STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY OF HENDERSON FEBRUARY 12, 2001
The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a special called meeting at 1:00 p.m. in the Commissioners= Conference Room of the Henderson County Office Building at 100 North King Street, Hendersonville, North Carolina.
Those present were: Chairman Bill Moyer, Vice-Chair Marilyn Gordon, Commissioner Charlie Messer, County Manager David E. Nicholson, Interim County Attorney Jennifer O. Jackson, and Clerk to the Board Elizabeth W. Corn. Commissioner Don Ward arrived during the meeting.
Also present were: Public Information Officer Chris S. Coulson, Planning Director Karen C. Smith, Planner Nippy Page, and Planner Josh Freeman.
Absent was: Commissioner Grady Hawkins.
CALL TO ORDER/WELCOME
Chairman Moyer called the meeting to order and welcomed those in attendance, especially five members of the Henderson County Planning Board. Commissioner Hawkins advised the Chairman that he had hurt his back and that Commissioner Ward was taking him to the hospital. Commissioner Hawkins will not be here at all and Commissioner Ward plans to arrive late.
Chairman Moyer reminded those present that in July of 1999 the Board adopted the County Wide Land Use Regulation Guide. It laid out some steps to be followed with respect to the Land Use Plan as adopted by the Board of Commissioners. There were three key strategies laid out in this plan; one dealt with open use zoning and a rewrite of the zoning ordinance, step II was a study of the areas adjacent to municipalities (our ETJ boundaries), and step III was the study of the growth areas and major corridors in our county. Work has been going on for many months on a draft of the Open Use Zoning Ordinance or provisions and also on a Zoning Ordinance Rewrite which the Planning Board has now turned over to the Commissioners for action. Chairman Moyer stated that in light of what has happened, particularly with respect to the asphalt plant and other things, it was time to revisit this plan and the timetable that has been established so far to see whether there were any changes necessary.
The Board was hoping to hold off on land use decisions until they got the Rewrite of the Zoning Ordinance. Things have happened to cause that decision to be questioned. Chairman Moyer=s projection would be that it will be 6 - 8 months at the best to complete the work on the Zoning Ordinance, if the Board sends it back to the Planning Board, they will be required to do some work on it and then have public input and public hearings. Chairman Moyer now feels that the Board should develop a short term plan, maybe a 3 month plan that would carry us over in the interim to provide some basic protections to the county while we proceed with the implementation of the Land Use Plan.
Chairman Moyer proposed the following but also asked for comment from the Board regarding:
1. Board of Commissioners take a look at what type of plan the Board could
enact on a three month basis that would provide some immediate protections
for compatible uses in residences and other areas, and see what the Board could do
while they proceed with their schedule. Obviously, while they are working on
their plan they have the bulk of the county unprotected against certain things
occurring and are not in a position to put in the protections that they would like.
If the Board chooses to go back and take a look at Open Use Zoning, from one
standpoint, they could probably implement open use zoning in a three month
2. Board of Commissioners could do everything by stand alone ordinances, which is
currently being done.
Chairman Moyer suggested seeing what the Board can do on a three month basis, a six month basis, a nine month basis, twelve month and so on. In this way the Board would have a pretty detailed schedule of where they are headed.
In reviewing the current Land Use Guide, Commissioner Gordon felt that it was a good guide, that the Board did not need to start over. She did feel that it has taken longer than was anticipated for some of the steps to take place but it has been a logical, methodical approach for getting to where the Board wanted to be. She felt that there were ways that the Board could create a short range plan that could complement and facilitate implementation of the longer range plan. She felt it was very important to approach the short range plan in a way that would protect the rights of both the property owner (his ability to use property) and the neighboring properties and their rights also. She stated that she was very reluctant to head down the path of a catalog of ordinances on individual uses.
Commissioner Messer stated that he felt it was going to take some time. If the Board does a three month plan and picks out the conditional uses, it may cover some of the bases of the growth problem that is occurring in Henderson County. He expressed the need to get the people involved. He also felt the need for a short term plan to work for all the people and then go from there. He again stated that public involvement was very important. Once the Board develops a three month plan he hoped that they would keep the momentum going and get some protection out there for the people of the county.
