STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA
BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY OF HENDERSON
DECEMBER 15, 1999
The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a regularly scheduled meeting at 9:00 a.m. in the Commissioners= Conference Room of the Henderson County Office Building at 100 North King Street, Hendersonville, North Carolina.
Those present were: Chairman Grady Hawkins, Vice-Chair Bill Moyer, Commissioner Renee Kumor, Commissioner Don Ward, Commissioner Marilyn Gordon, County Manager David E. Nicholson, Assistant County Manager/Interim County Attorney Angela S. Beeker, and Clerk to the Board Elizabeth W. Corn.
Also present were: Staff Attorney Jennifer O. Jackson, Public Information Officer Chris S. Coulson, Planning Director Karen C. Smith.
CALL TO ORDER/WELCOME
Chairman Hawkins called the meeting to order and welcomed those in attendance.
PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
Commissioner Ward led the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag.
Juan Unda, Hispanic Pastor at Pinecrest Presbyterian Church, gave the invocation.
DISCUSSION/ADJUSTMENT OF AGENDA
Chairman Hawkins added one item to Staff Reports - AD@ - Update on Property Readdressing. Chairman Hawkins also added a Resolution to the Consent Agenda. He asked Commissioner Kumor to read the Resolution into the record.
WHEREAS, Frank E. Blazey was appointed to serve on the Henderson County Department of
Social Services Board on January 21, 1992 and served until his resignation in
December 1999; and,
WHEREAS, Mr. Blazey served as Chairman of the DSS Board from July 1993 to June 1998; and,
WHEREAS, Many enhancements were implemented under Mr. Blazey=s direction as Chairman
of the DSS Board to some of the County=s social programs to improve the quality of
life for many of the county=s citizens; and,
WHEREAS, Under Mr. Blazey=s direction as Chairman of the DSS Board, the Work First program
was developed and implemented.
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Henderson County Board of Commissioners commends Mr. Blazey for his service on the DSS Board and for his dedication to the welfare of Henderson County=s citizens.
Adopted this 15th day of December, 1999.
It was the consensus of the Board to approve the additions to the agenda.
Chairman Hawkins made the motion to approve the Consent Agenda. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
The CONSENT AGENDA included the following:
A Petition had been submitted for addition to the State Maintenance System for Cold Spring Road. It has been the practice of this Board to accept road petitions and forward them to NC Department of Transportation for their review. It has also been the practice of the Board not to ask NCDOT to change the priority for roads on the paving priority list.
A list of 82 tax release requests was submitted for approval by the Board of Commissioners.
A list of 23 tax refund requests was submitted for approval by the Board of Commissioners.
Tax Collector=s Report
Terry F. Lyda, Henderson County Tax Collector, submitted the tax report for the period through December 7, 1999 for the Board=s review.
Pawnbroker=s License Renewal - Happy=s Trading Post
Ron DelBuono, who operates Happy=s Trading Post, had filed an application to continue operating a pawnshop at 310 Seventh Ave., Hendersonville.
Mr. DelBuono first applied for a Pawnbroker=s License in 1997 and has renewed his application/petition every year since. The most current license expired on September 30, 1999.
A complete renewal application was submitted and was reviewed by the Board of Commissioners. The only item that Mr. DelBuono submitted that was not included in the packet was his financial statement of capital assets. If the Board wished to review the financial statement, staff would be ready to supply the appropriate statute reference for going into closed session for such review.
The Staff Attorney had reviewed the application/petition and the attachments and believed that everything was in order. Staff recommended that the Board consider renewing the Pawnbroker=s License for a term of October 1, 1999 through September 30, 2000.
A resolution was submitted for the Board=s review and approval commending Mr. Frank Blazey for his service on the DSS Board and for his dedication to the welfare of Henderson County=s citizens.
Chairman Hawkins reminded the Board of the following vacancies and opened the floor to nominations:
1. Hendersonville City Zoning Board of Adjustment - 1 vac. (alternate)
There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.
2. Nursing/Adult Care Home Community Advisory Committee - 6 vac.
Commissioner Kumor nominated Joy Davenport. Chairman Hawkins made the motion to suspend the rules and appoint Ms. Davenport to the slot vacated by Geneva Moore. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
3. Transportation Advisory Committee - new committee - 11 vac.
Following some discussion, Commissioner Kumor nominated Paul Stepp. Commissioner Ward nominated Jack Lynch and Chip Gould. Commissioner Gordon nominated Bob Eklund and Ray Bryson. Commissioner Moyer nominated Rochelle Miller. Chairman Hawkins nominated Robert Johnston. A vote will be taken at the next meeting. It was the consensus of the Board to revisit this issue under Important Dates. They would like to have a workshop on this item.
4. Henderson County Fire Commission - 3 vac.
There were no nominations at this time so this item was rolled to the next meeting.
CONVEYANCE OF SURPLUS VEHICLES TO WORK FIRST PARTICIPANTS
The County Manager and Maintenance Director have been working with DSS and the Work First Program on a proposal to convey several vehicles that are slated for surplus to Work First participants.
NCGS 160A-279 allows counties to convey surplus vehicles to a nonprofit entity as a pass through to Work First participants that are selected by DSS. Western Carolina Community Action, Inc. has agreed to act as the pass-through corporation. A resolution authorizing the conveyance and the conditions of the conveyance was submitted for the Board=s review and consideration. A list of the vehicles that were identified for this conveyance was distributed and follows:
1G1BL5378PW124538 SP-039 1993 Chevy Caprice
1G1BL5371PW125840 SP-044 1993 Chevy Caprice
1G1BL5371PW124641 SP-014 1993 Chevy Caprice
1G1BL52P3RR156235 SP-070 1993 Chevy Caprice
1G1BL52P3RR156123 SP-077 1994 Chevy Caprice
1G1BL5376PW125591 SP-056 1993 Chevy Caprice
1G1AL6968EX150788 SP-004 1984 Chevy Impala
1G1BL51H7HX187959 SP-002 1989 Chevy Caprice
Jennifer Jackson reviewed a list of conditions: 1. Henderson County will convey the vehicles as is, we are not going to warrant the condition of the vehicles; 2. WCCA will take the vehicles upon the condition that they must reconvey them to Work First participants.
