STATE OF NORTH CAROLINA BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
COUNTY OF HENDERSON JULY 10, 2002
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: 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, Clerk to the Board Elizabeth W. Corn, and Deputy Clerk to the Board Amy. R Brantley.
Also present were: Planning Director Karen C. Smith, Planner Josh Freeman and Zoning Administrator Dan Gurley.
CALL TO ORDER/WELCOME
Chairman Moyer called the meeting to order and welcomed those in attendance. He stated that the purpose of the meeting was a Public Hearing with respect to a Rezoning Application by Hollabrook Farms.
PUBLIC HEARING - REZONING APPLICATION #R-04-01 (OU TO I-1 & R-10) HOLLABROOK FARMS, A PARTNERSHIP, APPLICANT, WILLIAM ALEXANDER, AGENT
Commissioner Ward made the motion for the Board to go into public hearing. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Josh Freeman presented the history of this application to the Board. On August 24, 2001 Mr. Alexander submitted Rezoning Application #R-04-01 on behalf of Hollabrook Farms, requesting that the County rezone approximately 170.26 acres of land from an OU (Open Use) zoning district to an I-1 (Light Industrial) zoning district. On September 25, 2001 the Planning Board first considered the request, at which time it was referred to subcommittee. On December 6, 2001 the subcommittee recommended that the full Planning Board submit a favorable recommendation on the application as submitted. The Planning Board reviewed the application for a second time on December 18, 2001, and voted 5-3 to send a favorable recommendation to the Board of Commissioners. The Board of Commissioners scheduled a hearing for February 4, 2002, but at that meeting the Applicants requested the application be tabled so they might amend it. On May 31, 2002 the amended application was received which added a High Density Residential (R-10) zoning district to the proposed rezoning. The Board of Commissioners referred the revised version of #R-04-01 back to the Planning Board, and scheduled a public hearing for July 8, 2002. On June 18, 2002 the Planning Board again considered the application and voted 5-2 to send a favorable recommendation to the Board of Commissioners. On June 19, 2002 the Board of Commissioners rescheduled the Public Hearing regarding the application for July 10, 2002 at 7:00 p.m.
Mr. Freeman noted the location of the property in question, briefly discussed the current zoning, and the adjacent land uses. He also provided for the Board, information on the Utilities/Infrastructure, Relevant Policies and Plans, and the potential implications of the proposed rezoning.
Chairman Moyer asked Mr. Alexander if there were any comments he wished to make at that time. Mr. Alexander requested that he be allowed to defer his comments until the end.
1. Beverly Toth - Ms. Toth spoke about concern for the children of Glenn Marlow School and the residents of the area. She requested that 75-100 feet of woods remain as a buffer to separate residents from industry.
2. Ervin Bazzle - Mr. Bazzle was present speaking as the Chairman of the Board of Education. He reminded the Board that the Board of Education had requested a 2 mile buffer around all schools. There are currently about 490 students at Glenn Marlow School, who enter and exit the school off Butler Bridge Road. He felt that the 2 mile buffer around the schools offered the best chance for protecting the students.
He listed the following specific uses the Board of Education opposed having next to a school.
C Tire treading and recapping
C Storage tanks
C Truck terminals
C Automobile sales
Mr. Bazzle requested the Board consider access points. The roads in the area would not hold a lot of traffic, and he hoped future owners would consider using Jeffress Road as the entry point to the site. He also requested the Board look at how the County is going to regulate land use.
Commissioner Hawkins asked Mr. Bazzle if he had been on the Board of Education when the property was purchased. He stated that he was a member when the option was signed, but not during the preliminary discussions. Commissioner Hawkins asked if Mr. Bazzle was aware of any stipulations that had been brought to the Board of Education concerning what Hollabrook Farms planned to do, or if there had been additional options offered for land. Mr. Bazzle stated that there were discussions, but they had been prior to his entry onto the Board.
Commissioner Messer asked if there was room for expansion at the school. Mr. Bazzle answered that there could be about another 100 students added. The school was designed such that two wings could be added to the building without changing the structural integrity of the original building. Mr. Bazzle answered several additional questions from the Board.
