January 8, 1999


The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a special called meeting at 2:00 p.m. in the Commissioners= Conference Room of the Henderson County Office Building.

Those present were: Chairman Grady Hawkins, Vice-Chair Bill Moyer, Commissioner Renee Kumor, Commissioner Don Ward, Commissioner Marilyn Gordon, Assistant County Manager Angela S. Beeker, and Staff Attorney Jennifer Jackson.

Also present were Planning Director Matt Matteson, County Planner Karen Collins, and Environmental Planner Nippy Page.

Absent were County Manager David E. Nicholson and Clerk to the Board Elizabeth W. Corn.


Chairman Hawkins called the meeting to order and welcomed all in attendance. He explained that the purpose of this meeting was a work session on the development of a Motor Sports Facilities Ordinance.


Chairman Hawkins requested that the staff give a brief overview of the police power and land use power. Assistant County Manager, Angela S. Beeker distributed a handout containing Black=s Law Dictionary Definition of Police Power. This definition was read at length. Assistant County Manager, Angela S. Beeker referred to the portion of the definition which stated that Land Use Power is in fact one of the many Police Powers. She then distributed another handout containing the following provisions of the North Carolina General Statutes: N.C.G.S. 153A-121, General Ordinance Making Power, N.C.G.S. 153A-340, Grant of [Zoning] Power, N.C.G.S. 153A-323, Procedure for Adopting or Amending Ordinances Under [Article 18] and Chapter 160A Article 19. Mrs. Beeker then discussed briefly with the Board that provisions of the draft Motor Sports Facilities Ordinance were authorized by both N.C.G.S 153A-121 and N.C.G.S. 153A-340, and that consequently, N.C.G.S. 153A-323 required notice and a public hearing prior to adoption of the Motor Sports Facilities Ordinance.

Commissioner Kumor questioned whether this meant that we don=t have to send this to the Planning Board. Staff responded that the safest course of action would be to do this in addition to the notice and public hearing.

It was the consensus of the Board to hold a public hearing and give notice in accordance with N.C.G.S. 153A-323, and send the draft to the Planning Board.


Jennifer Jackson distributed an article entitled, AHospital Noise-Levels and Potential Health Hazards,@ taken from the New England Journal of Medicine. She also distributed a chart of the approximate decibel levels associated with different activities. These were provided for the Board=s information only. Chairman Hawkins acknowledged that the Board should read this information for their consideration and future discussions relating to the Motor Sports Facilities Ordinance.


Staff distributed copies of the draft Motor Sports Facilities Ordinance as presented to the Board at the January 4, 1999 regular Board of Commissioners Meeting.

Commissioner Gordon questioned the definition of Motor Sports Facilities, and whether it should be modified to differentiate between the types of Motor Sports Facilities and the various levels of community impact associated with each. The Board discussed this briefly. It was the consensus of the Board to require a minimum separation from residences of 1500 feet. The Board felt that a minimum separation requirement would address this concern.

Commissioner Ward questioned whether this definition would prevent events which occur once a year such as tractor pulls. He also wondered whether this definition would include racing shops.

Commissioner Kumor pointed out that this was an Ordinance to regulate, not prohibit racetracks, and that isolated events could be handled through a permitting process.

It was the consensus of the Board that the definition should not include racing shops.

Chairman Hawkins then directed the discussion to types of facilities which should be protected.

The Board members discussed whether schools should be protected in that most racing events are conducted when school is not in session; however, due to the extracurricular events which do occur, some protection should be provided.

Vice-Chair Moyer stated that in his opinion, there should be an absolute separation requirement of at least 2 miles for health care facilities, and that for schools, religious institutions, and libraries, a special use permitting process should be used if any of those uses are within two miles of the proposed motor sports facility. Staff suggested that an absolute minimum separation requirement should also be considered for churches, schools, and libraries.

The Board agreed that this type of permitting process would allow the Board the necessary flexibility to take care of community concerns associated with different types of racing events. The Board agreed to discuss the distances and other criteria for a special use permit, including hours of operation, later in the agenda.

DRAFT ORDINANCE - Distance And Other Parameters

Staff distributed a handout which contained the approximate number of residences, excluding manufactured homes having a title, for each map sheet of the Henderson County GIS system. Staff clarified for the Board that manufactured homes having a title would be included in determining residential density as defined in the draft ordinance. The total figures for each map sheet which would include manufactured homes had not yet been compiled.

The Board determined for purposes of the public hearing to use a residential density of 300, but that this number would be fine-tuned based upon the receipt of new map sheet information which included manufactured homes.

The Board then discussed separation requirements. After reviewing a map showing all health care facilities in the County, the Board determined that a minimum separation of 2 miles from such facilities would not preclude motor sports facilities from locating within Henderson County, and would provide adequate protection for the health care facilities. The Board confirmed that if a church, school or library were located within two miles of the proposed racetrack, a special use permit would be required.

The Board discussed an appropriate minimum separation from churches, schools, and libraries, and decided to use the same minimum separation requirement for these uses as is used for residential dwelling units B 1500 feet. The Board clarified for staff that these minimum separations were property line to property line, not structure to structure.

DRAFT ORDINANCE - Permitting Racing Facilities

The Board discussed the procedure for permitting motor sports facilities. The Board, by consensus, determined the following:

Permits must be obtained for all motor sports facilities; however for pre-existing facilities, the permitting process would really be a registration process.

Applications for permits for new motor sports facilities must be submitted to the Board of Commissioners through the Clerk. The Board would receive the permit application in an open meeting, and set the date for the public hearing at that time. The application review would be a quasi-judicial process.

If a church, a school, or a library is located within two miles of a proposed Motor Sports Facility, the applicant will be required to secure a special use permit from the Board of Commissioners after a quasi-judicial public hearing. The applicant would be required to comply with standards concerning hours of operation, lighting, parking, buffering, and ingress and egress. Staff was directed to propose minimum standards in each of these categories, and any other categories deemed to be consistent with the Board=s intent. The applicant would also be required to comply with a set of general standards. Staff was directed to research the extent to which general and specific standards could be imposed.

Once permitted, a motor sports facility will not be affected by subsequent development or uses of property within the two-mile radius.

This ordinance will apply Countywide, in both zoned and unzoned areas under the jurisdiction of the Board of Commissioners. Applicants whose proposed facility is within a zoned area will be required to secure both a zoning permit and a motor sports facility permit.

Staff will be required to verify that residential density will not preclude the proposed motor sports facility. It will be up to the applicant to establish that all other requirements have been met.

The Board will establish a permit fee schedule, taking into account staff time necessary to verify residential density requirements, and any other expenses associated with processing the application.


Staff distributed copies of the draft moratorium on motor sports facilities and reminded the Board that a public hearing had been set on this moratorium for January 20, 1999, with a back-up snow date of February 1, 1999.

Chairman Hawkins made the motion to set a public hearing on the draft as modified at today=s work session for Monday, February 1, 1999 at 7:00 p.m. All voted in favor and the motion carried.

There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned at approximately 4:15 p.m.




Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk Grady Hawkins, Chairman