PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2009, 7 P.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, NC
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold public hearings on 1) a request to rezone 10.83 acres at 9310 Highway 10 West, in the Plateau Small Area Planning District, from R-40 Residential to HC-CD Highway Commercial-Conditional District; 2) a proposed application for a 2009 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Infrastructure Water Grant that would be used to bring water lines to nineteen homes owned by low to moderate income homeowners on Royal Heights Circle; 3) the close out of the County’s 2006 CDBG Unifour First Time Homebuyer Program; and 4) a proposed application to participate in the 2009 CDBG Unifour First Time Homebuyer Program, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, September 21, 2009, at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.
The Board will also consider a request from the Catawba County Board of Health to add two additional Home Health nursing positions, to address a recent 21% increase in demand for home health services; the awarding of a bid for the County’s banking services, over the next two years, to Branch Banking and Trust (BB&T), the apparent lowest bidder meeting all of the County’s qualifications; and a request to waive the normally charged solid waste tipping fees for two 40-cubic yard waste containers for the Lake Hickory and Lake Lookout Protective Association’s participation in the Big Sweep clean up in October 2009. The Board will also present a Distinguished Public Service Award to Telecommunicator Alena Greer, who was recently named the 2009 Telecommunicator of the Year by the North Carolina Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association.
The Board will issue a Distinguished Public Service Award to Telecommunicator Alena Greer who was recently named the 2009 Telecommunicator of the Year by the North Carolina Chapter of the National Emergency Number Association. Ms. Greer’s actions were vital in solving the 2009 murders of four people at their residence in Conover. Sheriff’s Office investigators have said her exemplary handling of the 911 call regarding the case led to the discovery of critical evidence used to identify a suspect in the case.
A. The Board will hold a public hearing on a request by Steven and Mellissa Matthews to rezone a 10.83 acre parcel, located at 9310 Highway 10 West in the Plateau Small Area Planning District, from R-40 Residential to HC-CD Highway Commercial-Conditional District. Parcels to the north, south, east and west are zoned R-40 and contain single-family dwellings, with one parcel that is zoned R-40 being unoccupied. Commercial properties, including a Honey’s Supermarket, DTH Poultry Supply and Ritchie’s Auto Parts, lie within a quarter mile to the east and west of this site.
Steven and Melissa Matthews, both veterinarians, have cited a need for a veterinary clinic in the western portion of Catawba County, adding that the closest veterinarians for large animals to this property are 15 miles away. They are proposing to construct a veterinary clinic on the property and consider using an existing dwelling as a caretaker’s cottage. Other existing barns or outbuildings would be removed from the property.
The applicants intend to operate a clinic from 8 am to 5pm Monday through Friday and 8 am to 12 Noon on Saturdays. There may be a need for an after-hours emergency clinic in the future. Rezoning the property to the Highway Commercial-Conditional District would limit the future use of the property and specify the conditions under which it would develop.
The Catawba County Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) Section 44-418, HC Highway Commercial states, “This district provides areas for regional highway-oriented business, office, service, and civic uses. The district regulations are designed to protect and encourage the transitional character of the districts by permitting business uses and building forms that are compatible with the surrounding area.” UDO Section 44-327, CD Conditional Zoning District, states, “The conditional zoning districts included herein allow for the consideration of certain uses that, because of their nature or scale, have particular impacts on both the immediate area and the community as a whole and are created or established for selected criteria as indicated in the applicability section. The development of these uses cannot be predetermined and controlled by general district regulations. In addition, circumstances arise when a general zoning district designation would not be appropriate for a certain property, but specific uses permitted under the district would be consistent with the objectives of this section. To accommodate those situations, this section establishes the conditional zoning district process. A conditional zoning district is not intended for securing speculative zoning for a proposal, but rather is based on a firm development proposal.”
The proposed site plan depicts the location of the existing dwelling, proposed veterinary clinic and four accessory structures. The maximum square footage of the veterinary clinic will be 8000 square feet. Maximum sizes of accessory buildings will be 36’x60’, 18’x36’, and 12’x24’. Other development conditions agreed to by the developer are as follows: the maximum building height for the veterinary clinic would be 15 feet 4 inches and the maximum height of accessory buildings would be 35 feet. The front and left building façades will be of split face block veneer. The right façade will include split face veneer up to 4 feet, with the remainder of ribbed metal panels. The rear of the building will be ribbed metal panels. Accessory buildings would include a horse barn and shelters for storage and feed stalls in the same color scheme as the main veterinary building. All buildings and exercise yards will meet required setbacks from residential property lines and dwellings. The most visible portion of the fence for the exercise yard, parallel to Highway 10, will be of painted wood or white vinyl material. The remaining fence may be of wood or post and wire. Exterior lighting on the front of the building will be full cut-off. Lighting to the side of the building will be at least semi cut-off. All landscaping will meet UDO standards and existing vegetation will be saved to the extent possible. A monument sign will be allowed with a maximum height of 7 feet above grade and maximum surface area of 32 square feet, illuminated internally or with flood lights directed only at the surface area to reduce any light spillage on adjacent properties. A wall sign will be allowed, subject to UDO regulations. The existing residential structure shall be used for a caretaker’s cottage. Any future use of the property or caretaker’s cottage must be reviewed and approved by the Planning Board and Board of Commissioners.
Additional UDO standards would be imposed. The floor area ratio for the Highway Commercial District allows one square foot of building space per three square feet of land area. The proposed square footage (11,384 sq. ft.) of the project would be well under the allowable floor area ratio of 157,251 sq. ft. Because the site is located in a WS-III Watershed Protected Area, only 24% (113,221 sq. ft.) of the site is allowed impervious. 30,056 sq. ft. of this project would be impervious.
The Catawba County Thoroughfare Plan designates Highway 10 West as a major collector road which serves as an intra-county travel corridor and a route to service local municipalities. Highway 10 West is a two-lane roadway at this location. Traffic counts taken just west of the site in 2007 were 4900 vehicles per day. The estimated road capacity of this section of Highway 10 is 15,300 vehicles per day. No improvements are suggested for this portion of Highway 10. Old Shelby Road is a minor collector road which serves to collect traffic from local residential roads and link to a major collector. Traffic counts available nearest to the site (3 miles to the north) totaled 830 vehicle trips per day. No improvements are recommended for this portion of Old Shelby Road.
The Plateau Small Area Plan serves as the current land use plan for this area. The subject property is in an area recommended for low density residential use (one dwelling per two acres). In order to comply fully with the North Carolina General Statutes, the Planning Board must formally adopt a consistency statement concerning the proposed rezoning. Such statement should address relevant plans such as the Plateau Small Area Plan. David Owens, law professor at the Institute of Government and author of Introduction to Zoning, Third Edition 2007 writes, “If a community does adopt a land use plan, there is no legal requirement that all zoning decisions exactly match up to it. State zoning statutes provide that all zoning must be ‘in accordance with a comprehensive plan.’ The North Carolina courts have not, however, read this to mean all zoning decisions must be precisely measured against a separately adopted land use plan. Rather, the courts have ruled that zoning decisions must be based on a reasoned consideration of land use issues facing the entire community.”
The Planning Board held a public hearing on August 31, 2009. The applicants, Stephen and Melissa Matthews, spoke on the need for a large animal veterinary clinic in this rural area, and stated that the closest clinic was 15 miles away. Mr. Clarence Hood, President of the Catawba County Farm Bureau, stated he submitted a letter of support from the Farm Bureau because there is such a great need in the area for a veterinarian. Mr. Dwayne Hood, a professional farmer in the area of the proposed clinic, said he went to all the neighbors except two, that no one is opposed to the clinic, and that neighbors support the project. The Planning Board voted 9-0 to recommended adoption of a statement acknowledging the inconsistency of the rezoning request with the Plateau Small Area Plan; and the approval of the rezoning of the property from R-40 Residential to HC-CD Highway Commercial-Conditional District based on the conditions shown on a site plan and elevation drawings by which the proposed establishment would develop; the specific nature of the request, which includes components of the rural setting such as additional landscaping, the residential dwelling, and pasture or exercise yards for horses or cattle; the materials of the proposed building, which should be sustainable and consisting of an earth tone color scheme compatible to the environment; the service to the community, offering large and small animal medical care; the purpose of conditional district zoning which establishes development conditions in the interest of the public and further protecting the health, safety, and general welfare of surrounding property owners; and the request’s proximity to other commercial districts (within a quarter of a mile).
B. The Board will hold a required second public hearing on the proposed submission of an application to the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Division of Community Assistance, for a $308,500 Infrastructure Water Grant from the 2009 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Infrastructure Water Grant to provide municipal water to Royal Heights Circle in western Catawba County. These funds are designed to enable local governments to install municipal water and or/sewer lines with taps and connections for low and moderate-income households (incomes at or below 80% of the area median income) in areas where there are no municipal water and/or sewer lines.
The County proposes to install 2100 linear feet of 8 inch water line to serve 22 households on Royal Heights Circle, near Advent Crossroads. The grant will pay for the installation of the water line, all tap fees, capital or assessment fees, connections from the meter to the house, and engineering and administration of the project. 19 of the 22 households targeted qualified as low and moderate-income, therefore only those 19 will receive a free tap and connection. No local match is required for this particular grant. NCDCA has waived this normal requirement due to current economic conditions.
The first of the two required public hearings for this project was held on February 16, 2009. This second required public hearing was advertised in local newspapers on September 8, 2009 in accordance with CDBG guidelines.
C. The Board will hold a public hearing on the closeout of a 2006 CDBG Individual Development Account (IDA) Unifour First Time Homebuyer Program Grant #05-C-1472. Catawba County received $70,000 from the North Carolina Department of Commerce, Division of Community Assistance in 2006 and was the lead entity for this program. These funds were to be used for down payment assistance ($1000 per person) for 30 clients with low to moderate income selected from an IDA class and approved to purchase a home. These clients also used $5000 for an existing home, or $7500 for a newly constructed home, in Unifour Consortium First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program Funds. The Western Piedmont Council of Governments (WPCOG) administered this grant for the County.
All grant activities have been completed. Twenty-four clients in the Greater Hickory Metro were able to utilize this program: 15 in Catawba County; 2 in Caldwell County; 2 in Burke County and 5 in Alexander County. The original grant targeted 30 clients for this assistance, but the declining economy made it more difficult for some clients to purchase a home. The County had no match for this grant. CDBG funds and the Unifour Home Consortium First Time Homebuyers Down Payment Assistance Program financed the total project costs. The County will be de-obligating $5,800.60 of the $70,000 granted. The County is applying for another $70,000 Individual Development Account Unifour First Time Homebuyer Program Grant, as noted under item D, below.
D. The Board will hold a second public hearing on the proposed submission of an application to the North Carolina Division of Community Assistance for $70,000 in grant funds from the 2009 CDBG IDA Unifour First Time Homebuyer Program application, and consider an authorizing resolution and an agreement between Catawba County and the WPCOG allowing the WPCOG to conduct home ownership classes. Catawba County will be the lead entity for the next three years for this program that will be used by governments across Catawba, Alexander, Burke and Caldwell Counties. These funds will be used for down payment assistance ($1000 per person) for 30 clients with low to moderate income, who have been selected for the IDA class and approved to purchase a home. Clients will also use Unifour Consortium First-Time Homebuyer Assistance Program Funds in the amount of $5000 for an existing home, or $7500 for a newly constructed home, in the Greater Hickory Metro.
