HENDERSON COUNTY PLANNING BOARD
MARCH 19, 2002
The Henderson County Planning Board met for its regular meeting on Tuesday, March 19, 2002, at 7:00 p.m. in the Land Development Building, 101 East Allen Street, Hendersonville, NC. Board members present were Tedd Pearce, Chairman, Walter Carpenter, Vice Chairman, Todd Thompson, Roger Wolff, Jack Lynch, Valerie Welbourn, Mike Cooper, Rebecca Nesbitt and Leon Allison. Others present included Karen C. Smith, Planning Director, Melissa Peagler, Planner, Josh Freeman, Planner, Dan Gurley, Zoning Administrator and Kathleen Scanlan, Secretary. Also present was William Moyer, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners and ex-officio, non-voting member of the Planning Board. Board member Walter Carpenter was absent.
Approval of Minutes. Chairman Pearce presided over the meeting and called the meeting to order. He asked for the approval of the February 19, 2002 minutes. Roger Wolff made a motion to approve the minutes and Jack Lynch seconded the motion. All members voted in favor.
Adjustment of Agenda. Leon Allison requested that Item 8, dealing with the rezoning request by James Robert Suttles, be moved after Item 9 in the interest of time. All Board members were in agreement.
Chairman Pearce informed the Board members that Rebecca Nesbitt has resigned from the Planning Board. In recognition of her service on the Board, he presented a framed print of the courthouse to her. Mr. Moyer acknowledged her service on the Planning Board and noted that the members should be thinking about additional candidates that are helpful and knowledgeable and also feels that more people need to get involved in planning.
a. Update on Zoning Ordinance Rewrite Project. Ms. Smith informed the Board members that the Board of Commissioners has had a number of workshops on the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite since October 2000 when the Planning Board forwarded the draft. Recently, the Board of Commissioners asked Staff to prepare a new draft, which was done in November, 2001. Since then the Board has been meeting on that draft and they suggested some changes. Ms. Smith stated that at the direction of the Board of Commissioners, the Zoning Ordinance Rewrite Draft has incorporated almost all of the residential districts that currently exist in the Zoning Ordinance into the draft that was created previously with new zoning districts. She stated that in the Board of Commissioners’ meeting that was held last week, the Board scheduled three more workshops (March 28, April 11, and May 2, 2002) and there would be a few additional meetings after that to finalize the draft. Then Staff will produce a new draft and for review again by the Board of Commissioners. It will then be sent to the Planning Board and the Board of Adjustment for another look prior to the Commissioners holding a public hearing. She stated that this applies only to the text, not the map at this point. Mr. Moyer stated that it is difficult to add flexibility to the Zoning Ordinance when you have a county with a certain percent of zoning like Henderson County with districts that are overly restrictive in many ways. The problem is what to do with the old districts when trying to create new ones. He said that it has been an ongoing problem and that there is no perfect solution. He said, for instance, the people who are in the R-40 district presently do not want changes in what they have and yet the Board does not want to go forth with the limited districts and wants to have more flexibility. He stated that this has caused all sorts of drafting complexities for Staff, but along with the Board, we are working through it. He said keeping the old residential districts makes the Ordinance a little longer but he feels that if we go the other way, we would almost destroy our chances of getting it adopted. By preserving what we have in a lot of areas but creating good flexibility in going forward, he feels that the County can create an Ordinance that the bulk of the County will be able to support and thinks that it is usable to handle the growth that we have now and in the future. He said that he feels it provides the need for flexibility in the County.
b. Update on Comprehensive County Plan Project. Ms. Smith stated that there are two members of the Comprehensive County Plan Advisory Committee from the Planning Board, Jack Lynch and Tedd Pearce. Other Committee members include Bill Blalock (Chairman), Hall Waddell, Paul Prosky, and Wayne Carland. The Advisory Committee met for the first time with the Board of Commissioners in February and had its first meeting on March 12, 2002. The Committee has been looking at maps of existing conditions as well as demographic and economic data compiled from the 2000 Census. Ms. Smith stated that the Committee has been working with Dennie Martin from Martin & McGill a consulting firm in Asheville, who has been guiding the project along. She added that Selena Coffey, who is the Assistant to the County Manager, has been managing the Staff side of the project. Ms. Smith stated that the Planning Department has been working with the mapping of existing conditions, and other factors that influence growth. She stated that they are at the point of doing some analysis in order to show some of the constraints and opportunities for growth. Ms. Smith mentioned that the next meeting of the Advisory Committee is May 14, 2002 at 10 a.m. Mr. Moyer stated that the Plan is the most important endeavor the County is involved in. There are representatives from various groups around the County as well as the Planning Board and Staff that will have an input into this plan. He said that with regard to public input into this project, it is his feeling, and that of the Board of Commissioners, that the County has had over the last three years the information and input that Designing our Future has gathered and that information gathering should not have to be duplicated as part of this process. He feels that the County has had plenty of studies and something needs to be done with them. He said that with respect to the placement of roads and economic development, if the County has a good plan then it will be able to guide growth but if we do not have a good plan, we will end up having problems.
Ms. Smith informed the Board members that the Board of Commissioners are holding public hearings on the October Ridge and Oleta Falls variance requests on March 21, 2002 at 2:00 p.m. The Commissioners will hold the rezoning hearing for Greg Garland’s property in Hoopers Creek on Monday, April 1, 2002 at 7:00 p.m.
Chairman Pearce mentioned that reviews of subdivisions would be conducted informally unless the applicant or anyone qualified to participate in the proceeding requests that such review be conducted as a formal quasi-judicial proceeding.
Review of Revised Special Use Permit Application # SP-01-04 for a Proposed Baseball Complex – Blue Ridge Community College, Applicant. Mr. Gurley, Zoning Administrator, stated that the Planning Board reviewed the application for a construction of a baseball field, dugouts, concession stand, restrooms, office area and general storage located at the corner of Allen Road and East Campus Drive, which is the northeast corner of Blue Ridge Community College property that was brought to the January Planning Board meeting. He stated that there was an amendment that was made by the applicant with regards to the rotation of the field. He said that the applicant has provided the Board with a more revised copy showing the screening, which the Planning Board had requested. He stated that the site of the complex has not changed but the field has been rotated approximately 180 degrees from the original application submitted and is indicated on the amended plans that are included in each member’s packet. Mr. Gurley showed some photographs that he had taken of the project and explained the location of the ball field in relation to adjacent property owners and I-26. Chairman Pearce asked Mr. David Powlen, landscape architect for the Blueridge Community College project to explain the revised plans.
Mr. Powlen stated the main difference between the original project plans and now is that the college has hired a baseball coach and he received some input from him. He stated that there would be no change in the content of the plans other than the rotation of the field. He said the concession toilet building is the same, the dugouts have gotten a little larger, and the coach’s office and the storage room remain the same. He said the bleacher area original seating for 450 people and the press box are now directly behind the backstop, where there was no room before. He said on the plan it shows the future seating area down either sidelines and the screening between the residential property that is just north of this project. He said that is really the only difference in the plan. He said the main parking areas would be: the lot by the greenhouses that are paved and accommodates 48 car spaces, the parking behind the Spearman building and a large lot nearby which will accommodate 217 spaces, this totals 265 spaces in all. He stated that there is an existing culvert pipe and crossing which is why the handicapped accessible path is run down closer where the parking would be. He also indicated where the service access would be. Todd Thompson asked what the distance is between the field and the Newman property. Mr. Powlen stated there is thirty feet to the property line and for a buffer there will be an evergreen screening basically from the property line all the way up to the centerfield. Mr. Wolff asked where would the placement of the lights be? Mr. Powlen stated that they are still working this out with representatives from General Electric. He said that the normal placement of lights would be to probably have one somewhere near the dugout, another near the bullpen and depending on the lights and other conditions, there will be three or four in the outfield. Mr. Allison asked Mr. Powlen, “the orchard nearby has been there a long time and the farmers have a tendency to get out late in the afternoon to spray crops, do you see any conflicts with this?” Mr. Powlen stated that they have not discussed this as an issue. Mr. Allison stated that it would be a major issue if there were a lot of people playing ball and there was spraying crops. He said he feels that the farmer has precedence. Chairman Pearce said one advantage he sees in the project being rotated is that they are moving the people and the spectators further away from other residences, which he sees is beneficial. Mr. Powlen stated the issue of the crop spraying could be coordinated and worked out. Mr. Lynch stated that one of the issues that came up at the last meeting was the glare factor from the lights and will this be addressed along with the other lighting issues. Mr. Powlen stated that this will be addressed at our meeting with the General Electric people and they had mentioned that they have different ways to eliminate the glare factor.
