STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY OF HENDERSON MAY 4, 2000
The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a special called meeting at 7:00 p.m. in the Commissioners= Conference Room of the Henderson County Office Building at 100 North King Street, Hendersonville, North Carolina.
Those present were: 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, County Engineer Gary Tweed, and Utilities Director Jim Erwin.
Absent were Chairman Grady Hawkins and County Manager David E. Nicholson.
CALL TO ORDER/WELCOME
Vice-Chair Moyer called the meeting to order and asked for a motion to go into Public Hearing.
Commissioner Kumor made the motion for the Board to go into Public Hearing on the Proposed Extension of the Boundaries of Cane Creek Water and Sewer District. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Opening Remarks - Gary Tweed
Gary explained that staff had held an information session at 6:30 to answer question raised by public.
During the 1970s, Henderson County in cooperation with the Metropolitan Sewerage District of Buncombe County extended some interceptor sewers into the northern portion of Henderson County in a project that led to some sewer service to the southern end of Buncombe County. As a result of that project, we had some interceptor sewers in northern Henderson County, primarily in the Fletcher area. The County formed the Cane Creek Water & Sewer District in 1981 and started looking at developing sewer projects in that area. In 1988 the Cane Creek District borrowed money from Farmer=s Home Administration to build collection sewers which were pretty much installed in the Fletcher Hills and Wildwood Garden subdivision area. In the >90s we had some expansions of the district into the Broadpointe Industrial Park and other areas out toward Hoopers Creek, etc.
Last year, in addition to sewers, we saw the start up of the Regional Mills River Water Treatment Facility which is pretty much in the middle of this proposed expansion area. We have a 24 inch water main now running back through this Mills River area back into Buncombe County. As a result of the water system and the expansion of Broadpointe, we started getting requests for water and sewer services in that area. We began looking at a means to manage those requests. Staff and the Board felt that we needed to expand the sanitary district into the Mills River area.
Gary explained that the above is what has led us up to this Public Hearing to gain input from the public on the proposed expansion. The only project we are looking at is continuation of the 24 inch interceptor at Broadpointe Industrial Park on up the French Broad River, then up the Mills River into the Mills River area. That=s the only sewer project that=s being contemplated at this time.
Expansion - Jim Erwin
Mr. Erwin reminded the Board that in December an annexation package was brought before the Board concerning annexing about 1,300 properties into the Cane Creek Water and Sewer District (described above in Gary Tweed=s remarks) and at that time the Board directed staff to proceed with the annexation process. Since that time several things have been accomplished, one is that the Board set this public hearing. On March 22, 2000, Mr. Tweed filed an annexation report with the Clerk to the Board. On March 23, notices of the public hearing were mailed to all the property owners that would be affected by this proposed annexation. On April 16, the notice of public hearing was advertised in the Times-News.
The Board could take action at this meeting after the public has been given the chance to comment.
1. Philip Stanley - Mr. Stanley has a dental practice in Mills River. He asked who would be paying for the project, stating that he felt that Asheville should pay their fair share as they use the water for growth.
Commissioner Moyer asked Gary Tweed to comment with respect to the size issue.
Gary Tweed stated that the notice that was sent out was the legal description of the boundary expansion, not the sewer line. Some people may have gotten confused.
2. Nat Lynch - Mr. Lynch is a 60 year resident of Henderson County, living behind the new Marlow School. He asked if his community (mainly senior citizens) was going to get water and sewer as it is not in the current expansion area. He is in favor of the proposed expansion.
3. Ken Marlowe - Mr. Marlowe is a resident of Highway #280, owning property on both sides of Butler Bridge Road. He asked when would he get a sewer line for his business. He is in favor of the proposed expansion.
Commissioner Gordon asked Mr. Marlowe if he had had a chance to speak with Mr. Tweed before the public hearing. He had not. She informed him that Gary Tweed would be glad to go over the proposed project plans with him and answer his question.
Doug Gregory had signed up but did not wish to speak when the time came. He thought that he was just signing in for the meeting.
Bill DeOliveira had signed up but did not wish to speak when the time came.
Commissioner Moyer asked if there was anyone else who wished to speak as some people had arrived after the meeting had begun.