3. Eva Ritchey - Ms. Ritchey stated that there were several issues here, but they all went back to planning. She read a letter she had previously written to the Times-News. She stated that the uses that could be permitted near the school bring us back to the need for a Comprehensive Land Use Plan. She felt the schools should be integrated into this plan. She spoke in support of staff=s unfavorable recommendation for the rezoning of this parcel, and read excerpts from the staff=s written comments.
Chairman Moyer questioned Ms. Ritchey=s figures when she stated that uses and light industrial could be 20 feet from the school. Following brief discussion, Ms. Ritchey withdrew that particular statement.
Commissioner Hawkins stated that a cemetery could not be 20 feet from the school, it would have to be from the edge of the property. Ms. Ritchey read from the Ordinance, which stated that a cemetery would indeed have to be 20 feet away from the property line. There was then discussion about whether junk yards were allowed in light industrial, and how close they could be to a school. Mr. Freeman stated that there was a 2 mile separation allowance in I-1 for a junkyard. He listed several other uses that may be allowed in both OU and I-1, but are in practice prohibited on this site because of the site and the residential development.
Ms. Ritchey asked why staff was not recommending this zoning change. Commissioner Gordon stated for the record the portion of the Planning Departments comments and recommendations that Ms. Ritchey did not read. She stated that Astaff=s original position was not based on any notion that industrial development necessarily poses an inherent conflict with adjacent schools. In fact, Staff was torn by the fact that the area is, arguably, prime for industrial development. Also, as pointed out by the Planning Board itself, other jurisdictions allow industrial development near schools, with apparent success.@
4. Walt Puckett - Mr. Puckett urged that the request be denied due to the size and disrepair of the roads in the area.
5. David Nantz - Mr. Nantz had written a letter to the Board when the original hearing was scheduled back in February. He stated that at the Planning Board meeting, he had asked when this meeting was scheduled, and was told twice, July 8th. He requested postponing a decision on this issue based on that miscommunication. He stated that of the two Planning Board members who voted against the rezoning, one had stated a vision of the area as being self-sustaining.
Karen Smith reminded the Board that the meeting had originally been scheduled for July 8th. The Planning Board had their meeting on June 18th and announced the meeting date for July 8th, but at the Board of Commissioners meeting on June 19th, the date was changed to July 10th.
6. Glynn Arterburn - Ms. Arterburn stated that she had moved to the area approximately six years ago. She requested the Board listen to what the people want. She spoke about what the people who live in the area expected when they moved into the area. She asked the Board to take into account the needs of the many citizens who live here, rather than just the needs of the few.
Commissioner Hawkins asked Ms. Arterburn if she knew the land she bought was unzoned when she bought it. She stated that she was unfamiliar with such things, but was learning quickly.
Commissioner Ward had Mr. Freeman point out on the map where Ms. Arterburn lived. Commissioner Hawkins questioned the location of the property=s lake. Mr. Freeman pointed out the area in question, but stated that it=s location was irrelevant to the rezoning application.
7. Leslie Prebianca - Ms. Prebianca stated that she and her husband are both business owners in the area. She and their family have been in the area for many years. She felt that the property owners in the area have been left in the dark about the plans for the area. Because future plans are unknown, she was forced to assume the worst. She spoke at length about retirement, and areas in which plants have been built and the impact to the community when they shut down.
8. Billy Johnston - Mr. Johnston stated that he had a dairy farm in the area, owned all the land that bordered the southeast of the property in question, and resided in an area nearby. He spoke in support of the rezoning application. He stated that at the time the property was sold for the school, the School Board did have the option for additional land which they did not exercise. He also spoke to the need for industries in the area to provide jobs for those students.
9. Jeff Hinkle - Mr. Hinkle stated that he resides in the Glens of Aberdeen. He read a letter prepared by Kevin Barnett, who was unable to attend the meeting. The letter spoke in opposition of rezoning without updating the infrastructure to support the possible industry. The letter claimed that Planning Staff had stated there were no plans to upgrade the road structure, and planned sewer lines would not have sufficient capacity.
Mr. Freeman stated that Mr. Barnett had made an incorrect interpretation of the staff report. He stated that if sewer lines were constructed, they and the plant downstream would be able to handle whatever the site produces. He believed that the misconstrued comments may have come from a comment by Gary Tweed, who stated that possibly, if an entire sewer line were totally maxed out in terms of it=s capacity, maybe the plant couldn=t handle the volume. Mr. Freeman stated however, that issue was irrelevant to this site, and there was no way the site could max out the capacity of a 24" sewer line.