Patti Leonard explained that three of the Work First families have been prioritized that a vehicle in their possession would make a great difference to them because of employment opportunities and the distance that they live from town. These families will go off the system with a vehicle. Criteria guidelines have not as yet been established but will likely be done and change on an on-going basis.
A draft Notice had been prepared and was reviewed. Chairman Hawkins made the motion to approve the prepared Resolution and direct staff to advertise appropriately. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
TRACE PROPERTY - Assignment of Possessory Rights
In accordance with a Real Property Purchase and Settlement Agreement that was entered into on April 4, 1996, Henderson County purchased property which is located near the Solid Waste Management Facility off Stoney Mountain Road. This property was acquired from Dr. and Mrs. Trace and adjoins a tract of land that they still own. A map of this area was distributed.
The Trace=s did maintain a possessory interest in the property that Henderson County acquired, subject to some conditions, and have used the property for horse stables and associated uses. Under the agreement, the Trace=s possessory interest will expire upon the death of both of the Traces, the sale of the Trace=s property to a third party, or the Trace=s voluntary surrender of possession on April 4, 2026 (30 years after execution of the agreement), whichever occurs first.
The Trace=s desire to sell their adjoining acreage to Marta Bruenn and Peter Siclari who are the people that operate and maintain the horse stables. That sale, however, is contingent upon the assignment of the possessory rights to the parcel on which the horse stables and other related improvements are actually located, which is the property that Henderson County owns. This contingency cannot be met without the County=s consent. Therefore, Stephen Wilde, the attorney for Bruenn and Siclari, has prepared documentation for the Board=s review that would authorize the Trace=s to assign their possessory interest to Bruenn and Siclari and allow Bruenn and Siclari to essentially step into the Trace=s position with regard to the agreement. He requested that the Board approve such documents.
Jennifer Jackson reviewed restrictions on page 4 of the agreement ASellers hereby reserve the right of possession of the property herein conveyed and all improvements located thereon for a term of years not to exceed thirty (30) years, or for so long as the Seller or either of them owns an adjoining tract of real property, or until Sellers voluntarily surrender possession, or both Sellers die, whichever event is the first event to occur. This right of possession shall include the right to utilize the property as it is now being used or for similar purposes. Upon the occurrence of an event specified above, Buyer shall have immediate possession of the property.@
Attorney Stephen J. Wilde had prepared the document that the Board was asked to approve. He came forward to answer any question from the Board. He answered a question that if the Traces have possessory rights then they have the right to lease the property.
Following discussion, Chairman Hawkins made the motion not to approve the reassignment of possessory rights. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Commissioner Moyer asked the County Attorney to review page 4 of the agreement, Section B, 1-a. He questioned whether the terms of the provision contemplate a lease. He asked that the County Attorney review this and develop a position for the Board.
Commissioner Gordon stated that numerous questions had been raised as to why Henderson County had not purchased property for a new landfill because funds had been set aside for such. When the county purchased the Trace property adjacent to the landfill those funds were used for the purchase, $400,000.
EMPLOYEE SUGGESTION PROGRAM
David Nicholson briefly discussed this program which was one of his budget goals for the year. He expects this program to improve the services we offer the community, enhance the current services we provide, and to save the taxpayers money on a short term as well as a long term basis.
It calls for the creation of a review committee consisting of one Commissioner, a Department Head, and a couple of employees. This committee would review suggestions and make recommendations to the County Manager.
Commissioner Moyer made one suggestion to change #5 of the eligibility requirements and rules to have a maximum. He suggested instead of 20% that it read Aa percentage of the tangible amount saved but not to exceed $5,000.@
Chairman Hawkins made the motion to adopt the Employee Suggestion Program with the discussed suggestion. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Update on Property Readdressing - add on by Chairman Hawkins
The Board had asked that the Chairman make some contact with both the postal services and municipalities referencing the briefing from Robert Baird on Property Readdressing. He has done so. The Board had looked at a plan that was a three phase plan based solely on distance based addressing with about six or seven steps of implementation for each phase. One of the steps, as required by the ordinance, was for the Board of Commissioners to approve the new addressing in each area. We have not gotten that far along in our plan.
Chairman Hawkins stated that at this point we do not have a very well coordinated plan for implementing county-wide property readdressing, coordinated in the sense of marrying the data base that 911 has, to being able to dispense that information to emergency vehicles. That was one of the key elements for the property readdressing. Obviously the other area is the municipalities that in many cases have an adequate addressing system. How do you dispatch emergency vehicles to both municipalities and the county?
Kelly P. Laughton came forward and discussed briefly an alternative for Henderson County. Kelly explained that staff is investigating an alternative to readdressing. It would be an enhancement to our E-911 technology and is available through the vendor of our computer aided dispatch, our CAD system, and our record management system. It involves mapping our current addresses and tying that map directly to our CAD software in the dispatch center. The vendor would refer us to a company that specializes in mapping for this purpose. That company would come in and map all the property addresses in Henderson County. The map would be integrated with our CAD application for use by the Sheriff=s Department in dispatching emergency services. She explained that they are in the preliminary stages of investigating this process as a possible solution. They will examine associated costs and contact other counties who are doing this effectively.
