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April 18, 2005

AGENDA 

Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting 
Monday, April 18, 2005, 7 p.m. 

Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room, 1924 Courthouse 
30 North College Avenue, Newton, NC 28658
 
1.    Call to Order.

2.    Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.

3.    Invocation.

4.    Approval of Minutes from the Regular Meeting of April 4, 2005.

5.    Recognition of Special Guests.

6.    Public Comment for items not on the agenda.

7.    Presentations:
Commendation for Catawba County Planning Board Member Michael Miller. Presented by Jacky Eubanks, Planning Director.
8.    Public Hearings:
A.    Request to rezone a 1.79 parcel from R-2 Residential District to C-1 Commercial District at 5960 North NC 16 Hwy in the St. Stephens/Oxford Small Area Planning District, Clines Township. Presented by Rich Hoffman, Planner, Planning & Development.

B.    Request to rezone approximately 3 acres from R-2 Residential District to a PD-SC(N) Planned Development-Shopping Center Neighborhood District at the intersection of Hwy 150 and Marshall Road in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District, Mountain Creek Township.  Presented by Rich Hoffman, Planner, Planning & Development.

C.    Catawba County Erosion and Sedimentation Local Control Ordinance.  Presented by Barry B. Edwards, PE, Utilities and Engineering Director and Toni Norton, PE, Water Resources Engineer.
9.    Appointments.

10.    Consent Agenda:
Tax Refund Request
11.    Departmental Reports:
A.    Budget:
1.    Funding Plan for DJJDP/JCPC for Fiscal Year 2005/2006.  Presenter Ronn Abernathy, Chairperson, Catawba County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council.
2.    Transfer of funds for Hickory City Schools in the amount of $111,200 to complete renovations to the auto mechanics classroom addition at Hickory High School.  Presenter Dr. Duane H. Kirkman, Superintendent, Hickory City Schools and Judy V. Ikerd, Budget Manager.
3.  Bid awards for Tuttle Middle School conversion.  Presenter Dr. Ann Hart, Superintendent, Catawba County Schools and Rodney Miller, Finance Director.
B.    Planning:
Adoption of the Assistance Policy for the 2005 Urgent Repair Program. Presenter Jacky Eubanks, Planning Director.
12.    Attorneys’ Report.
Subdivision of Justice Center property in conjunction with the Catawba County Jail Expansion and Renovation Project.
13.    Manager’s Report.

14.    Other items of business.

15.    Adjournment.

PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Individuals needing assistance should contact the County Clerk at 465-8990 within a reasonable time prior to the meeting. A telecommunication device for the deaf (TDD) is located in the Government Center and can be reached by dialing 465﷓8200. 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 Board of Commissioners Jobs and Business Creation meeting will take place following the 8:30 a.m. subcommittee meeting on April 25, 2005.  Board of Commissioners meetings for May will take place on Monday, May 2, 2005 at 9:30 a.m. and Monday, May 16, 2005 at 7:00 p.m.


PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, APRIL 18, 2005, 7 P.M.
ROBERT E. HIBBITTS MEETING ROOM
1924 COURTHOUSE, NEWTON, N.C.

The Catawba County Board of Commissioners will hold public hearings on 1) a proposal for the County to begin Local Sedimentation and Erosion Control effective July 1, 2005, which would result in County staff reviewing sedimentation and erosion control plans when such a plan is required, and speed up the process for plan approval; 2) a request to rezone a 1.79 acre tract at 5960 Highway 16 North from the R-2 Residential District to the C-1 Commercial District; and 3) a request to rezone an approximate 3 acre parcel at 8226 Highway 150 East (at the intersection of Highway 150 and Marshall Road) from the R-2 Residential District to the Planned Development-Shopping Center Neighborhood District, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 18, 2005, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room of the 1924 Courthouse in Newton. 

The Board will also consider a transfer of funds already budgeted for the Hickory Public Schools, needed to complete renovations to an auto mechanics classroom addition at Hickory High School; a transfer of funds already budgeted for the Catawba County School System needed to complete the conversion of Tuttle Middle School into an elementary school; a funding plan for the Catawba County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council; an Assistance Policy to be used to implement the 2005 Urgent Repair Program in Catawba County; a proposed subdivision of Justice Center property, with the new parcel to be used as collateral for financing of an expansion of the County jail;  and a set of tax refunds.  The Board will also present a Certificate of Commendation to Mr. Michael Miller, in recognition of his 24 years of service on the Catawba County Planning Board.

