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May 16, 2005

AGENDA 

Catawba County Board of Commissioners Meeting 
Monday, May 16, 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 May 2, 2005.

5.    Recognition of Special Guests.

6.    Public Comment for items not on the agenda.

7.    Presentations:
A.    Emergency Medical Services Week Proclamation presented to David Weldon, Emergency Services Director.

B.    Foster Care Month Proclamation presented to Jane Siers, Social Work Program Manager.

C.    National Cancer Survivor Day Proclamation presented to Gary Skinner, Cancer Survivor.
8.    Public Hearings.
A. Naming of un-named roads in the following townships:  Caldwell, Clines, Catawba, Hickory, Newton, Bandy’s and Jacobs Fork. Presented by Michelle Deese, GIS Coordinator.

B.    Rezoning request from Aspen Properties to rezone 3 contiguous parcels totaling approximately 25 acres from the C-2 Commercial District to a PD-MU Planned Development-Mixed Use District. The properties are located in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District at the intersection of Island Point Road and Norfolk Southern Railroad in the Mountain Creek Township. Presented by Jacky Eubanks, Planning Director.

C.    Proposed ordinance for the establishment of a Voluntary Agricultural District Program and an agricultural advisory board. Presented by Jacky Eubanks, Planning Director.
9.    Appointments.

10.    Consent Agenda:
A.    Four Tax Refund Requests for Robert Beard, Joshua Chapman, Pinnacle Foods, Inc. and Poteat Motor Lines, Inc.

B.    Supplemental Appropriation of Funds for the Implementation of the North Carolina Hospital Bioterrorism
Preparedness Grant (HRSA) FFY 2004-05 awarded to Catawba County Emergency Medical Services.

C.    Supplemental Appropriation NC Disaster Relief Fund – Phase II.

D.    Amendment to 2005 Board of Commissioners Meeting Schedule   
11.    Departmental Reports:
Utilities and Engineering:

1.  Design and Engineering Contract Award – Gregory Woods Products Sewer and Pump Station Project. Presenter Barry B. Edwards, P.E., Utitilies and Engineering Director.

2.    Initial Report on May 7, 2005 Household Hazardous Waste and Electronics Collection Event. Presenter Barry B. Edwards, Director of Utilities and Engineering and Jack I. Chandler, Public Services Administrator.

3.    Consideration for “A Resolution in Support” on behalf of SEQL’s (Sustainable Environment for Quality of Life) efforts in promoting sound environmental planning principles.  Presented by Jacky Eubanks, Director of Planning & Parks.

12.    Attorneys’ Report.

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 next Board of Commissioners meeting will take place at 9:30 a.m. on June 6, 2005.  Budget  Hearings with Departments will take place on Monday, June 13, 2005 and Budget Public Hearing and Wrap Up will take place at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14, 2005.  On Monday, June 20, 2005, the Board of Commissioners will hold a joint meeting with Newton, Conover and Maiden Councils at the Government Center from 4:30-6:30 p.m., with their regular meeting and budget adoption to follow at 7:00 p.m.

PREVIEW OF COUNTY COMMISSION AGENDA
MONDAY, MAY 16, 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) the establishment of a proposed Voluntary Agricultural District to encourage the preservation of farm land in Catawba County; 2) the rezoning of approximately 25 acres at the intersection of Island Point Road and Norfolk Southern Railroad from C-2 Commercial to the Planned Development-Mixed Use District; and 3) the naming of several un-named roads in the Bandys, Caldwell, Clines, Catawba, Hickory, Jacobs Fork and Newton Townships, when the Board meets at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 16, 2005, in the Robert E. Hibbitts Meeting Room of the 1924 Courthouse in Newton. 