Commissioner Gordon said AI guess we=re gonna have to define what is a fundamental level of protection, what do we think will be the baseline that we need to establish to go forward?@
Chairman Moyer asked Karen Smith to bring the Board up to date on where we stand currently on safety net zoning, etc.
When the Henderson County Planning Board sent the Board of Commissioners a recommendation for the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite, at that point there were some amendments included in the text that applied to the Open Use District. That is the most recent set of recommendations.
She stated that however, to go back a little bit, the first full recommendation received from the Planning Board was in January of 2000. This draft was recommended by the Planning Board after the Board of Commissioners had sent the Planning Board a draft in the summer of 1999. The Planning Board sent that forward. The Board of Commissioners then had a work session on that in July of 2000. At that point the Board of Commissioners asked the Planning Board to make some changes. There were several uses that the Commissioners gave further direction to the Planning Board on. The Planning Board continued its work on the Rewrite and on making these changes to the Open Use District. In the meantime also, the Zoning Rewrite and the Open Use District were converging. At that point, the Board of Commissioners gave the Planning Board direction to include that in the Rewrite. The Rewrite has the most recent proposal by the Planning Board which incorporated those changes the Commissioners had asked for and merged the two into one text.
Karen Smith reviewed several hand-outs with the Board.
C January 5, 2000 Draft and Site Standards Chart (reviewed)
C January 7, 2000 Updated Side Issues List (for January 5, 2000 Draft) (reviewed)
C September 26, 2000 Site Standards Chart (based on changes reflected in Zoning
Ordinance Rewrite Draft) (reviewed)
In September of 2000, the Planning Board had finalized their recommendations on the Open Use District and that chart was reviewed (green).
Chairman Moyer asked AIf we wanted to move within three months on this, as I indicated, we probably would have to use this as a district in the old zoning ordinance, is that right Karen?@
Karen Smith answered that was right, without having to adopt the whole rewrite. The Board would probably want to go back to the format where the Board was looking at it as part of the old Zoning Ordinance. It would be the Open Use District plus any amendments that would be related to that which would bring this old Ordinance up to par with the Safety Net District or Open Use District. Chairman Moyer asked if that presented any special problems. Karen answered no, but the Planning Board would want to know how the Commissioners feel about the changes the Planning Board recommended through the rewrite. Staff could then insert those changes into the January 2000 draft.
Jennifer Jackson stated that when this draft was put together, staff had struggled with some of the Board (of Commissioners=) definitional issues as to what size businesses the Board was targeting. If the Board wanted to add this in, staff would need some guidance on exactly what the Board of Commissioners is looking for. Commissioner Gordon liked the possibility of rolling some of the specific industries that were categorized originally into the heavy industry classification. The Board would need to establish some criteria for what is a heavily impacting industry. She suggested that the idea of things that require special permitting may be a good way to go on that. She felt that was a more fair, even handed approach.
Jennifer Jackson reminded the Board that there have been no formal public input sessions on this draft.
Commissioner Ward arrived at this point in the meeting, approx. 1:30 p.m. (The Board was still reviewing the green sheet) The green sheet contained the changes with respect to Safety Net or Open Use District that the Planning Board put in based on the last comments from the Commissioners.
Chairman Moyer asked Commissioner Ward for his input as the others had already given theirs regarding implementing a three month plan to provide some basic protection. The Board has been discussing what changes they would like to think about in revising the Open Use District so that the Board could put it into effect promptly. The addition of a heavy industry classification has been discussed, similar to what was in the original draft with no size but to cover things that require air quality permits, water quality permits, etc. Then it was suggested by Commissioner Gordon that the Board take a look at a number of the categories they have broken out i.e., asphalt plants. There are a number of them that could be rolled into the heavy industry classification and have one set of standards that apply to the majority, if not all of the kind of industries being looked at. Chairman Moyer stated that it was the sense of the three Commissioners present that the Board needed to stay with the Land Use Regulation Guide but needed to come up with a short term, more expedient plan to build some immediate protection there.
Commissioner Ward stated that he was in total agreement, stating that we need a emergency plan. He stated that there are two or three areas where the agriculture community needs some work implemented into the emergency plan and the Land Use Plan. He stated that the farmer needs to be considered and his property rights as well as the developer who may adjoin his property.