Commissioner Moyer asked if we are deferring the readdressing project which the Board voted on at the last meeting. The answer was that we would continue without delay on the current readdressing project but following much discussion, it was the consensus of the Board for the I. T. Department staff to pursue this new process in addition. This would not be a Acheap fix@ but rather an investment in both hardware and software.
INFORMAL PUBLIC COMMENTS
There were none.
Chairman Hawkins called a brief Atechnical@ recess.
PARDEE HOSPITAL ANNUAL REPORT
James A. Maher, President of the Board of Directors and Frank Aaron, CEO of Margaret R. Pardee Memorial Hospital presented their Annual Report to the Board.
They had supplied a notebook of materials for the Board=s review entitled APardee - 1999 Annual Report to the Henderson County Board of Commissioners.@ This was the first annual report since the reorganization. Mr. Maher introduced several hospital representatives in attendance: Frank Aaron, Chief Executive Officer; John Hester, Chief Financial Officer; other executive staff members and eight members of the Board of Directors.
Mr. Maher called special attention to tab 7 of the notebook which was the summary report. The major planning categories were:
Business Development & Marketing)
Systems Orientation is to establish Pardee as the focal point in a continuum of services that continue to respond to access, quality, and cost. Mr. Maher explained that they are proud of the 18 Pardee operated outreach programs, volunteer auxiliary and the foundation. They intend to remain the leader in development and delivery of community based health services.
Mr. Aaron asked for the Board=s feed back in what they would like to see presented in future reports. Mr. Aaron went through the notebook tab by tab. He discussed briefly two joint partnerships (joint ventures). He discussed briefly the following expansion planning and the anticipated timetables:
He reviewed briefly the 18 outreach programs:
Commissioner Moyer stated that he prefers to compare the information with financial information. Mr. Aaron stated that if this report were given in January instead of December, financials would be available. Following some discussion, Chairman Hawkins stated that Mr. Aaron might wait to give the report next year in January and include financial information for comparison.
Commissioner Moyer stated that he had some interaction with Pardee Hospital this year and stated that the level of nursing care is certainly a very positive thing for Pardee Hospital.
Commissioner Kumor raised a question to Mr. Aaron - AMr. Chairman, I sat in on the Board meeting where the Board chose to not accept the Duke Endowment money for the school nursing program and not wanting to go into the discussion of turning down that grant, I do find though that the Board started it=s refusal to accept the grant with a statement that children=s health issues are not our priority at Pardee and I find that was an irresponsible statement to make. I wonder what message we are sending to parents. Do children figure into the strategic planning process at Pardee? If we=re looking at wellness at Pardee and a wellness center, maybe wellness might be working with our public schools and supporting it for gymnasiums or for playground equipment. I just found that that was a very sad and sorry statement for our community hospital to go on record as making.@
Mr. Aaron answered - AI would have to beg to differ with you, Mrs. Kumor. I don=t think that was quite the statement. I think the statement was - in my recollection was more along the lines that we didn=t feel or the hospital didn=t feel that it could support placing nurses in the school from a financial prospective.@
Commissioner Kumor - AAre you really serious that you want to write off a segment of our population and it=s not you to defend your Board that=s just a statement that I put out there. When you look at services as a representative of our whole community, children have to be included.@
PUBLIC HEARING - Community Transportation Grant Application
Chairman Hawkins made the motion for the Board to go into Public Hearing. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
This was the date and time set for the Public Hearing on the FY2001 Community Transportation Grant Application. Ms. Rochelle Miller of Apple Country Transportation presented the application.
Ms. Miller stated that the purpose for the Public Hearing was to discuss the community transportation CPT grant application. This application is completed every year by Apple Country Transportation and WCCA. In the application they ask for administrative, capital, and technical assistance based on the valuation of the completed CPT application. The application is presented to the Department of Transportation who evaluate the administrative and capital needs as well as existing service designs and alternatives and system performance.
Rochelle Miller reviewed the accomplishments of Apple Country Transportation (ACT) for the past fiscal year:
agencies in Henderson County.
increased the number of committee members from 15 to 19. ACT will continue to draw
individuals from Henderson County agencies, businesses, and special interest groups to participate in the Transportation Advisory Committee. Current members participate in
subcommittees to accomplish goals and projects on an as needed basis.
an employment route for Work First clients and the general public. It is anticipated that
the Work First money allocated for FY 1999-2000 will run out before the need of the
program year. This is a result of better coordination and education of the eligible expenses
allowed under the Work First program. There are presently 106 active individuals in the
WorkFirst employment program. Of those individuals, 40% have listed transportation as a barrier to employment. ACT coordinates with Work First case managers to provide individuals with a means of transportation whether it be public transportation, volunteers, or through the donated vehicles program. To date, four vehicles have been donated to eligible Work First clients.
Current Services Provided:
Apple Country Transportation, located at Western Carolina Community Action, Inc. (WCCA), provides transportation to the General Public and 15 area agencies in Henderson County. Services are available Monday through Friday from 6:30 am to 5:00 pm and on average, every other Saturday from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. Saturday Rural General Public trip hours vary depending on the scheduled event. Special arrangements are made for Dialysis and medical passengers who require lift-equipped services outside the normal service hours.
The ACT vehicle fleet consists of 15 vans and 7 school buses. Twelve of the system vans are in active service, two are utilized as back-ups, and one is being disposed of. Four of the system=s vehicles are lift equipped; one serves as back-up, and one is being disposed of. The transportation department also oversees several vehicles which are not part of the ACT fleet including four Head Start minivans and three WCCA corporate vehicles. ACT uses two of the Head Start minivans during Head Start off-peak times for medical transportation. All four of the Head Start minivans are used for the transportation of Head Start children to socialization activities, medical appointments, etc.
ACT operates 11 routes daily as well as medical and lift equipped transportation.
Ms. Miller went into some detail about these services as well as some proposed services.
Some questions that were asked of Rochelle and her answers:
Commissioner Kumor - ARochelle, are you suggesting that there is a demand to be shopping in the downtown area and you=re creating this fixed route for that reason?@
Rochelle Miller - ADemand for shopping, a demand to access human service agencies such as Interfaith, DSS, the County Health Department. There are approximately 12 service agencies and we would be able to pick people up and then bring them to one location and then throughout the day operate a fixed route system where we take people to these certain places where they need access.@
Commissioner Kumor - AYou acknowledged the importance of FISH and you talked about the recruitment of volunteers, where do you sign up to volunteer?@
Rochelle Miller - AI will definitely find you that answer. Apple Country Transportation=s phone number is 698-8571 and the FISH line is separate from our line but it=s all in the same place.@
Commissioner Kumor - ACan you tell a brief minute about what you are asking, just every so often.
Rochelle Miller - AOK, sure, the FISH organization is separate from Apple Country Transportation. They have their own Board and that type of thing. Basically, you can volunteer your services for any amount of time that you want to, it=s not specific. I know there=s a lot of people that work 9-5 and if they were willing to volunteer in the evening to provide evening medical transportation, I=m sure FISH would like to improve that area of their service. Their primary source of volunteers right now is retired individuals.@
Grady Hawkins - ACould you say a word about your capital expansion plans, your facility?@
Rochelle Miller - AYes, I have that in here as well.@
Apple Country Transportation=s primary capital need is for new/renovated facilities. The current level of service is beyond what our existing facilities can efficiently operate within. Further, WCCA has not been brought up to ADA accessibility standards. They are currently operating within 383 square feet of office space at WCCA.
They are requesting a total of 5 expansion vehicles for the proposed services.
Bill Moyer - AThe plan you put together, what happens to this plan now? What are you suggesting be done with this plan?@
Rochelle Miller - AOK, I=m required to provide a public hearing to receive public comments. The application has to be approved by WCCA Board. I need a couple of signatures on different documents from David White, our Executive Director at WCCA and then the application is submitted to NC Department of Transportation. They review my request for administrative needs and capital requests and then they determine how much money they will allocate to each county. I won=t find that information out until April or June of next year.@
Bill Moyer - AIn section 5, if we approve this plan, I guess at some point in time we have to, is it implicit then that with respect to administrative - if I=m reading this right. The lines are capital. I=m not sure which way this goes - that if we approve this plan, that we will provide 10% of the capital expenditures and 15% of the employee development. That=s the way those two lines line up with none of administration. Am I reading that correctly?@
Rochelle Miller - AAdministrative funding will be provided at 80% federal share, 5% state share, and 15% local share.@
There was none.
Commissioner Kumor made the motion for the Board to go out of Public Hearing. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
QUASI-JUDICIAL PROCEEDING - Request for Variance from Subdivision Ordinance by
Smith-Lowe Development Co.
Chairman Hawkins made the motion for the Board to go into this Quasi-Judicial Proceeding. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
The Board of Commissioners scheduled for this date a quasi-judicial proceeding on an application for a variance from the Subdivision Ordinance for Smith-Lowe Development Co. for a proposed major subdivision called White=s Lake. The applicant requested a variance from the minimum centerline curve radius requirements for two curves on White=s Lake Boulevard. Although the variance application also requested a variance from shoulder width requirements, such a variance is no longer necessary.
Chairman Hawkins stated Aa quasi-judicial proceeding, much like a court proceeding, is a proceeding in which one=s individual rights are being determined. The proceedings will be conducted under the Henderson County Board of Commissioner=s Rules of Proceedure for Quasi-Judicial Proceedings. Only persons who can demonstrate that they will be affected by the outcome of the decision are allowed to participate in the proceedings. All persons who speak and participate including any witnesses that will be called will be placed under oath. The Board will ask the petitioner, Smith-Lowe Development Company or it=s attorney if it is represented, what evidence it wishes to present in support of the request for a variance. After the petitioner is finished, anyone else who has expressed a desire to be a party and who the Board has recognized as a party would then be allowed to present their evidence. All parties will be given the opportunity to ask questions of all witnesses testifying in this proceeding. The Board will be given the opportunity to ask questions also. After the evidence is presented the Board will discuss the issues raised and will make a decision. The Board=s decision must be made in writing within 45 days of the hearing.@
Chairman Hawkins asked the County Attorney if there were any matters that the Board needed to address or resolve prior to identifying the parties and beginning the presentation of evidence.
Angela Beeker reminded the Board that this was a request for a variance that is pending before them today. In the application for the variance, the requirements, the findings that the Board must make are spelled out in that application:
of carrying out the strict letter of the ordinance in similar matters relating to land use.
In order to show that, the applicant would have to show that if he/she complies with the
ordinance, the applicant can secure no reasonable return from or make no reasonable
use of his property. The hardship of which the applicant complains results from unique circumstances related to the land and that the hardship is not the result of the applicant=s
preserves it=s spirit.
Angela Beeker - AIf you can make all of those findings, then it would be appropriate for the Board to, of course, grant the variance. Of course, your decision must be based on the evidence that is presented before you today and I therefore would ask the Board members if they have any knowledge related to this that they would like to bring forward so that it could become a part of the proceedings.@
Bill Moyer - AYes, I do. I have sat through two planning board meetings. I did not participate in the discussions but I was there and I would think - and obviously got substantial knowledge of that so I think either Mr. Wagner and his principal and probably the staff would have to waive my participation if they deem it appropriate. Otherwise I will not participate.@
Weeding Clark - AMr. Chairman, I=m Weeding Clark from Roberts and Stevens in Asheville and I represent Smith-Lowe Development and we will be presenting some evidence today and we were at - I was present at the planning board committee along with my clients and we would have no objection to Mr. Moyer=s participating in the proceedings. It was all an open meeting and he just listened to everything that everybody else listened to and we don=t want to bore him to death but the evidence we are presenting today will be essentially the same as we presented at that meeting.@
Bill Moyer - AWe=re just fine, thank you.@
Chairman Hawkins - A Any other items that you need to bring forth?@ addressed to Ms. Beeker.