Commissioner Hawkins commented on a previous statement regarding the situation with the roads. He reminded everyone that the State controls road construction in the County. The County has very little to do with it despite their efforts. He stated that probably when the State sees the demand for a road, they eventually get around to expanding it.
Commissioner Gordon stated that the sewer line proposed to service Mills River is a 24" line, and will be serviced by the Metropolitan Sewage District in Asheville. They have more than adequate capacity to treat this waste, and are in fact eager for customers.
10. Irving Gibbs - Mr. Gibbs read a list of recommendations that had come from the Mills River Study. The recommendations were as follows:
C The County should develop a single integrated natural resource management plan for the study area.
C Protect agriculture in the greater Mills River area.
C Protect drinking water.
C Prevent the loss of life and property due to flooding.
C Protect and enhance parks, recreational facilities and open space amenities in the County.
He then described ways in which these objectives could be met. He was concerned about the basic quality of life in the Mills River area. He supported the right to sell your land as you choose, but stated no one wanted their neighbor to do something that would affect their land in a negative way. His concern was that whatever happened on the property increase land values and the quality of life.
He asked if he wanted to rezone his land, could he do so? Mr. Freeman assured him that he could make application to rezone his land and it would take the same steps that this application has gone through.
Commissioner Ward questioned the ownership of two specific pieces of property. He also questioned the dimensions of a narrow strip running next to the school. Mr. Alexander will answer the question about the strip dimension.
Ms. Corn informed the Board that Mr. Alexander was the last person signed up to speak, but that there was a written comment received from Jacquelyn M. Toth. Chairman Moyer also stated that the Board had received letters from Kristen McDonald, and Shirley and Reese Whiteside. He also referenced the letter from Kevin Barnett and the letters in the record from the Planning Board.
Chairman Moyer asked if there was anyone else in the audience who wished to speak.
Walt Puckett - Mr. Puckett spoke earlier in the meeting. He stated that when speaking earlier, he meant that if the property does turn commercial, he is concerned about the heavy trucks and the small roads. He stated that he knows the Board has no control over the roads, but the roads are not suitable for a industrial site.
Mr. Durall came forward and stated that he had mailed a letter, and wished to make sure it was received. Members of the Board indicated that they had received the letter.
11. Ginger Scolone - Ms. Scolone urged the Board and the Hollaman family to think about the community as a whole rather than as individual families. She stated that community as a whole is very important to her, as is having a place to raise her child that is not across from a strip mall. She would like to see a good mix of light industrial and residential together.
Mr. Freeman wished to clarify a point that several speakers had made in asking what specific use the owners have planned for the property. He stated that staff cannot ask what the specific use would be, and it is not relevant to the application. What is relevant is all the potential uses in a district. Chairman Moyer stated that during a rezoning, you look to what the permissible uses are and you have to assume that all those can go on the property. It is not appropriate to ask an applicant what they will do on the property, and even if they answer it is not binding.
12. William Alexander - Mr. Alexander spoke to understanding many of the speakers description of the property as pastoral. He stated that the community has endured similar changes, but it has in the face of that change kept a character that has attracted many people from other communities. He stated that if this is to remain a County with good resources for it=s citizens, we have to be able to keep people here. The community pays to raise and educate children, and should provide a way to keep that investment in the County.
Mr. Alexander stated that the decision to market the property for industrial development was made in the 1990's. It is hard to bring industrial plants to a town if there is any question as to whether or not their facility will be allowed. He stated that the applicant did not have a buyer for the property, but they did want to sell it to industrial purchasers. He then stated that there was one reason that the applicant sought a Light Industrial classification for this tract rather that Heavy Industrial, and that reason was the presence of Glenn Marlow School. They felt it would be better for the community to seek a lighter industrial application of the Jeffress Road property.
He noted that the property had been identified as probably the best industrial site in western North Carolina. It has sewer, water, air transportation, interstate transportation, and other state highway transportation nearby. These properties can help bring economic viability to Henderson County, and should be developed by the County for the benefit for all the citizens. The uses that the previous speakers are concerned about, junkyards, cell towers, etc., are prohibited within a 2 mile radius of the school and would not affect or endanger the school.