Commissioner Gordon felt the Board was in agreement on that approach, stating that too often land use regulations have been looked at as a way of protecting residential property when in reality it should protect both the residential property and the other uses with the ability to get the best use from property.
In summary, additions to text:
C Heavy Industry
businesses that require special permits such as air quality or water quality
C Merge as many industrial categories into Heavy Industry category as possible
C Temporary and portable uses
Chairman Moyer asked Karen Smith to bring the Board up to date on how the Planning Board was suggesting handling adult establishments.
Karen explained that both in the Zoning Rewrite Draft and the January 2000 Draft, the Planning Board decided that [and they were under the impression that open use would be applied countywide] adult establishments should be a special use in the heavy industrial (I-2) district and in the C-4 (highway commercial) district with a set of site standards similar to those the Board considered several years ago when discussing a stand alone ordinance. Those were the only two zoning districts, even if open use was added, where those uses would be allowed.
Chairman Moyer asked Karen AIf we implemented Open Use under the existing Zoning Ordinance but in less than all of the county, how would that work?@
Karen explained that in those areas that would not have zoning, would not be protected from adult establishments. They would be allowed therefore in C-4, I-2 and unzoned areas.
There was some brief discussion regarding fixed/permanent versus portable/temporary industry and the need for some clarification.
Chairman Moyer stated AKeep in mind as we talk about this open use, if we go forth under the old ordinance as already indicated, we=ll need a text amendment which will be the wording that we=re talking about now and then we will have to have a map amendment which would be a change to the map and I think we can get to the map issue next. But I would suggest as we complete or finish getting any comments that anybody has on this, and then I work with Karen and Jennifer to try to get a draft back to you with the changes that we=re talking about here as quickly as we possibly can and we can talk about a schedule at the end of the meeting. But that=s from a text standpoint what I had in mind. So do you have any other open thoughts, in other words it would come back again and then of course there=ll be time for public hearing, public input later on so it won=t be our last shot but to get the process moving again, my objective today was to get questions and issues like we=re getting now, get another draft back out on a stand alone basis to you as quickly as possible and move forward.@
There was brief discussion of how this short term plan would affect the municipalities and their annexation laws (ETJ extensions). The county plans to still work closely with the municipalities.
Chairman Moyer asked the Board to finalize any comments regarding the text because Karen will have to pull out some of this wording from the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite and then staff and the Chairman will massage it based on the comments today and hope to have it back to the Board of Commissioners very quickly. He further stated that the Board would have plenty of opportunity for input later, he just wanted to get a starting draft before the Board for them to work with, from this meeting.
Jennifer Jackson stated that she and Karen would like to have the ability to take a look at the definitions that are included in this Safety Net Draft and try to make them as consistent as they can with the definitions that are currently in the Zoning Rewrite.
Chairman Moyer stated that the Board would move on to the map and asked ADo we want to do all the unzoned part of the county ... or which way do we want to go?@ His personal view was to be able to implement this quickly and to recognize the areas where we=re getting our growth that might
need the protection on a three month basis. The Board is looking at trying to cover the interim until they get the full Zoning Ordinance in, he felt that it was not necessary to do the whole county. He felt the Board could specifically exclude some areas where they don=t appear to be having the growth where there appears to be less of a need to implement it immediately and revisit that question when they get to the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite. Chairman Moyer felt that the Board could take areas like Green River, some or all of Edneyville, Bat Cave and Gerton and exclude some of those areas and come up with reasonable guidelines, hit the areas where we know we=re getting our growth and where we have the greatest potential for something to come in the next three to six months, while the Board continues to work on the rest of the plan.
