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SEPTEMBER 17, 2012
Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Monday, September 17, 2012, 7:00 p.m.
Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room, 1924 Courthouse
30 North College Avenue, Newton, NC

Note: The Board will meet with the Catawba Town Council, Conover City Council, Hickory City Council and Maiden Town Council on Monday, September 17, 2012, at 5:30 p.m. at Conover Station at 409 4th Street Southeast Conover, NC 28613, to hold a joint public hearing on the proposed development of a Multi-jurisdictional Business Park.

1. Call to Order.

2. Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

3. Invocation.

4. Approval of the minutes from the Board’s Regular Meeting and Closed Session of September 4, 2012.

5. Recognition of Special Guests.

6. Public Comments for Items Not on the Agenda.

7. Public Hearings:

a. Close Out Public Hearing for the 2009 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Royal Heights Circle Water Project. Presented by Utilities and Engineering Director Barry Edwards.

b. Second Public Hearing for Submission of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) 2012 Scattered Site Housing Grant. Presented by Planning, Parks and Development Director Jacky Eubanks.

c. A Request to rezone 2.5 acres from R-20 Residential to Planned Development PD District. Presented by Planner Chris Timberlake.

d. Public Hearing to Consider Two Proposed Amendments to the Unified Development Ordinance – (1) Section 44-508 Arrangement and Location of Structures, and (2) Section 44-523(f) Parcel Perimeter Buffer. Presented by Planner Chris Timberlake.

8. Appointments.

9. Consent Agenda:

a. Bid award – Landfill Compactor.

b. Delegation of Authority to conduct open meeting for Preferred Alternates.

10. Other Items of Business.

11. Attorneys’ Report.

12. Manager’s Report.

13. Adjournment.

PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES: Individuals needing assistance should contact the County Clerk at 828-465-8990 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

CALENDAR: The October 2012 Board of Commissioners Meetings will take place on Monday, October 1, 2012 at 9:30 a.m. and on Monday, October 15, 2012 at 7:00 p.m.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2012, 7 P.M.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold five public hearings on 1) a request to rezone approximately 2.5 acres at 9154 Sherrills Ford Road, the proposed site for a new Sherrills Ford Branch of the County Library, from R-20 Residential to the PD Planned Development District; 2) proposed amendments to the Catawba County Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), relative to cemeteries, which would require a 10 foot separation between structures and gravesites, including grave markers and vaults; 3) proposed amendments to the UDO text regarding parcel perimeter buffers; 4) a required second public hearing on a Community Development Block Grant 2012 Scattered Site Housing Grant and 5) the closeout of the 2009 Community Development Block Grant Royal Heights Circle Water Project, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, September 17, 2012, at the 1924 Courthouse, 30 North College Avenue in Newton.

Note: The Board will hold a joint meeting with the Catawba Town Council, Conover City Council, Hickory City Council and Maiden Town Council on September 17, 2012, at 5:30 p.m. at Conover Station, 409 4th Street Southeast Conover, NC, to hold a joint public hearing on the proposed development of a Multijurisdictional Business Park.

At its 7 p.m. regular meeting, the Board will also consider delegating authority to Debbie Anderson, the County’s Purchasing Manager, to conduct an open meeting, also known as a pre-bid conference, concerning preferred alternates for the planned new Animal Shelter. The open meeting would be scheduled for October 9, 2012, if the Board gives approval. And the Board will consider awarding a bid for a new landfill compactor needed at the Blackburn Landfill. The compactor would be paid for with funds from the County’s Solid Waste Enterprise Fund, which is derived from solid waste tipping fees containing no ad valorem tax proceeds.


A. The Board will hold a public hearing regarding the closeout of the 2009 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), Royal Heights Circle Water Project. The purpose of the CDBG Royal Heights Circle Water Project Grant, in the amount of $308,500, was to install 4,650 linear feet of water line and connect 31 residents to the water line. Eighty-three percent of those benefitting have low to moderate income, according to State guidelines. The infrastructure improvements have been completed. CDBG funds financed 99% of the total project costs; the remaining 1% was paid with County funds as a County match.