PRESENTATIONS
A.   The Board will issue a Distinguished Public Service Award to Mr. Michael Miller, in recognition of his service on the Catawba County Planning Board from December 1980 until December 2004.  During his tenure, the Planning Board accomplished the initial street naming of county roads, enhanced the 911 program with assigned house numbers, improved subdivisions with the requirement of paved subdivision roads, enacted a new zoning ordinance which set higher development standards in the county, created a comprehensive land development plan and a strategic growth plan which resulted in the adoption of five small area plans, and enhanced economic development in the county.  Mr. Miller also brought his personal expertise as a volunteer firefighter to the Board's review and analysis of circulation patterns within new developments, which resulted in plans which contained clear routes for rescue service vehicles.

PUBLIC HEARINGS
A.  The Board will hold a public hearing on a request of Mr. Bobby Little to rezone a 1.79 acre parcel, located at 5960 Highway 16 North, from the R-2 Residential District to the C-1 Commercial District.  The C-1 commercial district is intended to provide land for the sale of convenience goods and limited personal services to residents of the immediate neighborhood.  These districts shall be located at intervals of at least one mile along arterial and collector streets, preferably at intersections.  Parcels immediately to the south and west of this parcel are presently zoned C-1 and C-2 and include a grill and auto repair shop.  Properties to the north and east are zoned R-2 Residential, although one parcel to the east is zoned E-2 Industrial and is developed with an auto salvage yard. 

Highway 16 is designated as a "Major Thoroughfare" by the Hickory-Newton-Conover Urban Area Transportation Plan.  Major Thoroughfares are defined as primary traffic arteries for urban areas.  Their purpose is to move traffic from city to city and within urban areas, so strip development and multiple driveway access is to be discouraged.  The St. Stephens/Oxford Small Area Plan serves as the current land use plan for this area.  This plan identifies the intersection of Springs Road and Highway 16 as a Rural Commercial node equivalent to uses allowed in the C-1 districts.  Staff recommended the rezoning, based on 1) the request's conformance with the St. Stephens/Oxford Small Area Plan, which recommended this area as a Rural Commercial node; 2) the parcel's relationship to the surrounding properties which are zoned commercial; and 3) the intent of the C-1 District.  

The Catawba County Planning Board conducted a public hearing on March 28, 2005.  Only one person spoke, the owner of the property, Mr. Bobby Little, who spoke in favor of the request.  The Planning Board unanimously recommended the rezoning be approved.

B.  The Board will hold a public hearing on a request of Mr. Jon Gregorian to rezone an approximately 3 acre parcel, located in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District at 8225 Highway 150 East, from the R-2 Residential District to a Planned Development-Shopping Center Neighborhood {PD-SC(N)} District.  PD-SC(N) districts are intended to provide for the comfort and convenience of residents and facilitate protection of the character of surrounding neighborhoods.  They are intended to accomplish the purposes of zoning and other applicable regulations to an equivalent or higher degree than could occur from unscheduled developments on individual lots.  The uses in PD-SC(N) districts are intended to provide for the sale of convenience goods, the provision of personal services, and other frequent needs of a trade area with a population of 1,000 to 4,000 people, and within approximately one to ten minutes’ driving time.    Properties north of Highway 150 are zoned E-2 Intensive Manufacturing and contain the Duke Power Marshall Steam Station.  The property immediately to the west is zoned R-2 Residential and contains a single family home.  The intersection of Highway 150 and Sherrills Ford Road, approximately a half mile to the east, contains small-scale commercial zoning.  Properties to the east and south along Highway 150 are zoned R-1, R-2 and R-3 Residential.  

Highway 150 is designated as a minor arterial, which, in conjunction with the principal arterial system, forms a network that links cities, larger towns, and other major traffic generators.  The Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan serves as the current land use plan for this area.  The plan recommends this area as a "village with mixed uses".  Staff recommended the rezoning be approved, based on 1) the request's conformance with the Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan; 2) its conformance with the standards associated with a Mixed-Use Corridor Overlay zone approved by the Board of Commissioners for this area on November 17, 2003; 3) the intent of the Planned Development District; and 4) the submitted site plan's predictability as to design, uses and physical improvements.  
The Catawba County Planning Board conducted a public hearing on March 28, 2005.  One person, representing the developer, spoke in favor of the request.  The Planning Board unanimously recommended approval of the rezoning.

