STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA                                          BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS

COUNTY OF HENDERSON                                                                               APRIL 23, 2001


The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a special called meeting at 2:00 p.m. in the Commissioners= Conference Room of the Henderson County Office Building at 100 North King Street, Hendersonville, North Carolina.


Those present were: Chairman Bill Moyer, Vice-Chair Marilyn Gordon, Commissioner Grady Hawkins, Commissioner Don Ward, Commissioner Charlie Messer, County Manager David E. Nicholson, County Attorney Angela S. Beeker, and Clerk to the Board Elizabeth W. Corn.


Also present were: Assistant County Attorney Jennifer O. Jackson, Planning Director Karen C. Smith, Environmental Planner Nippy Page, and Public Information Officer Chris S. Coulson.



Chairman Moyer called the meeting to order at approx. 2:09 and welcomed those in attendance, stating that this workshop would be devoted to Open Use Zoning discussion.  The Board had completed five public input sessions, four of them spread throughout the county and one of them in this room. The Board had heard from the citizens who chose to participate.  On April 19, at a special meeting, the Henderson County Planning Board at the Commissioner=s request met to discuss Open Use and to come up with a recommendation for the Board.   Chairman Moyer turned the meeting over to Karen Smith at this time.



Karen explained that the Henderson County Planning Board met for a Special Called Meeting on April 19, 2001, to discuss the proposed text amendments to the Zoning Ordinance related to the proposed Open Use Zoning as well as the two options under consideration by the Board of Commissioners for amending the Official Zoning Map through the application of the Open Use District.


The following Planning Board members attended the meeting: Chairman Tedd Pearce, Vice-Chairman Walter Carpenter, Leon Allison, Jack Beattie, Jack Lynch, and Valerie Welbourn.  Mr. Allison had to leave the meeting prior to both the vote on the text and the vote on the map, although he was present for much of the discussion on the text.


Text Amendments

Regarding the text, the Planning Board voted unanimously (5 to 0) to recommend the draft subject to some proposed changes, which were summarized as follows:


1.               Section 200-7, Definitions

$                The definition of Concrete Plants should be revised so that portable concrete plants are regulated.  It should be made clear, however, that a temporary use permit may be obtained for all of the regulated uses.


$                The definition of Mining and Extraction Operations should be revised to exclude site preparation work.


2.               Site Standards Chart

$                A Separation requirement was added for all uses listed on the chart that did not previously have such a standard, and some previously proposed separation standards were decreased.  As proposed by the Planning Board, all uses on the chart would have a minimum separation of 2 mile from schools.  There was a change to the proposed 2-mile separation from healthcare facilities, for Motor Sports Facilities, and the proposed 1-mile separation from healthcare facilities for Amusement Parks.

$                A Residential Density requirement of 250 in 2 mile was added for Heavy Industries, Mining and Extraction Operations and Chip Mills.  The previously proposed Residential Density of 250 in 1 mile for Asphalt Plants and Incinerators, and was changed to 250 in 2 mile and no separation residential density for concrete plants or junkyards.  Solid Waste, Slaughtering Plants, and Amusement Parks stayed at 250 in 1 mile.


In making the recommendations on the text, several Planning Board members made some comments.  Walter Carpenter stated that he was voting for it with some trepidation because he feared that people may feel like they have more protection than Open Use will give them.  Tedd Pearce said that if Open Use was all the County was going to do, he would oppose it, however he thinks that the Board of Commissioners are looking at it as a step.  Jack Lynch stated that the community needs a better education on land use planning.  The Planning Board members also seemed interested in seeing areas being zoned for industrial uses in the future.


Map Amendment

Regarding the two options on the proposed map amendment for the Open Use District, the Planning Board voted unanimously (5 to 0) to recommend that Open Use Zoning be applied to all unzoned areas, except for the State and National forests as shown on the Aentire county@ map. The Planning Board members generally agreed that there should be no differences in the proposed standards if the Board of Commissioners votes to apply Open Use to only a portion of the unzoned areas in the county.