4. Dan Waddell - Mr. Waddell is a property owner in the area and spoke in favor of the proposed expansion. He spoke of the dire necessity for the new line in the business community of Mills River and Highway 280.
5. Ben Smith - Mr. Smith asked about the criteria that was used in establishing the boundary needs.
He spoke of the need for sewer service in Etowah and wondered why the boundary wasn=t extended into the Etowah community.
Gary Tweed stated that we are aware of the need for sewer service in many parts of the county, far beyond the current expansion district. NC State law limits the expansion of a sewer district - we are limited in each expansion that we have to be at least 1/8 contiguous with the current boundary. That has controlled how large the proposed expansion area could be.
Commissioner Kumor mentioned the problem with Mills River Elementary School and the Board had to decide whether to put some money into a system just for the school or more money to take care of the school=s problems long term and be able to benefit more customers.
Commissioner Gordon explained that the purpose of this meeting was to discuss expansion of the district, construction of the line will be another meeting. The Board is trying to think long-range and not do a stop-gap solution here. They want something that will allow expansion in phases.
Commissioner Moyer stated that expansion of sewers is very expensive.
6. Pat Banks - Ms. Banks stated that she had to abandon her residence because of traffic. They own the big yellow victorian house that sits right at the intersection. They cannot sell it as commercial because there is no sewer. She is in favor of the proposed expansion district.
7. John Hollomon - Mr. Hollomon asked if the issue of zoning was tied to this sewer project. He spoke in favor of the proposed expansion of the sewer district but reserved approval of land use/zoning.
There was much discussion with each Commissioner having differing views regarding land use and zoning.
Commissioner Moyer - AI think the way I would try to phrase it and I think each Commissioner at this stage has to do it - these are two separate decisions. I think regardless of where you come out on the land use issue - I think we all think we need to take - well I shouldn=t say that - I think at least at this stage we say we should study that and see what the right thing to do is if we=re gonna make a decision with respect to sewer and I - my personal view is when you start extending sewer - when you look at roads and things like that you need to look at the entire picture. That does not mean that one decision has to be made - that may be my opinion, it may be entirely different for some of the other Commissioners. But I think what we=re gonna try to do in fairness to the County is when we get an issue with respect to sewer or roads look at the bigger picture to see what the implications are and that doesn=t bind us with respect to a decision but at least have all the issues out on the table. So have a complete understanding before we make a decision.@
Mr. Hollomon - AFair enough.@
Commissioner Gordon - AI think Bill made - gave a good - its a difficult question to answer because there are very mixed feelings about the direction we take. My view would be that any decision we made should be based on really - you know I consider uh Mills River the treasure of Western North Carolina and I don=t want to see us waste it and I think that needs to be the guiding force - we can - I think the important thing about land use planning is what are you trying to accomplish and as long as we get the right goals in place and we=re agreed on what we=re trying to accomplish, that we really want to best utilize and best care for - really the best area in Western North Carolina - then we=ll be OK - uh and I hope that that=s - sincerely hope that that=s the track we=ll take and that we=ll respect people like Mr. Hollomon who have been there for a long time and have taken very good care of - of it and uh understand that they - that=s what they intend to do in the future.@
Commissioner Ward - AAnd I guess it=s my turn. Uh I think the two works hand in hand. Until we get our new zoning rewrite back which really defines the districts - uh it would be hard to call land use protection - I guess that would be a good term for everybody=s rights and the County like I said it=s a huge investment. Mr. Moyer, Mrs. Gordon, and Mrs. Kumor makes good points. We=re gonna spend a lot of money out there and there=s a lot of small houses - there=s a lot of small businesses that has got a huge investment in it too - in their properties and we don=t want to turn our backs on those people either. Johnny=s got a - and his sister has got a place which is prime for industrial development. There=s some Carlands out there that=s got prime land for that. Until we get our zoning rewrite back it wouldn=t be fair for this Board to sit and say we=re gonna do traditional zoning when we=ve got to look at our high growth and our corridor areas for protection of the people that=s lived there all their lives and the new people that=s coming in. Uh and we gotta be fair to all of em and - like - they said that=s a totally separate meeting. But I think the two do work hand in hand with each other.@
Commissioner Moyer - AAnd I think the other thing we have to look at when we run sewer is - we certainly in my view have a problem with affordable housing in - in our County and it keeps getting worse and sewer is one way to help deal with that. Cause you certainly can have higher density and different type of development as the one - I forget which gentleman mentioned it - but it=s certainly true - I mean if you can only put one house on a two acre lot - the cost of some of our land - it gets pretty expensive to build. When you bring sewer in and have good sewer and good water then you can change the economics of that and certainly I know this Board - one of the things you=re looking at is affordable housing cause we need to deal with that issue and we=re trying to deal with that issue and I think that has to be part of any sewer discussion as well and I=m only speaking for myself now but that=s - I think is going to be important.@
Commissioner Ward - AAnd we must remember that we=re already a little bit under some land use protection because we=re in the middle of a watershed out there. So you know we=ve got a level - basically we=re already there so you know it=s already in the works - like it or not - it=s already there because of our water treatment plants.@
Commissioner Moyer - AIf there=s no further comment, I=m not trying to cut off anybody who wants to come forward, we=ll just officially close the@
Commissioner Kumor made the motion to close the public hearing. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Mr. Moyer asked Commissioner Gordon to start the discussion.