B. The Board will hold a second public hearing on the submission of a 2012 Scattered Site CDBG application to the North Carolina Division of Community Assistance and consider adopting an Authorizing Resolution and Certification. Catawba County has been allocated $400,000 every three years, on a rotating basis, for a Scattered Site Housing Grant. Catawba County received three allocations, in 2003, 2006 and 2009. The 2012 allocation has been cut to $225,000. In order to receive this next round of funding, an application must be submitted to the Division of Community Assistance by October 17, 2012. A first public hearing was held on October 3, 2011, for any CDBG grant funds the County may receive through the Division of Community Assistance.

These funds would provide assistance for the rehabilitation of four to five severely deteriorated homes owned and occupied by very low-income household members within the County limits. Also included in the grant application is a request for $22,500 for emergency repairs to a minimum of five homes of low and moderate income homeowners. The Program is scheduled to last 30 months from the time funding is awarded to completion. A Housing Selection Committee will help with evaluation of housing rehabilitation applications received and the final selection of the homes to receive assistance.

C. The Board will hold a public hearing to receive citizen input and consider an application to rezone 2.5 acres at 9154 Sherrills Ford Road, the proposed site for a new Sherrills Ford Branch of the County Library, from R-20 Residential (requiring a minimum lot size of 20,000 square feet, 1/2 acre) to Planned Development-PD district (no minimum lot size required).The PD Planned Development district, considered a “special district,” encourages the master planning of large scale, multiple or mixed use development patterns. Because of the location of the parcel, and the recommendations of the Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan, staff anticipates future growth adjacent to the site. Applicants who propose a planned development usually have increased opportunity for flexibility and creativity in design than is possible under conventional zoning regulations. However, there are some uses (such as auto repair, motor vehicle sales) that are permitted in general commercial districts but not permitted in the Planned Development district.

The property is located at 9154 Sherrills Ford Road in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District and is currently zoned R-20 Residential and is a vacant tract. Parcels to the north and south are zoned R-20 Residential and developed with single-family homes. A parcel to the east is split-zoned Rural Commercial RC and R-20 Residential with R-20 Residential being the prevailing district. A small accessory structure and a portion of the Connor homestead exist on the property. Parcels to the west are zoned HC Highway Commercial with a single-family home, R-20 Residential with single-family homes, and R-20 Residential and vacant.

The subject property is in the WS-IV Critical Area Watershed. Generally, when more than one acre is disturbed, the maximum built upon area in a WS-IV Critical Area is 24% of the property. However, one of the opportunities available in a Planned Development district is high-density development which, in a WS-IV Critical Area, allows a maximum of 50% built upon area provided stormwater controls are used to control runoff from the first one inch of rainfall. As required, the developer will implement engineered storm water controls (grass swale, dry detention basin, or bio-retention area) that must be approved by the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Division of Water Quality.

McGill Associates has provided a conceptual site plan for the development of a new County branch library site on this property. Although the site has frontage on Sherrills Ford Road, it will be accessed from a side street, which is expected to provide access to future development of adjacent properties to mitigate future traffic congestion by channeling it through a main access. The built upon area of the site is currently around 40%, 10% less than allowed by the high density development option. The building is anticipated to be approximately 10,000 square feet, well under the allowed maximum floor area of the Planned Development district (1/2 of property; 1/2 of 2.5 acres or 108,900 square feet). The library will meet 50 foot setbacks from adjacent residential properties and 30 foot setbacks from right-of-way. In consideration of future pedestrian and bicycle transportation, sidewalks along the property lines and inside the site, as well as a bike rack, are proposed. The site will be landscaped according to requirements in the County’s Unified Development Ordinance.

Public water is available along Sherrills Ford Road. Public sewer does not currently exist, but is expected to be available as the project develops. Sherrills Ford Road is designated as a minor collector in the 2035 Greater Hickory Urban Area Long Range Transportation Plan. Minor collectors collect traffic from local roads and provide links within a reasonable distance to major collector roads. They provide service to the remaining smaller communities and link rural areas to locally important traffic generators. The plan recommends minor widening of lane widths when funding is available.

Traffic counts taken in 2011 in the vicinity of the site measured 5,200 vehicle trips per day. The transportation plan indicates the current design and construction should allow for a road capacity of 13,800 vehicles per day. A 10,000 square foot library would not overburden the existing roadway. According to the Institute of Transportation Engineers, the projected traffic count could increase by approximately 270 vehicles per day, comparable to the St. Stephens Branch Library of similar size.

The Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan serves as the current land use plan for this area. The property is located in an area designated for a mixed use village, envisioned to provide a mixture of uses such as commercial, office, and mixed-residential uses.

Staff presented a favorable recommendation to the Catawba County Planning Board based on the request being consistent with the adopted small area plan and the property being in close proximity to other nonresidential properties. The Planning Board held a public hearing on August 27, 2012. No one spoke in favor of or in opposition to the request. The Planning Board had several general questions. One pertained to access in relationship to existing parcels. Others concerned the location of landscaping and utilities. The Planning Board voted 7-0 to submit a favorable recommendation to the Board of Commissioners to rezone the 2.5 acre parcel from R-20 Residential to PD Planned Development based on the reasons set forth in the Staff’s recommendation.

D. The Board will hold a public hearing to receive citizen comments and consider two proposed amendments to the County’s Unified Development Ordinance (UDO). The first proposed amendment is to consider requiring a setback for structures from cemetery gravesites. An issue in the City of Newton, where a funeral home completed an addition to an existing building less than 5 feet from a gravesite, prompted staff’s inquiry. Staff contacted twelve counties (Lincoln, Pitt, Union, Gaston, Johnston, Iredell, New Hanover, Mecklenburg, Durham, Wake, Guilford, and Forsyth) about the issue. Each requires that structures and gravesites meet setbacks from property lines. Setbacks for gravesites in relationship to property lines range from 30 to 100 feet. None of the counties require structures to meet internal setbacks or separation from gravesites. The N.C. Cemetery Commission does not have any requirements for internal setbacks or separation between gravesites and structures. Staff contacted several local churches which have cemeteries on their property as well as an architect who recently worked on a project where a church expanded toward a cemetery. Both the church’s trustees and the architect indicated a 10 foot separation is a reasonable standard and offers protection to existing gravesites.

There is no current requirement in the County’s UDO for an internal setback separating a structure from a gravesite. A difficulty in enforcing a separation requirement results from the fact that neither a zoning nor a building permit is required when establishing a gravesite in a cemetery. Staff would not recommend the County require zoning permits for gravesites in the future.

Staff supports a setback of 10 feet separating a structure from a gravesite to protect or prevent damage to the gravesite. The Planning Board held a public hearing on August 27, 2012, to consider the proposed amendment. There were no public comments made about the request. Two Planning Board members asked if, based on the proposed amendment, an addition of a columbarium at an existing church would have to meet the 10 foot setback from a gravesite. Based on the proposed text, it would. By a vote of 7-0, the Planning Board favorably recommends to the Board of Commissioners a setback of 10 feet separating a structure from a gravesite to protect or prevent damage to the gravesite.

The second proposed amendment to the UDO is to consider allowing additional buffer waiver opportunities between higher intensity and lesser intensity uses (ex. between non-residential and residential properties). A solid vegetated buffer, berm with vegetation, or fence/wall must be established between higher intensive uses and less intensive uses when development occurs. A buffer waiver option is available for schools and churches when they abut residential properties. It is also available when higher intensive uses abut vacant lots with an existing natural buffer, structure (i.e. wall), or 200 feet of road frontage. Staff has worked with several developers and property owners who reside adjacent to development, and have questioned this regulation. Staff contacted Lincoln, Pitt, Union, Gaston, Johnston, Iredell, and New Hanover counties regarding their standards for parcel perimeter buffer requirements. Three of the seven offer an exception to the buffer requirement for topographical reasons. Two make an exception when the adjacent property is proposed for non-residential development or if non-residential development exists on residential property.

Staff supported an exception or waiver to the parcel perimeter buffer (1) on lot sizes 1.5 times the minimum required for the district, where the perimeter buffer must be installed around the improved area rather than the property boundary; (2) where the adjoining tract is less intensive and has a principal structure, the waiver option would be available; and (3) where the topography on the more intensive or less intensive tracts would make the buffer ineffective, the buffer would not be required. The Planning Board held a public hearing on December 12, 2011, to consider the proposed amendment. No one spoke in opposition or in favor of the request. By a vote of 6 – 0, the Planning Board favorably recommended the above criteria in providing an exception or waiver to the parcel perimeter buffer to the Board of Commissioners.

