STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY OF HENDERSON JUNE 7, 2001
The Henderson County Board of Commissioners met for a special called 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 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: Project Coordinator Bill Blalock, Planning Director Karen C. Smith, Planners Nippy Page and Josh Freeman, and Budget Analyst/Assistant to the County Manager Selena Coffey.
CALL TO ORDER/WELCOME
Chairman Moyer called the meeting to order and welcomed those in attendance.
DISCUSSION/ADJUSTMENT OF AGENDA
Chairman Moyer asked if anyone had any adjustments to the agenda.
Commissioner Ward requested an addition to the agenda - communication between the Recreation Director and the Sheriff=s Department on some situations occurring at Jackson Park. It was the consensus of the Board to add this to the agenda and to discuss it at this time.
GANG ACTIVITY, SOLICITATION, AND PROSTITUTION AT JACKSON PARK
Commissioner Ward stated that the past two evenings it had been brought to his attention and that of the Recreation Director, Rick Harris, that we=re having some trouble at Jackson Park on the evenings and the week-ends with some of our Hispanics with gang activities. From the gang activities, we=re having trouble with solicitation from prostitutes in the main parking lots at the park. There is no ordinance to give the Law Enforcement any teeth to interrupt their activities or make them move along, or even escort them out of the park. This could escalate into an uncontrollable event similar to the one that happened last week-end where there were about 100 Hispanics that almost went into a riot situation. They requested the Board of Commissioners to work with the Sheriff. The Sheriff=s Attorney, Mose Highsmith, was already looking into the matter but unless the Board of Commissioners revise the Recreation=s ordinance and put a little teeth into it, basically they are handcuffed instead of handcuffing the ones that are breaking the law.
Discussion followed with the Commissioners feeling that our park should be safe and open and available to the public. It was the consensus of the Board to pursue some language to update the Park Ordinance. It was suggested that we might want to get a copy of the schedule of Hispanic events (soccer games, etc.) at Jackson Park in order to beef up law enforcement at the park on those dates. The Commissioners also felt it very important to communicate with some of the Hispanic leaders so they fully understand what is expected of them when they are in our public park. There was also discussion of providing some park staffing on the week-ends.
Mr. Nicholson stated that he would follow-up with Sheriff Erwin and Rick Harris today about this problem and possible solutions.
Chairman Moyer requested that Mr. Nicholson research this and get more information for the Board and put this on the next agenda for further action (June 20 meeting).
COMPREHENSIVE COUNTY PLAN
Chairman Moyer gave a little background information with respect to where we are on this issue and county-wide planning in general.
Back in July of 1999 the county adopted it=s County-Wide Land Use Regulation Guide which you have heard referred to on many occasions. Whereforth we set the general plan for the county, the goals or objectives, and our key strategies to institute planning and land use planning in the county. There were several key strategies of that plan:
1. Implementation of county-wide open use zoning and the Zoning Ordinance rewrite.
We have taken the first step and have adopted open use zoning in all of the unzoned areas of the county except for the parks. We are actively involved in the zoning ordinance rewrite which will be a major task for us. The Planning Board and the staff has done their piece and the Board has the product in hand. We will now have to start to set sessions to go through that zoning ordinance and from the public standpoint we really have to do this paragraph by paragraph. As tough as it is, all these various sections have meanings and implications for the county and we will have to take the time to work through the ordinance to make sure it fits into our overall planning process. We will be directing our attention to that zoning ordinance rewrite and will be getting started and we hope to move that along very promptly.
2. The study of areas adjacent to municipalities, ETJ boundaries, and things like that.
A lot of that is underway. In a couple of cases with respect to Flat Rock, and the City of Hendersonville, we asked them to hold off until we were able to complete our action on open use zoning, which we have done, and we will now be moving and contacting the municipalities to set up joint groups to work on these various areas so that we can proceed with this second step of our plan. We know and this Board certainly recognizes and you heard it the other night in our discussions, we do need coordination and we do need to work with the municipalities to address these areas and we are prepared to do that and will be setting up sessions with all the municipalities to focus on these areas. It=s been well underway up in the Fletcher area with respect to the Mills River/Fletcher study. We=ve had sessions with Laurel Park and Hendersonville and now we need to start bringing these all together and resolving the issues that are in those areas.
3. The study of growth areas and major corridors.
Chairman Moyer - AA lot of that is already included in the other studies and will be encompassed in what we do with the municipalities. When we look at the major corridors, we look at the Mills River/Fletcher study that=s well underway and we have a recommendation from the Planning Board on that. Several of the major corridors are studied and looked at in that study. When we look at the area surrounding the municipalities, that I=ve mentioned briefly before, we will again be looking at other major corridors. The other piece that=s been added to that, though I think it=s always been included but we made it specific with the recommendation made by Commissioner Gordon, was that we look at the industrial areas, specifically look at where is the appropriate place to locate industry in our county. That=s underway and we have asked the Chamber, I think a very appropriate role for the Chamber, from their standpoint (they=re out and they=re our arm to recruit industry and business into the area to bring good jobs into the area) we have asked them what areas do they think are the areas they would try to sell if they were going to bring business and industry into the area. I think that=s gonna be a key ingredient for the Planning Board and this Board, for them to suggest to us where it might make sense to locate industry. I think this will be another key piece of that strategy and all of those are moving forward at the present time.
