STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA                                           BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

COUNTY OF HENDERSON                                                                                    MAY 27, 1999


The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a special called meeting at 5:30 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, Interim Planning Director Karen Smith, Planner Jake Gilmer and Clerk to the Board Elizabeth W. Corn.


Absent was County Manager David E. Nicholson.



Chairman Hawkins called the meeting to order and welcomed all in attendance. He stated that the purpose of this meeting was a work session to take a look at the Planning Board=s recommendation to the Board of Commissioners on the Hoopers Creek Zoning Proposal. 



Jake Gilmer reminded the Board that in October of 1998, citizens from the Hoopers Creek area formed the Hoopers Creek Planning Committee in order to organize an effort to establish zoning in their community. On December 7, 1998 the Committee submitted an application to the Planning Department for new zoning in Hoopers Creek. At their January 5, 1999 meeting, the Henderson County Planning Board considered the zoning application and appointed a subcommittee to (1) conduct a zoning study of the proposed area and (2) make a zoning recommendation to the full Planning Board. The Subcommittee presented the results of the study and their zoning recommendations at the March 30, 1999 regular Planning Board meeting and the Board voted unanimously (8-0) to recommend the zoning map contained in the Hoopers Creek Zoning Study. On May 3, 1999, the Henderson County Board of Commissioners held a public hearing and received public input on the proposed amendment to the Henderson County Zoning Ordinance. At that hearing, the Commissioners decided to hold this work session in order to further evaluate the Hoopers Creek zoning request.


The three zoning districts recommended by the Planning Board are RC Rural Conservation District, R-30 Low-Density Residential District, and R-20 Low-Density Residential District. Because of the pervasive rural-agricultural character, most of the study area is designated as RC, whereas a few areas are designated as somewhat Ahigher-density@ residential zones. These residential zones apply to areas that already have Ahigher-density@ residential development, or areas that may be better suited for this type of development due to locational factors or development projects already under way.


Mr. Gilmer then reviewed the Henderson County Land Use Plan adopted in 1993. On that plan, much of the Hoopers Creek area was designated as Rural Conservation, however this designation is different from the Zoning RC District in the required lot size. In general though, the Land Use Plan was used in making the proposed recommendations.


The Planning Department had received comments on the plan, both written and through public hearing. Mr. Gilmer indicated a map on which he had marked properties of people he had received comment from. Green dots indicated support for the plan, while red dots indicated those who opposed it. Karen Smith showed another map which indicated people who had initiated the rezoning, those undecided, those opposed, and those who had not responded. There was discussion of how many people these maps included.


The Planning Department provided many different maps for the Board=s information. Those maps showed the various zoning districts, watershed areas, the ETJ, etc. Ms. Smith discussed with the Board the different restrictions within the zoning districts.


Commissioner Gordon questioned what types of zoning currently abut the proposed area. She also had several questions regarding water and sewer service to the area in question. There was much discussion on where the water and sewer district boundary lines ran within the area.    


Commissioner Gordon reminded the Board that there had been some discussion of adding a zoning district that would provide for very large lots, around five acres in size. She asked about the impact of large lot zoning on property values. Mr. Gilmer stated that large lot zoning has been frowned upon. Often this type of zoning is used to discourage development, and to preserve property values, decrease speculation on land and is used to preserve agricultural land. There followed discussion on the pros and cons of going from an industrial classification to a rural conservancy classification.


There was discussion on the origin of the boundaries. Mr. Gilmer noted that many of the lines arose from geographically distinct boundaries such as ridge lines. Other boundaries are based on community support, received during the petition phase of this project. 


Chairman Hawkins then reviewed the map which showed people for and against zoning. There was discussion on how to accommodate those people who do not wish to be zoned. Commissioner Kumor debated whether or not this was a philosophical issue, whether it was right to allow single properties to opt out of zoning when the rest of the community wants it. Commissioner Gordon brought up the issue of land use planning in general. She stated that the Board should look at the following issues.

1.               Does the proposed zoning fit with the overall plan for the entire county.

2.               What utilities are available, and what resources have we got.


Commissioner Kumor stated that while this was a great plan, we have many zoning districts in the land use plan that are not in use. The land use plan done in 1993 may not really fit the needs anymore and perhaps should be redone if it is going to be used to that magnitude. Other Commissioners agreed that may be the case, but that this issue is before them now and cannot wait for a new land use plan to be completed.


The discussion came back around to manufactured home parks, and how they should be implemented in the county. Commissioner Gordon stated that the areas which have the utilities and roads for manufactured home parks are usually the ones that citizens are asking to have zoned, for the purpose of precluding them. If this pattern continues county-wide, it will eventually eliminate an entire branch of housing.


Commissioner Gordon suggested that the Board pursue and study the results of safety net zoning, and the re-write of the zoning ordinance. She also suggested further study of zoning which would be contiguous to Fletcher=s ETJ, and protection of those areas from annexation.


There was more discussion on mobile home parks. Mr. Gilmer indicated several areas, and gave an estimate of how many mobile homes were in those areas. He made the distinction between mobile homes and manufactured homes. There were less mobile homes in the areas than had been believed.


Commissioner Moyer stated that he thinks for all future zoning requests, direction should be sent to the Planning Board to draw good boundaries. Those proposed boundaries would be very helpful in determining which properties should or should not be included in zoning districts. As it currently stands, the Board will consider leaving out properties where the owners do not wish to be zoned.


There was much discussion surrounding zoning contiguous to ETJ boundaries.


Angela Beeker suggested that staff revise a map, and bring that map back to the Board. The revised map would be based on excising those properties which could be excised based on the boundaries. The revised map would also reflect the desired zoning on those properties that could be zoned either R-20, or remain unzoned. Commissioner Kumor stated that those properties could be left out, but people in the area should understand that it is ultimately the Board=s intention to protect those areas through zoning so they don=t become ETJs. Commissioner Moyer reminded the Board that as it stands, this is a citizen designated map, and the Planning Department should have a say in it.  


It was the consensus of the Board that they are about ready to rezone the area as presented, with the possible exception of some properties on the periphery that could have an option of being zoned or ensuant. Six or seven properties appear to have that option. The Board directed staff to go back and look at those six or seven pieces of property that are on the periphery. Staff will bring a recommendation back to the Board soon.


There being no further business to come before the Board, Chairman Hawkins adjourned the meeting at 6:55 p.m.      






                                                                                                                                                              Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board                       Grady Hawkins, Chairman