Plateau Road. The Catawba County Thoroughfare Plan indicates the road design can accommodate 13,300 vehicles.
The Mountain View Small Area Plan serves as the current land use plan for this area. The subject property is in an area recommended in the Plan to remain residential. It is adjacent to a neighborhood commercial center depicted in the Plan at the intersections of Highway 10, Highway 127 and Plateau Road. Because the request is for a general industrial use district, staff considers this request to be inconsistent with the Small Area Plan. However, because of the location of the 6.9 acres in relation to existing General Industrial-zoned property, its close proximity to Light Industrial-zoned properties and nearby uses (furniture factory, farm supply, saw mill, fire department), staff considers the request reasonable and in context with surrounding uses.
The Catawba County Planning Board held a public hearing on August 25, 2008. No one spoke for or against this request. It was noted that new State regulations require the Planning Board to make a consistency statement in reference to adopted plans, in this case the Small Area Plan. While this request is inconsistent with the Mountain View Small Area Plan, extensions to zoning districts have been generally approved in the past to allow businesses to expand. The Planning Board recommended the adoption of a statement affirming the inconsistency of the rezoning request with the Mountain View Small Area Plan, and the rezoning of the property from R-20 Residential to GI General Industrial based upon: 1) the relationship of the 6.9 acres to the existing 35.8 acres of GI General Industrial property; 2) the purpose of the GI General Industrial district; 3) the requirement that all general industrial properties be screened from less intensively used properties; and 4) the close proximity of existing LI Light Industrial properties.
A. The Board will consider amending the County’s fiscal year 2008-09 budget to appropriate $35,140 for co-location cell tower services and establish an expense account to disburse the funds. In fiscal year 2007-08, $35,140 was collected from cell tower vendors through application fees for tower co-locations. These funds were not required to be spent because services were not provided during that fiscal year. On June 30, 2008, the $35,140 fell to the General Fund/Fund Balance account in the County budget. This request is being made to appropriate these funds to pay consultant fees for four cell tower co-locations that are still active and will have expenses during this fiscal year, as part of the approval process for the co-locations. The County has been collecting funds for cell tower co-locations since 2003. The County’s Finance Department originally created an escrow account to deposit the funds, pay the consultant, and return excess funds to the applicant. The North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation, effective December 1, 2007, that prohibits the use of an escrow account for cell tower construction or co-locations. As a result, a revenue account was established to collect a fee to cover both the County’s application fee and consultant costs associated with the review process. It is necessary to create an appropriation line item to spend these funds as they are invoiced. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of the budget amendment and establishment of the expense account.
B. The Board will consider two tax refund requests totaling $114.14. Records have been checked and these refunds verified, so the Tax Collector recommends they be approved. Under North Carolina General Statute 105-381, a taxpayer who has paid his or her taxes may request a refund (in writing) for the amount paid in error.
The Board will consider appropriating $242,174 for the purchase of a neonatal ambulance for a joint Catawba County Emergency Medical Services and Catawba Valley Medical Center Neonatal Program. Catawba County Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Catawba Valley Medical Center began a joint venture to provide a neonatal transport program on January 11, 2006. This program currently generates $36,000 in annual revenue for EMS. In return, EMS provides Catawba Valley Medical Center with a spare ambulance to use as a neonatal unit, and a driver for the unit.
Catawba County EMS and Frye Regional Medical Center have a similar agreement that has been in place since February 7, 1995 that generates $36,000 annually. In fiscal year 2007-08, Catawba Valley Medical Center’s Neonatal Unit conducted a total of 78 transports, while Frye Regional Medical Center’s Neonatal Unit conducted a total of 13 transports. Both programs were designed to bring critically ill neonatal patient to their respective hospital’s Level III Neonatal Nursery.
Due to the volume of transports and level of care Catawba Valley Medical Center is providing, there is a need to replace the current neonatal ambulance. Catawba Valley Medical Center has agreed to reimburse Catawba County for the full purchase price of the ambulance. The proposed ambulance has been specifically designed to accommodate neonatal transports and the special equipment Catawba Valley Medical Center utilizes. Catawba Valley Medical Center’s neonatal transport program is the only program in North Carolina that offers both nitric oxide therapy and high frequency jet ventilation during each transport. Nitric oxide is an inhalation gas that helps blood flow to the lungs in babies with pulmonary hypertension. High frequency jet ventilation is used with babies in critical condition who don’t have good lung function, to provide an advanced mode of ventilation for infants with very stiff lungs.
The current ambulance used by Catawba Valley Medical Center for neonatal transports was an spare EMS unit retrofitted to serve as a neonatal unit. Due to the size of the equipment required to provide nitric oxide therapy and high frequency jet ventilation, there is very limited working space inside the patient compartment. The current unit will not accommodate a mother and a newborn. This creates treatment issues and commits more than one ambulance. In addition, the unit has in excess of 106,000 miles. The proposed new unit will provide the extra space needed for nitric oxide therapy and high frequency jet ventilation, and a mechanism to transport the mother with the newborn.
A contractual arrangement has been developed that requires Catawba Valley Medical Center to pay the entire purchase price of the ambulance over a period of eight years. Should the hospital decide to terminate the agreement prior to the end of the eight years, it will be required to buy out the remaining years of the contract. Thus, the County will retain ownership of the ambulance and the hospital will reimburse the County for the purchase price of the ambulance, either over the eight year agreement or in a lump sum payment. In addition to the payment associated with the new ambulance, the agreement requires that Catawba Valley Medical Center continue to pay a monthly service fee for the provision of this service ($36,000 annually). Costs associated with the purchase are: 2009 Wheeled Coach Class I, Type I Medium Duty Ambulance, $237,174; 60 month/150,000 mile extended warranty, $4000; Road Use Tax, $1000, for a total of $242,174. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of this supplemental appropriation.
CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 828-465-8464