The Board will also consider awarding a bid for design and engineering of a sewer and pump station system to serve the  Gregory Wood Products facility that will bring more than 100 jobs to the county; receive a report on the May 7 Household Hazardous Waste Collection Day, which had the second highest turnout of any collection in County history; consider a set of tax refunds; a change in the location of the Board's June 20 joint meeting with the Conover, Newton and Maiden City Councils to Conover City Hall; the acceptance of a State grant for the purchase of personal protective equipment, portable or fixed decontamination systems and education and training to help emergency workers be better prepared to meet a threat from bioterrorism; acceptance of a State grant to assist Catawba County residents who suffered damage from 2004 tropical storms; and a resolution in support of Sustainable Environment for Quality of Life efforts to promote sound environmental planning in the 15-county Charlotte Metro region.  The Board will also issue proclamations declaring May as Foster Care Month, the week of May 15-21 as Emergency Medical Services Week and June 4 as National Cancer Survivor's Day.

PRESENTATIONS
A.  The Board will issue a proclamation declaring the week of May 15-21 as Emergency Medical Services Week, to
note the vital public services provided by EMS.  Catawba County emergency medical service teams are ready to provide lifesaving care to those in need 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  EMS providers serve as a safety net for America's health care system.  Catawba County residents benefit from the knowledge and skills of these highly trained individuals.

B.  The Board will issue a proclamation declaring May as Foster Care Month in Catawba County to recognize that foster families are providing children with a safe, secure and stable home along with the compassion and nurturing of a foster family; that foster families help launch children into successful adulthood; and that there are numerous individuals and both public and private organizations working to increase public awareness of the needs of children while they are in foster care and as they are leaving care, as well as the enduring and valuable contribution of foster parents.

C.  The Board will issue a proclamation declaring Saturday, June 4 as National Cancer Survivors Day in Catawba County, to recognize success stories of cancer survivors currently living in Catawba County and encourage the public to learn more about ways to prevent and survive cancer.

PUBLIC HEARINGS
A.  The Board will hold a public hearing on a proposed set of names for un-named streets.  The goal of the County’s E-911 Office is to assign E-911 numbers to all dwellings located in Catawba County to insure emergency vehicles are able to find properties in times of emergency.  One step toward this goal is to name streets or driveways which are at least 1200 feet in length and/or access three or more parcels.  In the Bandys Township, an un-named street has been identified off Spurgeons Road.  The suggestion of Donalds Drive was received from two residents and endorsed by a third person.  Two un-named streets have been identified in Caldwell Township.  The first is located off Anderson Mountain Road.  One resident suggested the name Lanaska Lane. The second is off Providence Mill Road.  A suggested name of Natural Knit Drive was made by Mr. John Bernard Parker, who owned and operated Natural Knit Fabrics before its closing.  In the Catawba Township, an un-named street has been identified off Boggs Road.  The name Wades Drive was suggested by a nearby property owner.  In the Clines Township, an un-named street off Stafford Street has been identified.  Several nearby property owners suggested the name Rabbit Crossing Lane.  In the Hickory Township, an unnamed street off Mountain Grove Road has been identified.  One nearby property owner suggested the name Lillian Lane.  In the Jacobs Fork Township, two unnamed streets have been identified.  The first is located off Whitener Road and a nearby property owner suggested the name Marantha Drive.  The second is off Grace Church Road.  The property owner requested the name Glady Lane.  For an unnamed street off Robinson Road in the Newton Township, the property owner suggested the name Stellar Way on behalf of other nearby property owners.  Another resident suggested the name "Muster Field", but said he would agree with the other property owners if they chose another name.   Since none of these names are duplicated elsewhere in the county and since no other names were suggested in all but one case, staff recommended these names be approved.  The Catawba County Planning Board conducted a public hearing on April 25, 2005.  There was no opposition to these proposed names, and the Planning Board unanimously recommends they be approved.