The original recommendation in consideration of the criteria mentioned above was formulated by staff based on administering the UDO over the past five years and the survey of the seven counties, in an effort to provide more flexibility and some relief to existing and future development. Staff undertook additional studies and surveys associated with other counties (Mecklenburg, Durham, Wake, Guilford, and Forsyth) addressing other text amendments being prepared for consideration. Buffer requirements were discussed in some of the surveys and, as a result, staff determined the most defensible criteria and objective criteria moving forward is topography. Staff presented this information to the Planning Board on August 27, 2012. The Planning Board supported staff’s revised recommendation to allow an exception to the parcel perimeter buffer, on more intensive use properties, where the topography would make the buffer ineffective.

A. The Board will consider awarding a bid for an 80,000 pound class wheel compactor to Road Machinery and consider the trade-in of two used compactors: (1) a 1998 Al-Jon Impact 91K and (2) a 2001 Al-Jon Impact 91K, towards this purchase. Bids were received on August 23, 2012, for a new 80,000 pound landfill compactor. Bid notices were sent to four known vendors and posted on the County’s third party electronic bidding service. Six bids were received and Road Machinery is the lowest, responsible, responsive bidder.

Compactors are used to spread and compact waste in small lifts to maximize airspace. Compactors operate in the worst conditions and must be dependable. This new compactor will replace the 1998 Al-John 91K and 2001 Al-Jon Impact 91K. Both are more than ten years old and have in excess of 12,000 operating hours. Bidders were required to submit a cost for a five year or 10,000 hour power train warranty and trade-in values for the surplus compactors. The bid award is based on lowest total cost bidding; bidders were required to submit a guaranteed buyback price. The actual contract with Road Machinery will be $480,000 which represents initial purchase price and power train warranty, less the trade-in values. No appropriations are required; funding for the purchase of a compactor is included in the fiscal year 2012/2013 budget. All costs associated with the landfill and solid waste activities are funded from the Solid Waste Enterprise Fund, which is derived from solid waste tipping fees containing no ad valorem tax proceeds. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the awarding of this bid to Road Machinery.

B. The Board will consider authorizing, by resolution, Debbie Anderson, Purchasing Manager, to conduct an open meeting concerning preferred alternates for a new Animal Shelter. North Carolina General Statute 133-3 provides for free and open competition on public contracts. It states that 1) specifications shall contain a performance specification or name at least three brands of equal and equivalent design characteristics; 2) if the owner prefers a particular brand or product or material then such brand shall be bid as an alternate to the three items or equivalent design in the base bid, one of which may be the preferred brand; 3) the specifications for the preferred brand must also identify the performance standards that support the preference; 4) the owner shall publish a notice announcing an open meeting for the presentation of the performance standards; 5) the open meeting may be held separately or in conjunction with the project pre-bid meeting; 6) a designated official of the owner will conduct the meeting; and 7) justification must either indicate a cost savings or maintain or improve the function of any process or system affected by the preferred product or both

Staff recommends approval of three alternates:

Concrete Stain:
Staff researched concrete stain for areas that will have concrete floors and recommends Scofield Lithochrome Chemstain Classic as a preferred alternate to help achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) points. This reactive chemical stain is water based and is manufactured within a 500 mile radius. This stain will also provide the color effect desired. To help reach the goal of LEED Silver certification, staff recommends approval as a preferred alternate.

Crossville Tile
Staff researched the best floor product for the entrance, adoption lobby, relinquishment lobby and vestibule. Ceramic tile manufactured by Crossville Tile is the floor product recommended for the areas above. In addition, the front reception counter will have colored Glass Blox and Glass Blox EC product that have 20% recycled content and are regionally located. To help reach the goal of LEED Silver certification, staff recommends approval for this product to be a preferred alternate.

HVAC System
Trane and Trane Tracer Summit is the prominent equipment that is used in new County buildings and additions. County maintenance staff works closely with the Trane factory representatives on all installations for updated training on all equipment and controls. Maintenance staff use Trane software to maintain and regulate the County systems; this has reduced time and expenses required to diagnose particular maintenance problems.

As of this date, the proposed timeline for the project is:

Bid Advertisement September 28, 2012
Pre-bid Conference October 9, 2012
Bid Opening November 6, 2012

Nine general contractors have been prequalified for this project. Construction is estimated to take one year and eight months. Authorization of Debbie Anderson, Purchasing Manger, to conduct the open meeting concerning preferred alternates for the new Animal Shelter is recommended by the Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee.