County Board of Commissioners met for a special called meeting at 7:00 p.m. in
the Commissioners' Meeting Room of the Historic Courthouse on
were: Chairman Bill Moyer, Vice-Chairman
Also present were: Public Information Officer Pam Brice, Finance Director J. Carey McLelland, PIO Intern Christina DeStefano, Planning Director Anthony Starr and Planner Autumn Radcliff.
CALL TO ORDER/WELCOME
Chairman Moyer called the meeting to order and welcomed all in attendance. The purpose of the meeting is a Public Hearing in regards to the Etowah and Horse Shoe Communities Draft Plan.
Commissioner McGrady made the motion that the Board go into public hearing for purposes of considering the Etowah and Horse Shoe Communities Plan. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Chairman Moyer stated that this is the Board’s opportunity to hear from the public in respect to the plan. We have heard from the committee, the Planning Board, and the Planning Department. He explained the process for addressing the Board, stating that the Clerk to the Board will identify the person who is first on the list and then will give the name of the next person who will speak so they can be ready. Each person will have three minutes to speak. When the timer beeps your time is up so please wrap up your comments at that time. He explained that this is a time for the public to make comments, not a time for dialogue. After the Board has heard from everyone that would like to speak, the public hearing will be closed and the Commissioners may or may not have discussions and/or take action with respect to what is heard.
Nancy Glowacki – Ms. Glowacki is the President
of the League of Women Voters (LWVHC) of
Bruce Bell – Mr. Bell has lived in Etowah his
entire life. He applauded the
Commissioners for taking an interest in the community and believes that this is
a good concept. It is a concept that is
good for all areas of the county. He is
unsure if the following items are needed in Etowah: a
3. Dave Lowles – Mr. Lowles lives in the County but not the Etowah district. He is the Chair of the Environmental Advisory Committee which has discussed this plan several times and voted unanimously to recommend that it be adopted. He pointed out a couple of things the committee continues to work on; prohibition of waterline extensions in rural areas, storm water regulations and steep slope issues.
4. David Hudelson – Mr. Hudelson lives in the Etowah district. He commended the Small Area Committee for a marvelous job of putting the plan together. He commended the Planning Commission for endorsing the plan unanimously. Mr. Hudelson is glad to see that the Commissioners saw fit to vote on the water issue announced in the paper the week prior. The issues with the plan that he is concerned with are water issues, particularly ground water and well water. It is very difficult to monitor ground water in the development in the high mountains according to the state hydrographic survey. He was gratified that the plan talks about the need to consolidate package plants; not only the ones that exist today but the ones which may be developed in the future. These package plants have a very high failure rate and when they do fail it is a threat to water quality. It is a superb plan and he hopes the Commissioners will see fit to approve it.
Marijane Pell – Ms. Pell lives in the Etowah
district. She feels that the Board is
moving in the right direction in some of their recent decisions. The public wants the Commissioners to protect
open spaces and water rights. The Etowah
/ Horse Shoe plan speaks to these issues and many more. It is a rural area and one that wants to stay
rural and undeveloped as possible. This
can be helped by adopting the land development act to implement the needs and
desires of this area. She would like the
steep slope rule changed to a lesser degree so that people in Etowah can only
build on slopes of 25% or less. She
believes that discussions were held in regards to consolidating waste water
treatment plants and hopes the Board will move forward with this. The current plant in Etowah has had several
overflows which of course impact Gash Creek which runs beside the
Chairman Moyer reminded the speakers to keep their comments to the Etowah / Horse Shoe Plan.
David Nicholson – Mr. Nicholson lives in the
Etowah district. He thanked the
Committee for all their hard work. The
community is fortunate that growth has slowed down across the county because of
the economic situation. Etowah will
continue to grown but not at the same rate we are used to. His main concern was the discussion of
7. Richard Freudenberger – Mr. Freudenberger does not reside in the Etowah district. He believes the plan is an excellent model for future plans and supports it especially with regard to the consolidation of the package plants into a more controllable single reliable system and the restriction of public water lines in the rural agricultural areas. The steep slope guidelines are critical as there is potential for mudslides, erosion and lack of control in weather situations. He is not concerned that this will stop development. He requested the Board vote in favor of the plan as it would be a positive plan for the future.
Angela Fernandini – Ms. Fernandini lives in the
Etowah district. She was in hope of the
plan being approved. In the section discussing
community facilities and services she felt that if major subdivisions are
coming in that would affect the school capacity the developers should be ready
to provide some of the funding for improvements. She did not feel that the parks or greenways
needed expanding and was against making a greenway on the railroad line. The water towel had been there for many years
and was part of their rural character and Ms. Fernandini did want to see this
changed. She felt that the
transportation issues covered in the plan should be left to the NCDOT. She was not in favor of the
David Weintraub – Mr. Weintraub does not live in
the Etowah district. He represents 50
members of ECO that do live in the Etowah district. He was impressed by the hard work of citizens
from the community to gather a plan that if implemented could go a long way
with protecting this communities rural character. In looking at a plan that develops open space
plans, restricts water line extensions, remediates the compromise of
watersheds, adopts storm water regulations, looks at waste water treatment and
steep slopes, and helps to promote sustainable agriculture, the County could
make some major headway in protecting its natural heritage. Several conditions mentioned have brought up
concern of the cost of implementation.
The NC State Department of Agriculture reports that farming brings in
$428 million per year to
10. Jeri Peterson – Ms. Peterson
lives in the Etowah district and is a member of the Etowah / Horse Shoe Small
Communities Planning Committee. The
study began eighteen months ago and a great deal of time was spent interviewing
people, looking at information from the planning staff and other sources to
develop the plan. There is an
overwhelming concern by the community about growth predicted. The committee feels that the plan is a
sensible approach for future growth. The
committee understands the concern about money for some of the recommendations
made and some may have to be put on the back burner. Some of the plans however can be done
immediately because they feel that there may be development, even though
stalled at this time by the economy that could affect the community
immediately. She spoke in regards to
possible development on
11. Jerry Merrill – Mr. Merrill
lives in the Etowah district. He
questioned what would slow the rapid growth in
12. Phil Alexander – Mr. Alexander
does not live in the Etowah district. He
feels the plan is a very good start. He
would like to see a stop to the come-one, come-all policy of allowing
development to move into
Ms. Breckheimer does not live in the Etowah district. When guests come to visit they question the
names of local towns; Horse Shoe,
14. Richard Naylor – Mr. Naylor
does not live in the Etowah district. He
moved here because of the beauty of the area from
Close the Public Hearing
Commissioner McGrady made the motion for the Board to close the public hearing. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Chairman Moyer thanked Ken Allison and the committee for the tremendous amount of work that were put into this plan. He also thanked the residents of Etowah / Horse Shoe for their inputs. These are long difficult processes with ups and downs. Based on the plan seen so far a great product has been produced that is good for the area.
Commissioner McGrady supports the plan. He feels that portions of the plan may be reflective of the Etowah / Horse Shoe vision but are not our bailiwick like roads, etc. At the end of the process aside from adopting a plan, we may need to then look at a potential of putting into place an overlay district of some sort that would reflect the proposals Etowah / Horse Shoe are asking to have applied to their small portion of this county. He questioned when we might expect the implementation of recommendations within our bailiwick.
Chairman Moyer stated that the
Board would need to look at the plan section by section in order to determine
if the Board wanted to adopt all or any of a portion of the plan. Sections, for example that deals with roads,
may be referred to the Transportation Advisory Committee. When you look at lane use restrictions, steep
slopes, etc the Planning Department would have to study how to address these
issues in ordinances that would apply to the area. He was troubled by the issue of the
Commissioner McGrady, though generally supportive of the plan, also had two or three things that he did not agree with.
Chairman Moyer would be in favor of endorsing the plan but with a list of areas that were not being endorsed but left in the plan for further study at an appropriate time.
After further discussion the consensus of the Board was to look at the plan further and commit to action by the end of July.
Commissioner McGrady made the motion to adjourn at 7:55 p.m. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Teresa L. Wilson, Clerk to the Board William L. Moyer, Chairman