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OCTOBER 20 , 2014
Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting
Monday, October 20, 2014, 7 p.m.
Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room, 1924 Courthouse
30 North College Avenue, Newton, NC
1. Call to Order
2. Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
4. Approval of the minutes from the Board’s Regular Meeting of October 6, 2014
6. Public Comment for items not on the agenda
8. Public Hearing:
10. Consent Agenda:
13. Attorneys’ Report
14. Manager’s Report
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 http://www.catawbacountync.gov.
CALENDAR: The November Board of Commissioner Meetings will take place on Monday, November 3, 2014 at 9:30 a.m. and on Monday, November 17, 2014 at 7:00 p.m. These meetings will be in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room in the 1924 Courthouse in Newton.
PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold public hearings on 1) a request to rezone four parcels totaling approximately 17.31 acres, located at 3023, 3054, 3056 and 3073 Botanical Drive in the St. Stephens/Oxford Small Area Planning District, from R-30 Residential to GI General Industrial District; and 2) on a request to amend the County Zoning Overlay Map to declassify the Maiden Creek and Allen Creek WS-II Watersheds, in response to the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission’s action to declassify those watershed areas, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, October 20, 2014, at the 1924 Courthouse at 30 North College Avenue in Newton.
The Board will also consider adopting the proposed 2015 Schedule of Values, a set of standards and rules created following the study of the County’s current real estate market which, after final approval by the Board, will be used as an appraisal manual to set property values, effective on January 1, 2015.
The Board will consider entering into an agreement with Burke County regarding the closing of the Burke-Catawba Regional Jail Facility that would set forth provisions for the termination of the Operating Agreement for the jail. The Board will consider using the sole source exemption, allowed under State law when a needed item is available from only one source, for the purchase of an access control system for the Justice Center/Public Safety expansion. The Board will also issue a report on the attainment of its goals for Fiscal Year 2013/2014, which ended on June 30, 2014. And the Board will observe as a team of county telecommunicators is presented with the National Emergency Number Association’s Communications Team of the Year Award
The R-30 Residential District is a medium-density district allowing one home per 30,000 square feet (approximately 3/4 acre) and generally used for single family housing and agricultural production. The General Industrial (GI) district provides for intensive manufacturing, processing, and assembly uses. The subject parcels are zoned R-30 Residential, with a residence located on one parcel and older accessory structures located on another two. Parcels to the north are zoned R-30 Residential and contain single-family homes, an accessory structure, and some are undeveloped. Parcels to the south are zoned GI General Industrial and undeveloped, with some zoned R-30 Residential with single-family homes. One parcel to the east is zoned R-30 Residential and is undeveloped and two parcels are in Claremont’s zoning jurisdiction and zoned for residential use. One parcel to the west is within Claremont’s zoning jurisdiction and zoned for residential use and there is another parcel zoned R-30 Residential that contains a single-family home. The four subject parcels are within the WS-IV Watershed Protected Area established to offer protection of surface water from pollutants. The WS-IV Watershed Protected Area allows 36% built upon area if a curb and gutter system is not constructed. A small portion of one of the parcels is located within the floodplain. Each of the parcels is located within the Doublewide Manufactured Home-Overlay district, which allows for manufactured housing.
A public sewer line exists near Mull Creek to the east of one parcel. A sewer pump station is located on one parcel. Public water exists along North Oxford Street, which is designated a minor thoroughfare in the 2035 Greater Hickory Urban Area Transportation Plan. It extends from US Highway 70 in Claremont to Rock Barn Road. No road improvements are recommended for the road north of I-40. Traffic counts taken in 2011 on North Oxford Street just south of Keller Street measured 4,400. Based on design and construction, the road should handle at least 8,000 cars per day without any loss to traffic service. Development of the property should not overburden the existing roadway. Botanical Drive is a local residential gravel road. If the rezoning is approved, Botanical Drive could not be used to access non-residential development.
The St. Stephens/Oxford Small Area Plan serves as the current land use plan for this area. Map 6, titled “Future Land Use Recommendations," does not depict the properties being located in an area for future industrial use. However, the properties are directly adjacent and in close proximity to property recently zoned for General Industrial use as well as property zoned M-1 (industrial, manufacturing, and warehousing district) in Claremont’s planning and zoning jurisdiction.
Staff recommends the four parcels totaling 17.31 acres be rezoned from R-30 Residential to GI General Industrial based on the request being in harmony with the existing adjacent industrial land use and the property being in close proximity to Interstate 40, a major transportation facility.
The Planning Board held a public hearing on August 25, 2014, to consider the request. Mr. Dan Barnes was available to speak on behalf of the applicant. There were no questions from the Planning Board, which voted 9-0 to submit a favorable recommendation to the Board of Commissioners, to rezone the four parcels totaling 17.31 acres from R-30 Residential to General Industrial (GI), based on the reasons stated above.