B. The Board will hold a public hearing on a request of Aspen Properties to rezone 3 contiguous parcels, totaling approximately 25 acres, at the intersection of Island Point Road and the Norfolk Southern Railway in the Sherrills Ford Small Area Planning District, from the C-1 Commercial District to a Planned Development-Mixed Use (PD-MU) District. PD-MU districts are intended for specialized purposes where tracts, suitable in location, area, and character for the uses and structures proposed, are to be planned and developed on a unified basis.  Consideration is given to the existing and prospective character of surrounding development and the adopted land use plan in an area.  Adjoining properties to the north are zoned residentially, while property a half mile to the north is zoned in the E-1 Light Manufacturing District. Parcels to the east are vacant and zoned in the E-2 Intensive Manufacturing District.  Properties to the south are zoned R-2 Residential.  Properties immediately to the west are separated by the railroad tracks and zoned R-2 Residential. There is a public water line available fronting the parcel along Island Point Road.  Public sewer is not available. 

Island Point Road is not classified on the Catawba County Thoroughfare Plan and therefore is considered a secondary road.  The pavement width of 22 feet is similar to a road designed to handle 12,000 – 14,000 Average Daily Trips (ADT). Current traffic counts show 750 ADT along Island Point Road near the Sherrills Ford Road intersection.  The Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan serves as the current land use plan for this area.  The plan recognized the existing industrial zoning classification of the area and did not speak to the issue of downzoning to PD-MU and other zones.  Staff recommended the rezoning due to 1) its conformance with the Sherrills Ford Small Area Plan Committee supporting the request for a commercial district; 2) the current zoning and land uses of the area; 3) the intent of the PD-MU District; 4) access to public water and 5) the submitted site plan providing predictability as to design, uses and physical improvements.  The Catawba County Planning Board conducted a public hearing on April 25, 2005.  One person, Mr. Bill Graves, who owns the property, spoke in favor of the request.  The Planning Board unanimously recommended approval of the rezoning.

C.   The Board will conduct a public hearing on a proposed ordinance to establish a Voluntary Agricultural District program and Agricultural Advisory Board in Catawba County.  The North Carolina Farmland Preservation Enabling Act of 1985 authorized counties to establish programs to encourage the preservation of farmland.  One such program is the establishment of protected farm areas called “voluntary agricultural districts.”  The establishment of agricultural districts would provide farmers a series of benefits, so long as the farmer was willing to restrict non-farming development on property included in the district for ten years.  The program also allows for creation of an Agricultural Advisory Board, with appointments made to this board by the Board of Commissioners, to review applications for the district and make recommendations to other boards on farming-related issues. 

The concept of a county voluntary agricultural district ordinance was identified in Catawba County’s Strategic Growth Plan of 1996.  The Balls Creek, Catawba, and Sherrills Ford Small Area Plans also recommend the establishment of a county voluntary agricultural district program.  Forty-three North Carolina counties currently have a voluntary agricultural district ordinance, including the surrounding counties of Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Iredell and Lincoln. 

If approved, the ordinance would be free-standing and not part of the County's Zoning or Subdivision Regulations; therefore, it would be applicable in the unincorporated area of the county, outside of city limits.  Providing public notice of proximity to designated agricultural districts is a key component of the program, and would be noted in the following ways:  the County's Geographic Information System would note all properties within a half mile of a designated district.  Signs will be posted along the roadside of farms in a designated district.  Maps would be prepared showing locations of designated districts, and  located in offices or agencies which involve real estate transactions or farming-related interests such as the Register of Deeds Office, County Planning Office, County Permit Centers, Cooperative Extension Service and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS).

Qualifications for a farm to be designated in a district include: a minimum 20 acres for a single farm or  combined acreage of 20 acres for two farms located within one mile of each other; participation in or qualification for the farm present-use value taxation program; certification by the NRCS that the land is suitable for farming; management in accordance with NRCS defined erosion-control practices, if highly-erodible soils exist; and that the property be the subject of an agreement which prohibits non-farm uses for 10 years.  A farmer would be allowed to create up to three new lots, which would have to meet the County’s zoning and subdivision regulations.  The agreement could be revoked at the request of the property owner at any time, however the property would then be removed from the agricultural district.  These standards, with the exception of the minimum acreage requirement, are based on North Carolina General Statutes and so could not be changed.