Commissioner Gordon stated AI think we have to bear in mind if this isn=t enacted countywide, then we will have restrictions on some areas of the county and other areas of the county will have no restrictions and we=ll be in a similar situation to what we are now and uses that are heavily restricted in zoned areas then gravitate to the areas that are unzoned and that=s just the way it works. So that is a risk that=s there. I think if you=re going to make a decision not to do this countywide, it needs to be based on some sort of standards, a rationale other than just where we might think growth might happen, it needs to be on where the utilities are reasonably available, where the roads are running, where the other things that are necessary for some of these things to take place are reasonably there. We can, the possibility of some of these things happening in the far end of Green River would be very remote because the other things they need aren=t there, while the possibility of it happening out in Etowah might be pretty significant because there are things there that could make it happen so there needs to be a basis for, if the decision is to go with only certain areas, there needs to be a rationale for it.@
Commissioner Ward felt that in your emergency plan you need to protect the highly populated areas and the corridors.
Chairman Moyer asked ADo we want to approach this map on a countywide basis or do we want to explore whether there are criteria, more specific like Don mentioned [population and corridors] that we could identify for implementation on a, again we=re looking at a three month plan still. What is the, what=s the general feeling?@
Following some discussion, Chairman Moyer stated that they had had a good discussion on the map amendment but didn=t have to resolve the map amendment today, Commissioner Hawkins is not present. When the Board has a workshop on the next draft of the Open Use District, they can revisit this issue. The Board may be able to think of a way where you could have a public input session at one of our meetings to get input on how broad an area should be, before the Board makes the final decision.
He asked that they move on to a 6 month plan.
Chairman Moyer hopes to get the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite completed within 6 months and ready to go into effect. Commissioner Gordon agreed that it was critical to get the Rewrite complete because that is the foundation that the Board will go forward from, it has to be the number one priority after the Open Use District is resolved. The board was in agreement.
Chairman Moyer stated that once the three month - emergency plan is complete and the Rewrite is finished, then where should the Board go from there? He felt that the Mills River project should then be completed with maybe a 12 month date for having that concluded. Then it was suggested that the next project would be to take a close look at the corridors.
Comprehensive Land Use Plan - Update
Chairman Moyer stated that it would be ideal to have that done before the Board does any of the zoning work but he thinks the Board can get it done relatively quickly so it can be a major and a valuable step in determining how to proceed. He felt that this should be put on a fast tract and he welcomed input on proceeding.
Commissioner Gordon felt that yes, the Board needs to proceed on the Update. She questioned how it will fit into the timeline. She felt that the Board needed this completed as they study the corridors.
David Nicholson stated that he and his staff have already begun to plan for the update of the Comprehensive Land Use Plan and it is hoped that an updated plan will be ready for adoption by 2003 as the current plan is a ten year plan and the ten years will be up. He talked about getting a consultant to help develop the revised plan and get it ready to be compatible with the GIS system.
Chairman Moyer asked that the Comprehensive Land Use Plan be updated as promptly as possible. He would like to have it completed before the Board does the Mills River project so that they have a solid basis for it. He questioned whether it would be wise, in light of the heavy workload on the Planning Staff, to form a group of individuals from the Planning Board and citizens and charge them with the task of bringing the Land Use Plan back within a set deadline.
There was much discussion of several different ways this could be accomplished as well as some ways that were successful last time the Land Use Plan was done.
The Chairman of the Planning Board, Ted Pearce, was present and Chairman Moyer asked for his input. He stated that obviously once the Land Use Study is presented to the Commission, the Board of Commissioners will give the Planning Board some guidance at that point. Once they reach that point and actually get into the zoning issues, they plan to appoint at least three people from the study area to the subcommittee to help come up with the recommendations to the full Board. He stated that Staff is currently checking on the legal implications to be sure there will be no problems with doing so. They would like to have a strong consensus from the community.
Chairman Moyer then asked if the Zoning Ordinance has gone out to the county departments yet. Karen Smith answered that it has not. It was the consensus of the Board for staff to get the Rewrite out to county departments, groups, etc., including Environmental Advisory Committee so that we can begin to get comments back from them.
There has been much discussion over the years of whether Henderson County should join the Federal Flood Insurance. David has appointed Karen, Rocky and Gary as a subcommittee to take a close look at this issue.
There was some brief discussion regarding graveyards and the moving of them. Commissioner Messer felt there should be some protection for family graveyards. There are some very clear state laws about this issue. Staff will research this and provide some information back to the Board of Commissioners.
There being no further business, Commissioner Messer made the motion to adjourn the meeting at approximately 2:45 p.m. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board William L. Moyer, Chairman