One overall piece of our plan when we set our goals for the next year and three years was to review the county=s Comprehensive Land Use Plan (used to be called) which was presented to the Board in January 1993 and accepted some time thereafter. This is a ten year plan. This Board has recognized it probably should have been revised, certainly within a ten year timeframe, and has decided to move aggressively and Mr. Ward made a recommendation with respect to moving forward in an expedited basis to get a new comprehensive plan for the county, not just land use plan. If you take the work that=s been done previously on the county-wide land use regulation guide and if we revise the comprehensive land use plan to a new county-wide plan, we will have an affective background plan for the county to govern our actions going forward for a ten, fifteen, or twenty year period for all key parts of the strategy. The other key parts that are not specifically highlighted in our Land Use Regulation Guide are the pieces with respect to roads - I think as you all know we have pressed aggressively to have a county thoroughfare plan and that=s still suppose to be completed by the end of the year. The State, of course, is carrying a lot of the work on that but the Planning Department staff is working with them so we hope to have a good county road plan to dovetail into our comprehensive plan. We are moving aggressively with respect to water and sewer planning. Commissioner Ward was at the meeting the other day - the Mud Creek Advisory Board with respect to sewer in that area, has started to meet and they have set themselves an aggressive plan. They know with respect to where we want to go on the comprehensive plan and they are going to be working to come up with a sewer plan for the Mud Creek drainage basin. Commissioner Gordon has been working with the Cane Creek Advisory Board and they are also working on a Master Plan with respect to sewer, which should be completed in this timeframe. We are also working with respect to water, the weak link in this, with respect to Asheville and the Water Authority Board but we are attempting to come up with a water plan for the northern end of the county at the same time. Repeatedly in our discussions with respect to schools we have stressed with the schools and I think they are very receptive, the importance that school planning has to be taken into consideration with the other parts of planning that we do. I think Dr. Burnham and the School Board is very receptive to that. We hope that will become in the joint facilities and they with Mr. Hawkins - we need to get that as an integral part cause where we site business, schools, roads, etc. all has to be effectively coordinated. All those pieces are moving forward and I think with respect to development of a comprehensive plan, we have the work that=s been done by the Designing Our Future, a lot of valuable input. I think that will help and serve us well in developing our plan but I think it=s essential, as Mr. Ward indicated in his comments the other week, that we move forward with this comprehensive plan. This Board took the first step then to adopt a policy that we respect to a steering committee of four to five people, more than likely, that would really work for this Board. The County Commissioners would keep control of this project but we=d have a steering committee that would work under us but we=d basically manage this project and she that it=s been done in a timely fashion. Mr. Blalock was designated by this Board to be the Chair of that Steering Committee and that is our starting point for this morning.
The Board had asked Mr. Blalock to look into various aspects of this, how we should proceed, what his recommendations are as to how we can effectively work together, what different roles should be and I think Mr. Blalock is in a position now to present some information and a report to us.@
Bill Blalock, Chairman of the Steering Committee
Mr. Blalock reviewed the Purpose of the Comprehensive County Plan:
C Focus the community on the future (10 Years)
C Reflect the vision and goals of the community members, property owners and the elected officials
C Provide a decision tool for land use, transportation, schools, infrastructure, etc.
C Prioritize the placement and timing of infrastructure. Forecast the cost of infrastructure
C Resolve the repeated public uproar regarding encroachment of incompatible industries/businesses into/near residential areas
C Achieve some degree of understanding, cooperation and perhaps agreement with the municipalities regarding land use planning, transportation, infrastructure, etc.
C Help community members shift from Amaintain the status quo@ and Astop the growth@ to proactively manage inevitable change and growth
He then reviewed the 10 year vision and the overarching principles
There were five goals of the plan reviewed in some detail:
1. Establish future land use patterns.
2. Proactively address growth.
3. Enhance economic development (industrial, commercial and offices).
4. Facilitate Transportation
5. Improve Planning and Zoning
He had prepared the roles and responsibilities for: Steering Committee, Planning Director, Comprehensive Land Use Plan Firm, Community Committee, and Board of Commissioners for the Board=s review/approval.
Bill Blalock explained that what he anticipated was:
Select/Hire Comprehensive Plan Consulting Firm
Establish Work Plan
and do this in a month or less.
Mr. Blalock stated that - From Communication comes Understanding
From Understanding comes Participation
From Participation comes Commitment.
He talked about the commitment the five members of the Steering Committee would need to have for this project.
He and staff will develop a glossary pretty quickly with terms in it as a common reference point, that can be distributed.
By consensus the Board approved the overall structure and outline.
Following much discussion, it was the consensus of the Board over the next 10 days or so to each one come up with a nominee to the Steering Committee and to have contacted that nominee to be sure they are willing to serve in that capacity. The Commissioners will come back to the June 20 meeting with the names of nominees. Commissioner Ward had nominated Mr. Blalock, who is the Chairman of the Committee. Each of the other four Commissioners will come up with a nominee to make the five member Committee. The Board intends to take action on appointing the Steering Committee at the June 20 meeting.
Mr. Blalock asked the Commissioners to please review the selection criteria while considering someone for a nominee to the committee. He also volunteered his services to visit and talk with each nominee, if the Board so chooses, to review this plan with them so they clearly understand what they are committing to.
Once the Steering Committee is established, then the Board will discuss roles and responsibilities and then discuss goals. The Board will have had time to review the hand-out in detail by then.
There was some discussion about staffing needs for this project and how the County Manager and the Planning Director planned to handle that need.
Commissioner Hawkins made the motion to adjourn the meeting at approximately 10:07 a.m. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board William L. Moyer, Chairman