Commissioner Ward asked Mr. Alexander the dimensions of the right-of-way strip on the west side of Glenn Marlow. Mr. Alexander answered that it was about 60 feet long, and it was intended that a right-of-way would be purchased, but is not used for anything. Mr. Alexander reminded the Board that based on concern in the community, the applicant had established the residential acreage to provide the additional buffer.
Mr. Nantz, who spoke earlier, stated that he had heard that the Glens at Aberdeen was looking for additional land in that area to build more homes. He asked if this would prevent single family homes from being built. Karen Smith answered that the R-10 designation would allow residential, but the I-1 would not allow any residential development. Mr. Nantz stated again that he felt any decision should be postponed due to the misinterpretation of the meeting date.
Commissioner Messer questioned whether the initial application had gone to a subcommittee of the Planning Board. Mr. Freeman stated that the initial application had gone to a subcommittee, but the revised application only went before the full board.
Commissioner Ward stated that he had concerns about the points of entrance and exit. He stated he knew the petitioner did not have to provide such information, but it was a concern. Chairman Moyer stated that it was not appropriate to ask such a question. Commissioner Ward also stated a concern about the right-of-way strip, and it becoming a place to put things for which you have no other storage place.
Commissioner Hawkins asked if the rules on access points were something that would be shared by the Department of Transportation. Chairman Moyer answered that the County does not have much effective input on access points, it is under the control of the DOT. There was additional discussion on the location of the best points of access.
Commissioner Ward made the motion for the Board to close the public hearing. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
There was a five minute technical recess.
Commissioner Hawkins stated that there are some concerns about the school, the residents and the roads. He stated that if you run a sewer line, growth will follow. Once the school and the sewer line were built, the growth was inevitable. He believed the property owners had tried to deal with many of the concerns in the area.
Commissioner Gordon stated that this was a big decision, and it is a beautiful piece of land. Land in Henderson County that is usable, not in a flood plain or a watershed, and that has the possibility of sewer and utilities is a rarity. She stated that to look after the community as a whole, the best potential had to be gained from parcels such as this. Timing is everything, and there is a critical need for light industries. She stated that the Board is working on rewrites to the Zoning Ordinance, and many of the comments made can be incorporated in the rewrite.
Commissioner Messer agreed that the County is changing, and at such a rate that it is hard to keep up. He felt the Board was on the right tract with the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite and the Comprehensive County Land Use Plan.
Commissioner Ward stated that the only two issues he had, dealt with the two particular out parcels, and the 60 foot right-of-way. He felt that his concerns could be addressed in a site plan.
Chairman Moyer stated that the Board is in the process of developing a Comprehensive County Land Use Plan. One of the key factors in it will be how to locate schools and industries. There are few sites in Henderson County that are ideal for schools and industries. Unfortunately, the same sites that are good for schools are the sites that industry looks for. He felt that the area was a prime industrial site, and that the applicants had worked to make the application compatible with the community. He felt a true compromise had been reached.
Commissioner Hawkins reminded everyone of how school sites are selected. He stated that the Board of Education identifies the location where they feel a school should be located. The Board of Commissioners are involved in looking at the cost of the land. Within the last year, the two Boards have worked closely in areas of mutual concern with locating schools. Sewer issues, as mentioned earlier, are one of those mutual concerns.
Chairman Moyer stated that it would be preferable to put schools on wide, safe roads, but those do not exist in this County. The County is trying to work with DOT on road planning, but it is a difficult job to get the DOT reoriented in their thinking. If you only placed schools or industry where the roads were adequate, this County would not have either.
Commissioner Gordon did wish to make the public aware of the Lockwood Greene report which had been referenced. The study discussed the need for industrial sites, and the income generated by small industry which helps support other community services. She felt there was justification to move forward with the rezoning.
Commissioner Hawkins made the motion that Rezoning Application #R-04-01 be approved as recommended by the Planning Board. Chairman Moyer specified that this was the amended Rezoning Application. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Commissioner Hawkins made the motion to adjourn the meeting at 9:27 pm. All voted in favor and the motion carried.
Elizabeth W. Corn, Clerk to the Board William L. Moyer, Chairman