Angela Beeker - ANo sir.@
Chairman Hawkins - AWe=ll take that as an acceptance of Mr. Moyer=s participation and you won=t be dismissed.@
IDENTIFICATION OF THE PARTIES:
Chuck Lowe Smith-Lowe Development Company
Steven Wagner, Surveyor
Karen C. Smith, Planning Director
The Clerk to the Board swore-in the above parties to the proceeding.
Karen C. Smith distributed some information and then gave a brief overview of the application itself.
Smith-Lowe Development Company has submitted a variance application from the Henderson County Subdivision Ordinance for a 41 lot subdivision called White=s Lake. It is a development on a 105 acre site located on Macedonia Road northwest of Saluda. She showed a vicinity map. The lots will be served by private roads, private wells, and individual septic systems. The variance application was submitted to the Planning Department in conjunction with an application and plans for a major subdivision. The variance application as originally submitted requested relief from shoulder width standards and center line radius standards on residential roads as specified in section 170-21 of the subdivision ordinance. Mrs. Smith stated that the applicant is no longer seeking a variance from the shoulder width requirements. The particular variances under consideration today have to do with two curves on White=s Lake Boulevard which is the main road through the subdivision. Mrs. Smith referred to presented maps for location of the curves. The first variance is for a proposed in-line turn around for a curve located near lots #20 and #21. The turn around is designed to have two one way lanes, an outer lane has approximatley 50 foot center line radius. The subdivision ordinance requires a centerline radius of 90 feet. A 40 foot variance would therefore be needed. The other variance is for a curve located near lot #41. The subdivision ordinance requires a minimum centerline radius for this particular curve of 110 feet. The centerline radius measurements on that curve are 106.05 feet and 61 feet; therefore, variances of 3.95 feet and 49 feet are being requested.
Under section 170-40 of the subdivision ordinance the Board of Commissioners is the approval authority for variances. This Board referred the variance to the Planning Board on October 20, 1999. The Planning Board has reviewed the application and Mrs. Smith will present their recommendations later in the meeting.
The Planning Department has sent notices of this proceeding via certified mail to the applicant and two adjacent property owners and have also posted a sign on the property.
Chairman Hawkins - AMr. Clark, are you going to present the petitioner=s evidence?@
Mr. Clark - AI will present the petitioner=s evidence. I would call Mr. Chuck Lowe to come around if he would. Mr. Chairman and members of the Board of Commissioners, it would probably be easier for me to ask him questions if she stood up there at the map. Do you have an objection to that?@
Renee Kumor, David Nicholson - ATake the mic with you.@
Mr. Clark - AOK, Mr. Lowe, if I could just get you to first of all identify who you are. State your name for the record.@
Mr. Lowe - AMy name is Chuck Lowe with Smith-Lowe Development.@
Mr. Clark - AAnd you are a principal with Smith-Lowe Development?@
Mr. Lowe - AYes I am.@
Mr. Clark - AAnd you all are the developers of White=s Lake Subdivision, is that correct.@
Mr. Lowe - AThat=s right.@
Mr. Clark - AAnd, tell me where you are requesting a variance from the Board of Commissioners on this property.@
Mr. Lowe - AThe first variance we are requesting is along the lake area and the second variance we are requesting is what we call at the top of the hill up here along lots #40 and # 21. Have you all had the advantage of these blow-ups?@
Renee Kumor, Bill Moyer - AYes.@
Mr. Lowe - AOK@
Mr. Clark - ATell me why you want a variance up here at lot #21.@
Mr. Lowe - AAt #21 and #40 we have created a two lane, that=s shown on this blow-up. The first lane will be 18 feet. It will be on the outside of the cul-de-sac and the inside lane will be 12 feet. We=ve got two reasons for requesting that, one is a safety issue. In the strict compliance with the ordinance, we are not completely in compliance. The line that goes right through here on your plat is the strict compliance of 90 feet. The outer lane from the way you measure a radius ends up being about 60 feet but in truth it gives you a bigger curving area than the original plan. We did this for a safety concern. It gives you a complete turn around of emergency vehicles in that area halfway through the subdivision so that a emergency vehicle has a place to turn around. We=ve also done it, of course, for esthetic purposes to maintain the integrity of the subdivision that we are doing.@
Mr. Clark - AHave you had occasion or have you had any safety people out there, specifically the Saluda Fire Department?@
Mr. Lowe - AYes sir, we had the Saluda Fire Department=s Chief Jerry Pace who has written a letter that he commends this change here and we have pictures that we can produce for you where a fire truck is completely turning around in that radius. We are requesting this as a hardship because what we have created is actually a superior design, according to the safety engineers that have been out here and other people that have been here on this particular design as what is required by the ordiance.@
Mr. Clark - AAnd in fact do you - I=ve got some photographs here I=ll show these to you and identify them and also show you a letter from Saluda Fire Department and ask you to identify those.@
Mr. Lowe - AThank you@
Mr. Clark - AHold on one second. Say what that picture is.@
Mr. Lowe - AThat=s a picture of two emergency vehicle size vehicles passing in the lower turn that we have not discussed yet. I believe this turn up at the top - this is a picture of the fire department fire truck turning around this island that we have created in the middle of this, which we would call basically a cul-de-sac but it=s an in-line cul-de-sac which is designed for a safety feature.@
Mr. Clark - AThis photograph is of the upper portion of that turn, is that correct.@
Mr. Lowe - AThat=s correct.@
Mr. Clark - AMr. Chairman, can I just pass this up?@
Chairman Hawkins - AIf you would, file it with the Clerk and I suspect you=re going to introduce your letter and we=d like for you to file that with the Clerk also.@