In early 2002, an informal committee of farmers and others involved in farming interests was convened to review a model State voluntary agricultural district ordinance and find ways to apply it in Catawba County.  This committee reviewed the proposed ordinance and recommended it to the County Planning Board and Board of Commissioners, including a provision for public hearings before the Agricultural Advisory Board regarding the condemnation of agricultural district land, which the committee felt was important to give property owners a mechanism for their comments to be heard. 

The Catawba County Planning Board conducted a public hearing on the proposed ordinance at its April 25, 2005 meeting.  Four persons spoke regarding the proposed ordinance, all of whom expressed support for the ordinance.  One speaker, Howard Reinhardt, a Farm Bureau representative and farmer, also expressed support for the condemnation section. The Planning Board voted unanimously to recommend approval of the ordinance (including the condemnation provision). 

The County's Legal and Planning staffs have recommended the condemnation section be removed because condemnation is only used when the County or other entity has no other option and there is a compelling reasons to do so that clearly represents the public interest; condemnation involves a negotiation between private individual(s) and the public entity in a process clearly spelled out in the North Carolina General Statues; and because the results of the condemnation process are disclosed in a public forum where the public has an opportunity to comment.  County Attorney Robert Eades is expected to follow a staff report on the proposed district with a report to the Board on these concerns. 
 
CONSENT AGENDA
A.  The Board will consider four tax refund requests totaling $103.38.  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.

B.  The Board will consider the appropriation of $29,384.88 to implement a North Carolina Hospital Bioterrorism Preparedness Grant awarded to Catawba County Emergency Medical Services by the North Carolina Office of Emergency Medical Services (OEMS), which will reimburse the County once all conditions of the grant have been met.  In 2002, OEMS was directed to create a statewide EMS needs assessment and assist in the development of Regional Disaster Response Plans.  OEMS has determined that, during fiscal year 2004-2005, the following critical benchmarks must be addressed: mutual aid; deployment of extra health care professional resources and affiliation with a regional advisory committee; surveillance and patient tracking; an advanced registration system; and a terrorism preparedness exercise.  Catawba County EMS has either already addressed each of these or is in the process of addressing them with no need for additional funds.  OEMS established other benchmarks that may be addressed including: pharmaceutical caches; mental health, communications and information technology; personal protective equipment; portable or fixed decontamination systems; and education and preparedness training.  Catawba County EMS has already addressed many of these and has determined the most appropriate use of this grant funding would be to support a State Medical Assistance Team (SMAT) with equipment and supplies related to personal protective equipment, portable decontamination systems, and training equipment. These teams were created by the State to perform mass decontamination of individuals in the event of incidents involving Weapons of Mass Destruction. The County was granted one of these teams which could be used in any mass decontamination situation, such as hazardous materials incidents
 
Staff recommends that $19,896.72 from this grant be used to purchase powered air purifying systems to be used in an area where the air was contaminated; for hoods, filters, gloves, boots, vests and suits used with these systems, and for training on the systems.  $4152.55 from the grant would be used to purchase disaster triage tags and a HeatPac 25 system, which provides warm air in a decontamination tent previously purchased by the County.  $3386.50 would be used to purchase Tychem Suits that provide splash protection against many inorganic acids, bases and other chemicals, chemical gloves, duct tape, and manuals for SMAT training classes on the use of the suits.   The remaining $1949.11 would be used to purchase a unit to carry patients into the decontamination tent when necessary.  The Board's Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board approve this appropriation of $29,384.88, to be reimbursed by the State grant.