C.   The Board will hold the first of two required public hearings on the proposed adoption of a Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Ordinance.  At a work session on issues related to the environment on March 21, 2005, the Board voted to ask staff to proceed with plans to establish a local sedimentation and erosion control program, effective July 1, 2005, and to set a first public hearing for this meeting.  Following the two public hearings, the Board will consider officially establishing the program, effective July 1, 2005.  The need for a local erosion control program was identified by the FORESIGHT Committee; during the process of the 2003 Building Services Division merger with the City of Hickory; during the Board's goal setting process; and through comments from citizens. On November 15, 2004, the Board approved a draft Erosion and Sedimentation Control Program Ordinance and subsequent application for State approval of that ordinance.

Currently, the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources issues sedimentation and erosion control permits, which can take up to 90 days for approval. Under the proposed ordinance, plans and permits will be processed at Catawba County’s two permit centers, at the Government Center in Newton and at Hickory City Hall.  Staff anticipates being able to review erosion control plans within 10 days of submittal.

Under the proposed ordinance, the County would have rules that mirror the State’s restrictions. Catawba County would only require a formal plan when there is a disturbance of one acre or more. The proposed fees are based on what the program would cost if it were to "pay for itself", without the use of additional tax revenues.  A $200 plan review fee, and $150 fee per disturbed acre thereafter, is proposed in the fee schedule.  Since there is an express plan review option already in place, erosion and sedimentation control plan review and permitting would become part of the existing process at no additional hourly charge.  However, the County would offer the option of Erosion Control Express Plan Review alone, at a charge of $97.50 per hour, with the initial $200 fee for the first acre reduced to $150 per acre. There would also be a re-inspection fee of $125 for cases of non-compliance. In cases where a land disturbance of less than one acre results in a citizen complaint, then there would be a project management fee of $50.  Circumstances defined under the law as "acts of God", farming and lumber are not covered under this law.

Catawba County is willing to provide erosion and sedimentation control to each of the county's municipalities, and has extended an offer to contract with the municipalities for enforcement services within their corporate limits.  The City of Newton currently has its own program in place.  Staff recommends the Board hold the first of two required public hearings at this meeting, in order to receive citizen input on the proposed ordinance, with the second public hearing to be held on Monday, May 7, 2005, at 9:30 a.m. also at the 1924 Courthouse in Newton.
 
CONSENT AGENDA
A.  The Board will consider a tax refund request totaling $32.90.  Records have been checked and these refunds verified, so the Tax Collector recommends approval.  Under North Carolina General Statute 105-381, a taxpayer who has paid his or her taxes may request a refund in writing for an amount paid through error.

DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS

BUDGET

1.  The Board will consider a request from the Catawba County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council (JCPC) to approve a funding plan for the JCPC for fiscal year 2005-2006.  The Catawba County JCPC will receive a total of $346,650 from the State in the next fiscal year, the same amount received by Catawba County for the current fiscal year.  The recommended funding plan is consistent with the needs of the county, as identified by an assessment of current services conduced by the JCPC, which determined a need for additional structured activities which would help prevent youth involvement in the juvenile justice system.  Due to this need, the JCPC agreed it is necessary to fund an additional program to fill this gap in services.  Because there are no additional funds in the 2005-2006 JCPC budget; the JCPC recommends a 3% reduction in funding for currently funded programs receiving greater than $20,000, to fund this additional program.

The Catawba County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council, at its March 15, 2005 meeting, recommended approval of the following funding plan: JCPC Administrative, $8,700; Catawba Parenting Network, $12,950; Corner House I & II, $185,000; Conflict Resolution Center,$21,000; Project Challenge, $53,000; DSS/Family NET - Psychiatric Services, $43,000; and the Cognitive Connection – Substance Abuse Services, $23,000, for the total of $346,650.

The Board's Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends approval of the funding plan for the JCPC for fiscal year 2005-2006 in the total amount of $346,650.

2.  The Board will consider a request from the Hickory Public Schools' Board of Education for the transfer of funds already budgeted to the Hickory Public Schools to complete renovations to an auto mechanics classroom addition at Hickory High School.   The Hickory Public School System purchased the former Hickory American Legion building and property in 2002, in order to expand the Hickory High School campus.  In the current year's budget, $329,000 was appropriated in the school system’s capital outlay budget to relocate the auto mechanics classroom from the main high school building to the former American Legion building.  Bids have been received on the project, with the low bid exceeding the approved budget by $81,200.  In addition, $30,0000 is needed for fees, inspections and contingency, bringing the total needed to complete the project to $111,200.  The budget for a renovation project at the former College Park Middle School building, a 1997 school bond project, has approximately $241,000 remaining, and this transfer would leave a balance in that project of $129,800.  The Board's Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the approval of a budget transfer in the amount of $111,200 from the College Park renovation project to the classroom addition at Hickory High School.