Commissioner Gordon - AWell I think we probably already had a little bit of discussion. Uh, I want to be sure that everyone is aware and I know the Commissioners are aware that I think last year the - this Board appointed an Advisory Board to the Cane Creek Water & Sewer District and pulled in residents of the Fletcher community uh and we have one of the members here tonight I think - Mr. Meadows from Mills River so that there would be input - not - and these decisions would not be made just that affect the Cane Creek Sewer District just by the Board of Commissioners but there would be the opportunity for people in that area to - to have some say and that Board - uh Advisory Board did review all of this and in quite a bit of detail and did agree with the extension based on Mr. Tweed=s recommendations because we do understand there are a lot of perimeters we have to fit into and - and we=re- we=re fully in support of this as a - as a part of really a planned effort to provide the kind of service we should be in that area.@
Commissioner Moyer - AI think where I - and I failed to mention at the beginning - but the Chairman had to be out of town - could not make the meeting so whatever we do I think we should have our discussion, have the record available and not take any action until our next meeting in deference to the Chairman, so everybody can participate and if that=s agreeable I want to continue with the discussion, will build the record, complete the record and then hopefully we can schedule it at our next meeting or the meeting following if that=s agreeable to everybody.@
Each Commissioner answered that that was fine.
Commissioner Moyer - AMs. Kumor, do you have any comments?@
Commissioner Kumor - AUh - about the expansion of the district@
Commissioner Moyer - AYes@
Commissioner Kumor - AI think it goes along with our long range plans for - uh years ago we did a - a sewer study of the whole county and we=re just finally starting to get some of that study into place and start to allow us to look sensibly at the infrastructure needs throughout the whole county and I think once the people - as the gentleman raised the question in Etowah - start to understand how a sewer line is a building block and you have to - you=d have to start - we tell them it=s based on gravity but you - it flows downhill but you build your lines up stream. So we have to start and we=ll be going up stream in the years to come. So that=s my comments.@
Commissioner Moyer - ACommissioner Ward, do you have anything further?@
Commissioner Ward - AI agree with Ms. Kumor, this is the first step of a large program that the County is undertaking. Uh and I agree with Mr. Stanley - I think other than Henderson County, Asheville is gonna benefit as much as we are from this and I would really love for them to kick in on this project but I think it - they will also kick in as part - as future grants that we might - or hopefully get because of the water treatment plants - uh that are in the vicinity - uh I think it=s a proactive way to address some of our sewer needs in that side of the county and as Ms. Kumor said - you know we=ve also had a large plan that even goes to Dana, Upward, and Edneyville so this is - luckily for a lot of residents in Mills River - they was first on the agenda. So I=m in favor of this one, Mr. Vice-Chair.@
Commissioner Moyer - AYou know it might be helpful, Commissioner Kumor, if you would explain - people keep referring to Asheville but we really have a Metropolitan Service District which is really the key statement to add another level of complexity which we have to deal with.@
Commissioner Kumor - ARight, that may help Ms. Banks understand this. In Asheville and in Buncombe County water and sewer are two separate departments and MSD which is the Metropolitan Sewerage District is an entity that we deal with and we buy capacity from - or we have been allocated capacity of a million gallons a day or - more or less so that we can - Asheville or Buncombe County MSD will accept that sewage from us and we then market it to the people in our Cane Creek District. In Henderson County Cane Creek residents - if you=re in the Cane Creek District more than likely your sewage in the near future or in the far future will go to MSD. If you=re in Henderson County=s Mud Creek District which is the south part of Henderson County and - and based on gravity goes all the way out - probably toward the Justice Academy. That sewage would be treated at the City of Hendersonville=s Treatment Facility so and we have - uh arrangements with the City of