B. The Board will hold a public hearing to receive citizen comments and consider amending the Catawba County Official Zoning Overlay Map to remove the Maiden and Allen Creek WS-II Critical and Balance Area Watersheds. County watershed regulations, which aid in protecting surface water from pollutants, became effective on January 1, 1994, in response to State regulations. A watershed is a topographic area that collects precipitation and distributes it to a location such as a lake, pond, river or water collection point such as Maiden’s former Water Treatment Facility, which was in service until 2003-2004 when the City of Hickory began serving Maiden with public water.
A portion of Maiden’s water supply originated from Maiden Creek and Allen Creek watersheds prior to Hickory providing public water to Maiden. In January and February 2013, the State’s Environmental Management Commission and Rules Review Commission, respectively, approved the declassification of both the WS-II Critical Watershed and WS-II Balance Watershed. The State’s declassification was effective on March 1, 2013. The State’s decision did not modify the County’s Zoning Overlay Map. Because of the State’s decision, staff is requesting the County’s Official Zoning Overlay Map be amended to remove the WS-II Critical and WS-II Balance Watershed.
The WS-II Critical Area Watershed and WS-II Balance Area Watershed require minimum lot sizes for residential development and allow a maximum built-upon area for non-residential development. There are 77 parcels in the WS-II Critical Area Watershed and 1,478 parcels in the WS-II Balance Area Watershed. All of the properties in the WS-II Critical Area are zoned R-40 Residential. The vast majority of parcels (1,465) within the WS-II Balance Area are zoned R-40 Residential (with a minimum lot size of 40,000 square feet, approximately 1 acre). There are seven non-residential properties in the WS-II Balance Area limited to 12%-70% built-upon area.
Removing the WS-II Critical Watershed and WS-II Balance Watershed will offer opportunity for additional built-upon area (flexibility) on non-residential properties and allow smaller lot sizes (1 acre instead of 2 acres where the WS-II Critical Watershed exists) based on the residential zoning district. Staff recommends amendment of the Catawba County Official Zoning Overlay Map to remove the Maiden and Allen Creek WS-II Critical and Balance Watersheds consistent with the State’s decision in 2013, declassifying both watersheds.
The Planning Board held a public hearing on September 29, 2014, to consider the request. There were a few general questions from the public including (1) If approved, will there be a change to the map? (the Maiden and Allen Creek Watershed would no longer appear on the map); (2) What was the required lot size? (if approved, the minimum lot size would depend on the zoning district but, in most cases, would be 40,000 square feet or approximately one acre. Smaller lots are non-conforming/grandfathered); and (3) Could the current watershed boundaries be clarified? (the boundaries were identified for the public.)
The Planning Board voted 8-0 to submit a favorable recommendation to the Board of Commissioners to amend the Catawba County Official Zoning Overlay Map to remove the Maiden and Allen Creek WS-II Critical and Balance Watersheds consistent with the State’s decision in 2013, declassifying both watersheds.
The County has been using Sonitrol Security Services access control system for the Justice Center, Government Center, Social Services, Animal Services and Public Health buildings for several years. The access control system operates with employee ID badges to allow access into buildings and authorized areas within a building. Card access will be required in multiple areas throughout the new expansion.
North Carolina General Statute 143-129 allows an exemption from bidding for purchase contracts when performance or price competition for a product are not available; when a needed product is available from only one source of supply; or when standardization or compatibility is the overriding consideration. This exemption requires governing body approval and a record must be maintained of purchases made under this exemption. The Board’s Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the authorization of this sole source exemption.
B. The Board will consider entering into an agreement with Burke County regarding the closing of the Burke-Catawba Regional Jail Facility, which sets forth the provisions for the termination of the jail Operating Agreement. Burke and Catawba Counties entered into an agreement entitled “Burke-Catawba Regional Jail Agency Operating Agreement” on March 19, 1996 (effective July 1, 1995), for the purpose of operating a Regional Jail Facility and to provide for its finance and operation. The counties have operated and financed the facility since that date. The debt to fund construction of the facility has been paid in full. Each county anticipates building new confinement facilities in their counties by the end of the decade and both want to make provisions for the termination of the Operating Agreement and the closing of the Regional Jail Facility. Highlights of the agreement include: 1) Burke anticipates its new facility will be complete in approximately four years, at which time Burke will move all of its inmates out of the old facility; 2) Burke will make 88 beds available to Catawba at the new facility until Catawba County completes its jail addition. The bed rental rate will be based on the then-prevailing rate for jail beds; 3) After Burke completes its new facility, either county has the option of maintaining inmates at the old facility provided one year’s notice is given, although no inmates shall remain at the old facility after December 31, 2022; and 4) Once the facility is closed, Burke will purchase Catawba’s interest at a depreciated amount pursuant to the Operating Agreement. The Board’s Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board enter into this closing agreement with Burke County.