Mr. Clark - AI will do that. Mr. Chairman, I=m also going to offer up the letter from the Saluda Fire and Rescue . I have extra copies of that if the Commissioners would like to look at it.@
Chairman Hawkins - AOne letter will be adequate.@
Mr. Lowe - AI believe that letter may be unsigned. We have signed copies if you want.@
Mr. Clark - ATell me Mr. Lowe if you would, what the reason for the second curve variance is.@
Mr. Lowe - AThis is a true hardship variance here. The lake - coming around and over the dam, beside the lake and then back up the hill - this is a very steep topography here. If we move the road toward the lake what we end up with is getting a very steep vertical slope to the lake which could provide a dangerous driving situation with people coming down the hill toward the lake. So we wanted to keep away from the lake as much as possible. Also we want to be away from the lake because we want to control the amount of slope on this vertical drop in order to prevent any soil erosion coming into this lake and which is this feeder stream is a main tributary down to the Green River. If we moved the curve up into this mountain what we=re gonna create is a large cut which is going to require dynamiting where there is a good bit of rock in this area. Coming up in here we=d have to do a major cut on this particular area and it would create a vertical slope which would exceed the requirements of the ordinance. It would be a difficult situation to maintain ground cover over this area. We=re concerned about the erosion that it would cause. We=re also concerned about the blast of the rock, that we=d have an exposed rock face and there would be rock that would be potentially coming down on this exposed roadway and then the third item that we=re concerned about is the amount of erosion and the inability probably to stabilize this, that we would have an erosion control problem that would come down into this stream and it just doesn=t fit the Green River Gorge concept of keeping a natural beauty beautiful area.@
Mr. Clark - AHave you in fact widened the pavement as it comes around the outside of this turn there?@
Mr. Lowe - AWe had Jerry Pace of the Saluda Fire Department and we=ve got pictures where we had two emergency vehicle size vehicles pass in that curve. I think the spirit of the ordinance is that cars be able to pass in this area but also and I think the big critical issue is that emergency vehicles be able to pass. We conducted a test which we have pictures of here where two vehicles that size are passing in that curve and we have widened that road - the driving surface to 22 feet from 18 feet to make sure that there is adequate area for those vehicles to pass as a safety concern.@
Mr. Clark - AI=m gonna show you Mr. Lowe a copy of four photographs, they=re actually copies of photographs and ask you to identify those. Are those the photographs that you were just mentioning of vehicles passing each other on that curve next to lot #41?@
Mr. Lowe - AYes sir, they are.@
Mr. Clark - AMr. Chairman, may I hand these up to the Clerk?@
Chairman Hawkins - APlease@
Mr. Clark - AMr. Lowe, let me ask you just to point out here on the subdivision here - what is this land down here.@
Mr. Lowe - AIt=s where we established a private conservation easement to maintain the integrity of this area and to make sure that there is no erosion that occurs in this area and to maintain the rural atmosphere in the Green River Gorge.@
Mr. Clark - ADo the members of the Board of Commissioners have any questions for Mr. Lowe?@
Chairman Hawkins - AI just had one I guess. In the area on lot #21- #20, #21 where the well is.@
Mr. Lowe - AYes sir.@
Chairman Hawkins - AIn - I see how you=ve got the road laid out. The area that=s open there, is that an elevated area or is that just flat or - what goes in there - its obviously not going to be paved. Is that just dirt?@
Mr. Lowe - AThis area right here.@
Chairman Hawkins - ANo, between where your - I=ll call it your road splits. That little area.@
Mr. Lowe - AThat will be a planted area. Basically what we=re gonna place there is native plants and keep it as a natural area, again to maintain the integrity of the area in keeping the Green River Gorge concept.@
Chairman Hawkins - AOK, anybody on the Board have any questions?@
Commissioner Kumor - AI just had a curiosity question. When you point out the easement and you show us these lots and you - for example lot #33 is 5.4 acres. Does that include the easement property that you=ve set aside?@
Mr. Lowe - AThat=s correct, it does include that.@
Chairman Hawkins - AAny other questions? Do you have any other evidence at this time?@
Mr. Clark - AWe would just call Steve Wagner for about two questions. If you would, come up Mr. Wagner. Mr. Wagner, if I can just get you to identify yourself and the fact that you=re a surveyor here in Hendersonville.@
Mr. Wagner - AA registered land surveyor in Hendersonville. I have been working on this project since January.@
Mr. Clark - AIs that a true and accurate copy of the plat that you prepared for White=s Lake Subdivision?@
Mr. Wagner - AThat=s the development plan. It=s been refined somewhat but the roads are correct in the problem areas.@
Mr. Clark - AAnd are you familiar with the terrain in this curve near lot #41 and the curve near lot #21?@
Mr. Wagner - AYes sir.@
Mr. Clark - AI=m going to show you Mr. Wagner two smaller plats if you will and ask you to identify those.@
Mr. Wagner - AThis is the detail of the curve at lot #41 and #25 and #24 and adjacent to the common area that the variance is being applied for. And this is the proposed in line cul-de-sac at lot #21 and #40 modified type cul-de-sac in line that your group has really wanted to have up there.@
Mr. Clark - AAnd these are copies of plats which you prepared? Mr. Chairman, I would offer these up to the Clerk. I think the Commissioners have copies of those ------------- to go into the record. Does the Commissioners have any questions for Mr. Wagner?@
Chairman Hawkins - AMr. Wagner, I have just one question. There was some discussion on how you=d have to make your cut, the slope. Could you expand on it a little bit on one of the - if you had to comply strictly with the ordinance.@
Mr. Wagner - AWith the Planning or the` Subdivision Ordinance?@