A. PUBLIC HEALTH
The Board will consider the addition of two Home Health nurse positions to Catawba County Public Health’s Home Health Program, and an increase in the overall Home Health budget by $117,396 to address an increase in the need for the service. The average patient caseload per nurse has increased over 21% over the past few months, and some nurses are carrying a caseload in excess of 50 patients per month. The industry standard is approximately 37 patients per nurse. These additional Home Health Nurse positions would allow Home Health to continue to provide high quality Home Health care to approximately 80 more patients per month than is reflected in the current budget. The additional costs of these two positions will be covered entirely by earned revenues. No County funds are included in the Home Health budget. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the addition of two Home Health nurse position and an increase to the overall Home Health budget by $117,396.
The Board will consider designating Branch Banking & Trust (BB&T) as the County’s central depository for a period of three years, with an option to renew for an additional two years, and authorizing the County’s Finance Director to negotiate the best method of payment for services rendered. Catawba County has used BB&T as its central depository since November 2001. One of the Finance Department’s objectives for this year was to bid the County’s banking services to tap into the newest banking technologies capable of streamlining everyday financial transactions, including web-based reporting and other online capabilities. Many banking institutions expressed an interest in servicing the County’s banking needs. Competitive bidding gives each interested institution the same opportunity to obtain the County’s business. Requests for Proposals were sent to ten financial institutions. Seven responded with quotes on the banking services as specified in the RFP. The annual and monthly service charges from each bank, based on the County’s current average monthly volume, would be as follows: Bank of America, $7100 per month, $85,200 annually; BB&T, $6063 per month, $72,756 annually; First Citizens, $9711 per month, $116,532 annually; First Tennessee, $11,811 per month, $141,732 annually; Peoples Bank, $3795 per month, $45,540 annually*; RBC, $7124 per month, $85,488 annually; and Wachovia, $13,687 per month, $164,244 annually
*Peoples Bank does not have lockbox capability or positive pay at this time and; therefore, those costs are not reflected in their bid. These services are critical to insure streamlined tax collections and minimize the potential for fraud.
Each bank bid three ways to pay for these services: 1) Direct Method, which pays for services directly each month either by check or by allowing the bank to draft the County’s account; 2) Non-Interest Bearing Certificate of Deposit (CD) by which the County invests a fixed amount of money into a CD held by the bank and the bank earns the interest; and 3) Compensated Balances, under which the County agrees to leave a certain minimum level of balances in the bank, at any given time, earning interest which the bank keeps. New technology is available that allows County staff to electronically scan and deposit checks that come to County offices. Staff will be reviewing this new service for advantages such as faster settlement of deposits, and reduction in cost and time commitments related to transporting deposits to a local bank branch.
The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the selection of BB&T as the County’s central depository for a three-year period, with the option to renew for an additional two years, effective October 1, 2009 and authorizing the Finance Director to negotiate the best method of payment for services rendered. BB&T has played a positive role in the community with support of many charitable organizations and programs in the County including United Way, the Women’s Resource Center, Champions of Education, Catawba Valley Special Olympics and Council on Adolescents.
C. UTILTIES AND ENGINEERING
The Board will consider waiving the normally charged solid waste tipping fees for two 40-cubic yard waste containers for the Lake Hickory and Lake Lookout Protective Association’s participation in the Big Sweep Clean up in October 2009. The Lake Hickory Association, as part of the State’s Big Sweep Program to clean up area lakes, will sponsor its annual waterway cleanup event on Lake Hickory and Lake Lookout on October 4, 2009. Garbage Disposal Service/Republic Services will donate the cost of the containers and hauling of the containers to the Blackburn Landfill. Effective July 1, 2008, State law added a $2 per ton tax on solid waste disposal. This tax is applicable to the waste from the October 2009 event, as the County cannot waive State taxes. Garbage Disposal Service will be charged $2 per ton State tax on the waste disposal from this event, since they are the waste hauler and account holder. The waiver of disposal fees is applicable to any tires that may be included in the collection, but special handling procedures for used tires are State-mandated. Tires cannot be mixed with other debris. They must be removed from the rims, contain no mud and stacked in the designated tire collection area at the Blackburn landfill. The $2 per ton disposal tax is not applicable to used tires.
CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 828-465-8464