The Schedule of Values is a set of standards and rules that are used as an appraisal manual by the County appraisal staff to assure properties are valued in an accurate and consistent manner. The schedule contains information on methods used to determine land and building values based on criteria such as: location, age, type of construction, zoning, income potential, cost, etc.
Also included in the proposed Schedule of Values is a special schedule for appraising eligible agricultural, horticultural, and forest land at its “present use” value. This schedule is a statewide schedule formulated by the North Carolina Department of Revenue. Properties whose owners qualify for “present use” assessment will receive two values: a market value mandated by law and a “present use” value.
Adoption of the proposed Schedule of Values is an important step in the revaluation process. After the adoption, property owners will have 30 days to challenge the Schedule of Values by appeal to the North Carolina State Property Tax Commission. Once the Board acts to adopt the schedule, a series of four newspaper notices must be published stating that the Schedule of Values has been adopted and that property owners have 30 days from the date of the first publication to challenge the Schedule of Values by appeal to the North Carolina State Property Tax Commission on grounds that the Schedule of Values does not adhere to the appropriate statutory valuation standard (that it will produce values that are too high, too low, or inconsistent). The North Carolina State Property Tax Commission has the power to order the Board of Commissioners to revise the Schedule of Values if they do not adhere to the statutory valuation standard. The North Carolina State Property Tax Commission’s decision may be appealed to the North Carolina Court of Appeals. Assuming an October 20, 2014, adoption, property owners will have until Wednesday, November 19, 2014, to challenge the Schedule of Values.
OTHER ITEMS OF BUSINESS
The Board’s first goal read, “Prepare a Fiscal Year 2013/14 budget which provides needed County services within available revenues, including no property tax increase, ensuring that the County addresses its short term needs while planning for long term growth, and maintaining the Board of Commissioners’ policy of two months of operating expenses.” The Board’s FY 2013/14 budget kept the property tax rate stable at 53 cents per $100 of property valuation (eighth lowest among North Carolina’s urban counties and 28th lowest among all 100 counties), the seventh consecutive year without a property tax increase.
The Board’s second goal read “In partnership with the private sector, support a coordinated effort to create jobs and property tax base by investing in infrastructure, the development of the County’s quality of place, and educational opportunities.” In FY 2013/14, the County extended the Old Shelby Road water line, improving quality of life by bringing water to 131 people in 63 households. The Board adopted a resolution in support of the completion of the Highway 16 widening project and maintaining project funding. The Board defined solar farms, setting specific standards that protect the community’s aesthetics while preserving property owners’ rights to use their property as they deem fit. And the Board partnered with the City of Claremont and EDC Committee of 100 in the development of a shell manufacturing building.
The Board also entered into an Economic Development Agreement with HSM Solutions and the State for expansion of several HSM facilities in the County, creating 162 new jobs and a target investment of $3.3 million in the facilities and equipment. The Board entered into an Economic Development Agreement with GKN Driveline and OHM Holdings for expansion of existing industry, creating 278 new jobs and ensuring that GKN Driveline remains in the county, with guarantees of $130 million in investment construction and personal property. And the Board continued support of the Chamber’s Edison Project recognizing creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. In the County FY 2014/15 budget, adopted in June 2014, the Board allocated funds for Innovate Catawba, supporting the initiative to keep young people in Catawba County and ensuring the community has jobs for them.
Under this goal, the Board also approved a LEED certified design for a new Sherrills Ford-Terrell Library, which opened on September 29, 2014; awarded a bid for the Justice Center/Public Safety Expansion Project, which will provide much needed space for court services, 911 Communications and an Emergency Operations Center; and finalized construction of a new County Animal Shelter, which opened on June 26, 2014.
The Board’s third goal read, “Review recommendations of the Food and Farm Sustainability Committee and work to implement strategies consistent with the County’s area of responsibilities.” Strategies and actions that are on schedule include the Public Health’s Farmers Market, which continued for a second year with a goal, in partnership with the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program, to improve individual and community health by increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Steps toward this goal also include the successful Eat, Drink & Be Local Event with farm tours, gardening and cooking classes, a local foods feast, local beer and wine tasting and local restaurants featuring local foods. And, in March 2014, the Board adopted an ordinance to ensure the County’s definition of a bona fide farm was consistent with North Carolina General Statutes, with local farmers in support of this amendment.
CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER 465-8464
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