Chairman Hawkins - AYes.@
Mr. Wagner - AThey require a minimum 2 to 1 cut which provides - its nearly a natural slope that should you know hold vegetation. It=s the slope - you know it=s 2 foot out and 1 foot down that they require on the cut and the fill sides of a road bed and that 2 to 1 ratio is about a natural slope that doesn=t cause problems.@
Chairman Hawkins - AWould that be close to what is cut on this slope here in this picuture or is that@
Mr. Wagner - AI didn=t really - I can=t really say but I think that=s more like a 3 or 4 to 1.@
Chairman Hawkins - A3 or 4 to 1, thank you. Anybody else or are there any other questions?@
Angela Beeker - AAre the roads already constructed?@
Mr. Wagner - AThey=ve been put in, they=re ditched, rip rapped, culverts, and a bed of gravel.@
Angela Beeker - ADid you design the layout of the roads?@
Mr. Wagner - AWe had a preliminary plan that came across - it generally came to the dam from Macedonia Road that way but then it was going straight up the hill. In February and March we laid that out and it was determined that there was just no way to get that in and preserve the side of the mountain so it was decided to bring the road out into this tighter curve and then generally followed the plan back from there. But we attempted a different route that really was really really impossible.@
Angela Beeker - ASo it=s your testimony that this is the only way that the road@
Mr. Wagner - AThere=s a - all kinds of combinations - this is just the more esthetic and preserves the beauty of the land really. You could go anywhere actually but this just makes it nicer.@
Mr. Clark - ABut just so I can ask one more time Mr. Wagner, I=m sorry, it would be difficult as the road is presently laid out to make that curve - give that curve 110 degree radius, this curve right here?@
Mr. Wagner - A----- this right here continued on and made a 110 radius we would have been back up in here on the side of the mountain to try to get our slope.@
Mr. Clark - AAnd that=s where you would have to have more than a 2 to 1 cut if you changed the road at this point.@
Mr. Wagner - AYeh, you would probably have to bench the mountain in some way but the reason it turned at this point was to have this common area and not to create a danger at the lake and you know it could have been rerouted all the way over into here somehow but the topography still would have got to them somewhere. The radius of the road is so big it - there wasn=t room for it between the lake and this - actually this scarp nearly back over in here. It could have been rerouted but it - that was decided to be the best way to go with it and that=s why they=re applying for a variance. A lot of thought went into it.@
Chairman Hawkins - ADoes that answer your question?@
Mr. Clark - AAny other questions?@
Commissioner Ward - AOne question, Steve, what=s the percentage of grade on this, the maximum percentage?@
Mr. Wagner - AWell, its - the maximum through here is 15% in this curve. It goes from a flat to a 3% to a 7%, 12%, 15%, 11%, and then a general 6% on to a 3% and 4% back to the top of the mountain. When we tried it this way we had a solid 18% grade all the way up to about right here. By extending that road longer before you start it up the hill we could buck some of that grade before we got to the difficult terrain.@
Chairman Hawkins - AAnybody else have any more questions?@
Mr. Clark - AThat would be the evidence from the petitioner, Mr. Chairman.@
Chairman Hawkins - AThank you, Mr. Clark. Planning staff. Is there any questions I guess before you leave at this point. I think we=ve covered all those.@
Karen Smith - AMr. Chairman, before I begin I=m going to put into evidence an affidavit from our Vice-Chairman of the Planning Board, Jack Beatty, who isn=t going to be able to be here for the entire proceeding. I didn=t even know if he=d be here this morning. And also a memo from myself through Jack Beatty which explains the actions taken by the Planning Board when they reviewed this variance as well as some attachments. And I would also like to add that the material that you received as back-up to my first packet and to this was presented to the Planning Board.@
Chairman Hawkins - AThank you. Karen, are you going to summarize this or do we need to take time to read it?@
Karen Smith - AActually, I was going to read it into the record if that=s OK since it is the Planning Board=s action and not mine, not necessarily my own words. The other reason that we did this this way is our minutes from that Planning Board meeting have not been approved yet so this is really the best record that we have of the action that took place. I do have a draft set of minutes with me but this basically states the same thing.
The Henderson County Planning Board completed its review on November 30, 1999 of the application for the variance from the Subdivision Ordinance submitted by Smith-Lowe Development, Inc. for White=s Lake Subdivision. The Planning Board reviewed this application in conjunction with a Master Plan and Development Plans for a major subdivision. The Smith-Lowe Company is seeking variances from the center line radius requirements for two curves on White=s Lake Boulevard.
After hearing a report and recommendations from staff and a Planning Board subcommittee that had met to discuss the variance application as well as some other issues, the Planning Board voted unanimously (6 to 0) to send the recommendations which follow to the Commissioners:
The first recommendation references the variance application for the areas near lots #20 and #21, the split in-line turn around.
The second recommendation has to do with the other curve.
In making both variance recommendations, the Planning Board found and recommended that the Board of Commissioners find that, in both cases, the variances are in harmony with the general purpose and intent of the ordinance and preserves its spirit, that in granting the variance, the public safety and welfare would be assured and substantial justice done and that there are practical difficulties in the way of carrying out the strict letter of the ordinance.
I also added here that on November 30, 1999, the Planning Board approved the Master Plan and a revised Development Plan for White=s Lake subject to several conditions including the approval of the variances by the Board of Commissioners.