Karen Smith stated that she expected that the Chairman of the Planning Board, Tedd Pearce, would provide a formal letter to the Board of Commissioners with the Planning Board=s recommendations.


Chairman=s Proposal

Based on prior discussion, Chairman Moyer proposed that the Board start with the map issue and see if the Board can resolve that.  It may have a bearing on some of the uses and some of the restrictions with respect to the uses.  Chairman Moyer was originally concerned about applying Open Use Zoning county wide but has since changed his mind, partly due to the comments received at the public input sessions.  Therefore, it was his recommendation to apply Open Use Zoning county wide in all unzoned areas.

Commissioner Ward stated that he was a little surprised at the public input sessions about who was for and who opposed county wide zoning.  Etowah residents were vocally against it and Green River and Edneyville residents favored zoning, not wanting to be left without any protection.  Grimesdale and Fletcher residents voiced strongly that they wanted to be included. He felt that it needed to be applied county wide and the Board would have to work with the Etowah group who were strongly opposed.


Commissioner Messer agreed that Open Use needed to be applied county wide. He voiced that he was glad to be sitting on the Board to take this zoning county wide.  A lot of areas in Henderson County don=t have anything now and he felt that this was a good start.


Commissioner Gordon stated that the Board had not heard from very many people.  She stated that the only way for this to be effective would be county wide and voiced her support for application of Open Use Zoning county wide.


Commissioner Hawkins stated that he would have preferred to stay with the course of action the Board had initially set of looking at unzoned areas immediately adjacent to municipalities, ETJ extensions, and land use requirements on people that had no voice in their election.   He felt that from a number of responses across the county there was a misconception that open use zoning would be retroactive. He briefly touched on the subject of protected mountain ridge lines as well as solid waste management.  He hoped that the Board would not zone themselves from siting a landfill in the future if need be. He stated that he had some serious reservations about the current document being applied county wide.


Following discussion, Chairman Moyer made the motion to adopt the map that applies the open use district county wide and that the Board move to considering the text amendments, for planning purposes or purposes of moving forward.  A vote was taken and the motion carried four to one with Commissioner Hawkins voting nay.


Text Amendment

Chairman Moyer suggested that the Board start with the residential density subject as it is the most controversial. That and separation are the two subjects that get into planning.  The Planning Board wrestled long and hard with this to make their recommendations. 


Chairman Moyer asked for assurance from Planning Staff that the Board would not be prohibiting some of these uses from anywhere in the county if they followed the Planning Board=s recommendations.  Karen Smith assured him that staff had not had time enough to study that since the Planning Board=s meeting and recommendation.  She stated that the maps that staff has were generated at the time of the Motor Sports Facilities Ordinance, about 2 years ago.  Staff had looked at the county grid at that time and how many residential dwelling units fell within that grid. 


Much discussion followed about density.  Commissioner Gordon stated she would like to see a map with all our schools and health care facilities noted with 2 mile circles drawn around each one (including nursing homes). It was also stated that the County Commissioners do not control where schools or health care facilities can be built within this ordinance.  There was a lot of discussion of what the county=s capabilities were to generate a map and/or the data that the Board might want to see to make their decisions about this issue.


Angela Beeker showed the Board a county grid map which was produced in February 1999 with each dwelling unit noted in the grid blocks.  Each grid block equals four square miles. The map is on the scale of one inch equaling one mile.  She then showed another map with all the schools marked (minus any home schools) which was prepared in December of 1998.  The Commissioners thought of numerous schools which were not on the older map plus several new schools and schools currently under construction.


There was direction from the Board for staff to generate a new grid map of the county with all residential units noted and all schools and health care facilities marked. 


There was much discussion of what would qualify as heavy industry (that we currently have) under the ordinance.  There was discussion of revisiting the definition for heavy industry.


Angela Beeker stated that if the Board could give staff some direction as far as the types of things that the Board would be looking to regulate versus not regulate, staff could take that information and assess it in terms of the definition to see if it is doing what the Board wants it to do. 