C.  The Board will consider the appropriation of $5810.73 to implement Phase II of the State of North Carolina's Disaster Relief Fund. As a result of damage from tropical storms which moved through Catawba County in 2004, the County has received an additional $5810.73 from the NC Disaster Relief Fund, to be utilized by victims who have no flood insurance or who have not yet received reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  The State has placed a cap of $2000 per household on these funds.  Staff proposes the funds be used to assist persons in the Carpenter's Cove area of Lake Lookout, which had the most serious damage from these storms.  County staff has spent considerable time in this area since the storms occurred, and has identified all households which suffered damage.  One household has already received some FEMA funds.  Four other households have since requested assistance.  The remaining homes in the area either are covered by flood insurance or are secondary homes for the owners, who have indicated they will handle any damage on their own.  The Finance and Personnel Subcommittee recommends the Board approve this appropriation.

D.  The Board will consider a change in the location of its joint meeting with the Newton City Council, Conover City Council, and Maiden Town Council, scheduled for Monday, June 20, from the Government Center in Newton to the Conover City Council Chambers. 
 
DEPARTMENTAL REPORTS

UTILITIES AND ENGINEERING

1.  The Board will consider awarding a contract for design and engineering of a sewer line and pump station extension to serve Gregory Woods Products.  On December 1, 2003, the Board approved a Joint Economic Development Agreement between Gregory Wood Products and Catawba County.   Gregory Wood Products has built a dimensional lumber facility on land adjacent to the Catawba County Landfill on Rocky Ford Road and expects to begin operations on June 1, 2005.  The facility is expected to bring up to 115 jobs to Catawba County. A United States Department of Commerce-Economic Development Administration grant, awarded to Catawba County in conjunction with the City of Newton in the amount of $697,243, will be used to help fund construction of the sewer line and pump station.

The County prepared a Request for Qualifications with a scope of services that included, but was not limited to, design, engineering, document preparation, bid opening and tabulation, construction on-site and field inspections, and obtaining all necessary approvals and permits.  Fourteen responses were reviewed by Catawba County and City of Newton staff. 

The City of Newton and Catawba County recommend that Camp Dresser and McKee (CDM) be awarded the contact for engineering and design services, based on the company's credentials, past work and services. CDM designed the City of Newton’s Highway 321 sewer pump station which this project will employ, developed Newton's water and sewer master plan, and is currently employed by Catawba County to assist in establishing a proposed Catawba County Eco-Complex which may include a solid waste bio-reactor landfill; bio-solids processing facility; resource recovery; electrical generation; heat energy and carbon dioxide generator; greenhouse operations; a fishery; kiln(s); bio-research and education, including edible fruits and vegetable, flowers, trees, shrubs and grasses; and a household hazardous waste collection and processing center.  The Board's Policy and Public Works Subcommittee recommends the Board award the engineering and design contract to Camp Dresser and McKee in the amount of $195,000.

2.  The Board will receive a preliminary report on the May 7, 2005 Household Hazardous Waste Collection at the Government Center in Newton.   This event included the County's first full-scale collection of a variety of used electronic equipment.  485 vehicles came to the event, representing 572 households.  This is the second highest number of vehicles recorded at any of the household hazardous waste collection events, which the County began in 2001.

3.  The Board will consider a resolution supporting the Sustainable Environment for Quality of Life (SEQL) efforts to promote sound environmental planning principles in a 15-county region surrounding the Greater Charlotte Metro.  Catawba County has participated in regional programs associated with the Voices and Choices program over the past five years.  This voluntary association has served the purpose of promoting sound planning, economic development, environmental and overall quality of life practices in the Greater Charlotte Region.  Many of the goals and issues addressed in the SEQL Program of Work are similar to those addressed by the Unifour Air Quality Committee.  Catawba County will benefit from association with SEQL by gaining knowledge and information about air quality, transportation, economic development, smart growth planning and other issues.  Staff recommends the Board approve this resolution.

CONTACT: DAVE HARDIN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER    465-8464