3.  The Board will consider a request from the Catawba County Board of Education for the transfer of funds from existing school capital project funds to a project to convert Tuttle Middle School to an elementary school, with the understanding that the funds are no longer needed for the projects for which they were originally appropriated.   In Catawba County's fiscal year 2003-2004 budget, two cents of the tax rate was dedicated to fund school construction projects over the next four years.  Part of the funding plan included the expansion and conversion of the existing C.H. Tuttle Middle School to a 700 student capacity elementary school for the Maiden and Bandys districts.  Funds in the amount of $3.1 million were originally allocated by the Board of Commissioners toward this project and some minor renovations at the existing Maiden High School, which would be converted to a middle school.  At the request of Catawba County Schools, this amount was reduced to $2.6 million last year as a result of higher than expected costs for the new Maiden High School.  Bids were received by the County Schools for both conversion projects in March 2005, totaling $4.3 million. Due to this overage, the Catawba County Board of Education has decided to postpone the Maiden High conversion, but move forward with the Tuttle Middle School project.  Bids for this project, with several alternates, amounted to $3.4 million.  The Catawba County  Board of Education approved a request to fund the base bid only, at a cost of $3,058,019, on April 11, 2005.

In the County's 2004-05 budget, the Board of Commissioners approved funding for three projects for Catawba County Schools: $627,000 for roofing needs at the central office, St. Stephens High, Arndt Middle, Murray Elementary and Balls Creek Elementary Schools; $37,100 for a wash pit and truck at the garage and $36,461 for a sprinkler system for the maintenance department. The roofing bids were much lower than expected, leaving $173,244 available for transfer.  Catawba County Schools has agreed to forego the other two projects for the foreseeable future and use those funds for the Tuttle Middle School project.   The total available funding for these three projects amounts to $246,805, to be added to the $2.6 million the Board of Commissioners has already approved for the project.  The balance of funds to complete the project will come from Catawba County Schools. Staff recommends the Board of Commissioners approve the request for the transfer of funds, with the understanding that funds are no longer needed for the projects originally budgeted, and with the further understanding that additional funds for the Tuttle Middle School or Maiden High School conversion projects may not be funded in the County's fiscal year 2005/06 budget.

PLANNING
The Board will consider adopting an Assistance Policy for the County's 2005 Urgent Repair Program.  Catawba County has been awarded $50,000 from the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency (NCHFA), to fund the Catawba County Urgent Repair Program for 2005.  The program provides urgent repairs to homes across the county, including all municipalities except the City of Hickory, which has its own Urgent Repair Program.  The program makes repairs to unsafe or life threatening conditions to the homes of persons with either very low or low household income, mostly persons aged 62 and older and those with disabilities.  These funds will pay for repairs to approximately fifteen homes.  The County's original grant request was for $75,000 for twenty-two units.  The City of Hickory also submitted an application for $75,000 and the NCHFA decided to fund both applications, in the same region, at a level of $50,000 to each. The Finance & Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board adopt the proposed Assistance Policy for the 2005 Urgent Repair Program.

ATTORNEY'S REPORT
The Board will consider authorizing its chairperson to execute a deed subdividing a 16.212 acre parcel surrounding the Justice Center, with the newly created parcel to serve as independent collateral to the Certificates of Participation (COPs) financing issued in conjunction with the Catawba County Jail Expansion and Renovation Project.  In the County's FY 2003-04 budget, the Board began dedicating ½ cent of the tax rate annually to pay debt service on an expansion of the County’s jail facility, which has experienced severe overcrowding over the last several years.  The County is presently housing an average of over 60 prisoners more than the 89-bed capacity of the facility, per day.  A study of the future prison population has indicated the County will need 376 beds by the year 2025.  The expansion will relieve overcrowding by adding an additional 176 beds and approximately 75,000 square feet.

As a part of the jail expansion project, the County will issue Certificates of Participation which will be secured by a Deed of Trust on the Justice Center complex, including the newly constructed and renovated jail.  In order to properly secure the required Deed of Trust, the County must subdivide an approximately 16.212 acre tract immediately surrounding the Justice Center from the remainder of the County property consisting of approximately 111.05 acres at the intersection of Radio Station Road and Highway 321.