Are there any questions regarding that - the recommendations?@
Commissioner Moyer -AKaren, did the Planning Board or the Planning Board Staff talk to the developer and see if these conditions listed in the two recommendations were acceptable to them?@
Karen Smith -AThey did, both at the subcommittee level and at the full Planning Board meeting and the developer was agreeable to those conditions.@
Chairman Hawkins -AAny other questions for Karen at this point? Do you have any questions for Karen?@
Mr. Clark -ANone, thank you Mr. Chairman.@
Chairman Hawkins -AIs there any additional party=s evidence, I don=t think so. OK. Any rebuttal evidence that needs to be for the Board at this time? OK. Angie, help me here, I think we=ve got all the evidence and we=ll move on to closing remarks, if anyone has them. Either party want to have any closing remarks?@
Mr. Clark -AVery briefly. They say every Lawyer suffers from the pangs of an undelivered speech so I gotta get up and say something. Thank you for hearing our evidence today on behalf of White=s Lake Subdivision. I believe the evidence submitted by us and by the Planning Committee demonstrates that there are practical difficulties and an undue - unnecessary hardship in making the curve down at lot #41 meet the subdivision requirements for a private collector road. I think that the variance remains in harmony with the intent and spirit of the ordinance. It=s really as Steve Wagner testified, it=s really a better way to come in and while it may make that one curve not meet your subdivision road requirements, overall it=s going to be a better subdivision or better access. Also we=ve widened the pavement there so that the safety vehicles can pass. The requirements of your variance are 18 feet and we actually have a 22 foot road there. And on the other one, the one up around lot #21, it enhances the public safety and is actually preferred by the Saluda Fire Department to have the turn around there. So I think for all those reasons, public safety, its in harmony with the spirit and intent, and the practical difficulties, unnecessary hardship, we=ve met those requirements and would ask the Board to grant the variance. Thank you.@
Chairman Hawkins -AThank you. Planning Staff, do you have any closing remarks?@
Karen Smith -ANo sir.@
Chairman Hawkins -AOK. I think the evidence has been presented and the closing remarks concluded and it would be appropriate for the Commissioners to discuss the issue presented today at this time. Anyone have any comments that they want to make?@
Commissioner Moyer -AAs part of the Public Hearing or are you going to come out of the Public@
Chairman Hawkins -ANo, we=re in a Quasi-Judicial Hearing. We do this I think still open, is that correct?@
Angela Beeker -AIf the Board has heard all the evidence it wishes to hear, it would be appropriate to close it. If you think that there might be questions that might come up as part of your discussion - that you would like to ask further questions, then you should hold it open.@
Commissioner Moyer -AWell then, I=ll make my statement now. I think the purpose of the radius requirements put in the ordinance as we=ve discussed is safety and mainly for fire company vehicles and I think you=ve seen from the evidence that the attempt was made to work with the Planning Board and with the Saluda Fire Company to solve those problems and fitting into the character of the land. And I think they=ve done that in both cases and I think it would be very appropriate to grant the variances under the terms that we have to meet with the recommendations and conditions that the Planning Board put which are acceptable to the applicant and that=s what I will either move now or when we come out of the Hearing, whichever you prefer.@
Chairman Hawkins -AOK, thank you Bill. We=ll do that. I was just going to add that the areas that we=re required to find findings in - practical difficulties, I think that that=s certainly been demonstrated by the evidence presented by Mr. Wagner, the surveyor. He has indicated, of course, that you know if you wanted to build a curve that way you could but then I think you get into practicality of it. Is that reasonable and in this case I think it is not and I think that=s what ------ (2 people speaking).@
Commissioner Moyer -AAnd you don=t accomplish anything significant.@
Chairaman Hawkins -AIn the area of certainly with harmony with the general purpose and intent of the order of the ordinance, I think that=s been very well demonstrated and as was pointed out by Mr. Clark, certainly public safety is probably enhanced with this particular arrangement subject to the conditions that the Planning Board has set forward and I think that those are the three areas that we need to make findings in and Mr. Moyer has a motion on the board at this time and we can do that either in the hearing or we can go out of the hearing unless there is@
Angela Beeker -AI would close the hearing before you make your decision.@
Chairman Hawkins -AIs there any other questions.@
Commissioner Kumor -AI make the motion that we close this public hearing.@
Chairman Hawkins -AAll those in favor of that motion, say aye.@
Chairman Hawkins -AAnd, being out of public hearing now, I would just call to question the motion that Commissioner Moyer has made to approve the variance as indicated by the Planning Board and direct staff to come back with those findings of fact so we can make a written reply. Any discussion on that?@
Commissioner Kumor -AMr. Chairman, just to compliment Mr. Wagner, we=ve seen a lot of subdivisions that ask for a variance and don=t come up with creative trade-offs and I believe that especially in his split road, they=ve come up with quite a creative trade-off and meet the spirit of what we want to do and do pay attention to the environment and I find they worked very hard to make sure they addressed the safety issues as Mr. Moyer pointed out.@
Chairman Hawkins -AThank you. Any other discussion? All those in favor of that motion, say aye.@
Chairman Hawkins -AThank you.@
There was discussion about adding some time onto one of the meetings to try to develop a response back to Mayor Niehoff and the City Council. It was decided to visit that on the 22nd at the Budget Workshop.
Commissioner Kumor made the motion for the Board to go into Closed Session as allowed pursuant to NCGS 143-318.11 for the following reasons:
1.(a)(6) To consider the qualifications, competence, performance, character, fitness,
Conditions of appointment, or conditions of initial employment of an individual
public officer or employee or prospective public officer or employee.
All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Commissioner Ward made the motion for the Board to go out of Closed Session. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
There was no action following Closed Session.
There being no further business to come before the Board, the meeting was adjourned.
Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board Grady Hawkins, Chairman