It was stated that citizens can opt for a zoning change much easier once they are already zoned (open use) or make it easier to take their zoning up to another level.


The Board asked who are currently our large quantity hazardous waste generators.  There are currently six in Henderson County and they are all considered heavy industry: General Electric, Steelcase, Barber Threads, Blue Ridge Metals, Kimberly-Clarke, and PrintPack.


For purposes of moving forward, Chairman Moyer asked that the Board consider heavy industry as any large quantity generator of hazardous waste with the exceptions still present and all of number one stricken out. 


Chairman Moyer explained that the Board is just trying to have some requirements about where heavy industry and other uses can go. They certainly don=t want to scare off any industry that might bring job opportunities to our community. The Board expressed concern about how close heavy industry is allowed to schools.    The Board discussed heavy industry very much and did not come to a consensus and it was finally decided to wait on that until the Board gets the new map with the density units marked.


Commissioner Hawkins stated once again that the protected mountain ridges prohibit everything on the chart.  He stated that he heard no comments regarding this at any of the public input sessions. What is in open use is more restrictive than what is currently in the ordinance regarding protected mountain ridges.


There was a lot of discussion about a solid waste facility.  Ms. Beeker asked the Board whether they wished to regulate governmental uses.  They could elect not to regulate governmental uses. There was discussion of how much separation should be between a solid waste facility and a school. The majority wanted to do an exemption for governmental uses for incinerators and solid waste facilities with the separation of 2 mile from schools.


Mining & Extraction - the Board wanted to get some language added to make it absolutely clear that site prep work for the removal and sale of soil would not be included in the definition.  Staff will draft some language for presentation at the next meeting and include the Planning Board=s recommendation of 2 mile from schools.  


There was some discussion related to fencing and the requirement for such.  Currently fencing is required around the perimeter of the portion of the land that is being used for restricted use, but including parking for secured access.  The Board was in consensus that fencing only be required for the principal use, not for parking areas. There was consideration given to not requiring fencing for an enclosed secure building, but for outside operation as part of their principle use.  Staff will work on drafting new language for fencing.


Concrete Plants - the Planning Board=s recommendation was to include portable concrete plants. It was the consensus of the Board to include portable in the definition for concrete plants, asphalt plants, and chip mills.


Jennifer Jackson informed the Board that currently there are no standards for the Board of Adjustment to apply to issue a temporary use permit. They are looked at on a case by case basis and the only requirement they have in issuing that permit is that the permit itself must be for a fixed duration.   The Board may want to give additional guidance at some later date with respect to use of a temporary use permit. The Board may also discuss setting a deminimus.  As recommended by the Planning Board, the Board agreed to 2 mile from a school but no residential density requirement. The Board may chose to revisit some of these when they study all of the residential densities.


Incinerators - The Board wished to include fencing.


Junkyards - no recommended change.


Motorsports - same as what we currently have.


Slaughtering Plants - no recommended change.


Chip Mills - no recommended change.


Junkyards - There was discussion that our junkyard ordinance needs updated. If Open Use District is applied county wide, then the Board can repeal the Junkyard Ordinance because it will fix the junkyard regulation throughout the county.  Junkyards and graveyards are two different things.  Mrs. Beeker explained that the primary differences between a junkyard and a vehicle graveyard: 1.  a junkyard is a principle or main use and a vehicle graveyard is an accessory use, 2. a junkyard is typically operated as a business and a vehicle graveyard is not.  As written, open use prohibits them in the residential zoning districts.


Specific direction to staff - The Board requested staff get wording on the preliminary changes made today and whatever the Staff can get to help the Board with residential density as well as anything the Staff can bring to the Board about the protected mountain ridges.


Commissioner Ward requested that Rocky Hyder be at the next open use work session.


Chairman Moyer hoped to resolve this issue at the next work session scheduled for Thursday, May 26 at 8:30 a.m.


Chairman Moyer made the motion to adjourn the meeting.  All voted in favor and the motion carried.







Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board                        William L. Moyer, Chairman