Hendersonville to treat the affluent from the lines that we would put in the ground for our Mud Creek District so when you think of water and sewer going together - Buncombe County doesn=t think of it that way and Asheville - they have two separate entities and the MSD is a free standing independent authority that runs sewage where it=s needed in Buncombe County and based on their agreement with Henderson County, in Henderson County. The Regional Water Authority is an entity of the City of Asheville and it=s purpose is to make sure that water gets to the places that it has to get without regard to where sewer is going. There are in - they have an agreement with us to provide some water lines in areas of Henderson County that were not going to be served by the City of Hendersonville based on geography and if you think of the County - the City of Hendersonville is able to serve kinda going out 191 with water and kinda going up 25 but there=s that vast area that=s on 280 that the geography has not allowed the lines to go nor has development occurred there in the past to make it even interesting for the City of Hendersonville and it was more reasonable for the water to come down from Asheville and it was even more reasonable once the 24 inch line was put in there. So it=s - without regard to anything else but political decision making, that=s how the infrastructure of water and sewer has been determined in both the northern part of Henderson County and the southern part and Ms. Banks, I=m sorry if I=ve confused you. OK@
Commissioner Moyer - AAnd I think the other issue with respect to sewer and you correct me Commissioner Gordon if I - I mis-state this but - though MSD will treat what we have, they have a policy and they apply it equally to Asheville, Buncombe, and everybody. If we want a line, they=ll work with us but we pay for it. They won=t put a cent into help running that line and that makes Asheville furious and everybody else but they apply, as far as I know, apply that rule right across the line so even if there=s a need and we prove a need, if we want that line we=re gonna pay for it - when I say we collectively the County and the citizens and the businesses and everybody like that.@
Commissioner Kumor - AWhich is - which is really the way we work with the City of Hendersonville also. If - there=s a need in the Mud Creek District for sewage, the City of Hendersonville doesn=t lay the lines, they just will agree to treat whatever comes through those lines but it=s up to the taxpayers of Henderson County to put the lines in.@
Commissioner Moyer - AAll right and I think you have gotten on the record that your Advisory Committee strongly endorses this - I don=t want to add words.@
Commissioner Gordon - AUm huh@
Commissioner Moyer - ASo we can build that record and I think as County Attorney is there anything else we need to do? - I miss anything?@
Jennifer Jackson - ANo sir, I don=t think so.@
Commissioner Moyer - AOne last chance - if anybody has any questions or comments - I think you have heard the - the comments from all of us fairly much in support of this but again as I say in deference, we=ll put this off for official action to probably our next meeting or the meeting there - thereafter. That will not create a problem will it Gary?@
Gary Tweed - ANo sir, regardless of when you take action, it does not become effective until July 1 - one thing I failed to mention is that even though you may approve expansion of the district today, it will not become effective until July 1 and there again that is by State Statute.@
Commissioner Moyer - AAre there any other steps that have to take place after we approve it? Is that the final step in the process and then it will automatically become effective July 1?@
Gary Tweed - AYes sir.@
Commissioner Moyer - AOK@
Jim Erwin - AWe just have to record it at the Register of Deeds Office and publish it in the paper but there=s no time frame on that that will hold us up.@
Commissioner Ward - AOther than money to build it@
Commissioner Moyer - AWell - it doesn=t cause anybody to change the boundaries, it=s what happens afterwards. All right, if - if there are no other questions or comments, let=s have a motion to adjourn.@
Commissioner Kumor made the motion to adjourn the meeting. All voted in favor and the motion carried. Approx. 7:35 p.m.
Commissioner Moyer thanked everyone once again for coming and stated that if anyone had any further questions, County Engineer Gary Tweed would try to answer them.
Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board Grady Hawkins, Chairman