Chairman Pearce reviewed the list of conditions. Mr. Thompson asked what is the distance to your outfield. Mr. Powlen said that it is 330 feet down the lin 375 feet to the alley and 400 feet straight to the center. Mr. Cooper asked approximately how much further to Allen Road? Mr. Powlen stated straight down the line it would be approximately 100 feet or so. Chairman Pearce stated that Board members raised the concern regarding crosswalks to get to the field from the parking lot. Mr. Powlen stated that they have shifted the entrance making a shorter distance to the field and parking lot.
Ms. Smith stated that this application has now been referred from the Board of Commissioners to the Zoning Board of Adjustment. They will be having a hearing on this and there will be notification of the hearing by certified mail to those residences that adjoining this project. Mr. Allison asked whether the Farmland Preservation Statement could be added to the conditions. Ms. Smith stated that it is not required by the Ordinance. She stated that the statement is put on the plat when a Subdivision is recorded. She said that it could be indicated on the Final Plan. Mr. Thompson stated that he does not feel that the spray will get to the crowd but does have concerns regarding the smell and the noise factor of spraying. Chairman Pearce made a motion to send a favorable recommendation on the applicant’s request to the Board of Adjustment subject to the following conditions: Item # 2; that adequate shielding of
lighting for adjacent property owners and I-26; Item # 6; that the applicant must provide documentation from the City of Hendersonville that sufficient water capacity is available. The applicant must also submit evidence that water supply system plans have been approve and to also provide documentation from the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources to the Henderson County Environmental Health Department that the existing sewer system has sufficient capacity to handle the increase of wastewater from this development; Item # 7; that the applicant should submit notice
from NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources that a soil erosion and sedimentation control plan has been received or provide documentation that no plan is required; Item # 8; to explain what on-and-off-site storm water drainage improvements are planned; Item # 9; to provide pedestrian safety crosswalks to get to the field from the parking lot. Jack Lynch seconded the motion and all members voted in favor.
Hawke Crest (File # 02-M03) – Master Plan and Development Plan Review – (23 lots off Wash Freeman Road) – Stacy Rhodes, Agent for Hawke Ridge Developers, Applicants. Ms. Peagler stated that Hawke Crest Subdivision is a residential subdivision consisting of 23 lots on approximately 27 acres. The development will be completed in three separate phases however it is estimated that Phase I and Phase II of the entire development will be completed within two years, therefore; the owner/agent has submitted a combined Master and Development plan for both phases. She stated that the minimum lot size will be 0.92 acres and the maximum lot size will be 1.80 acres and all lots will be served by individual wells and septic systems. Ms. Peagler mentioned that the main access to the property is by a single cul-de-sac street off Wash Freeman Road. A small cul-de-sac street is proposed within the development to provide access to three lots along the rear of the property. The property is located in the Open Use District.
Ms. Peagler stated that Staff has reviewed the Combined Master and Development Plan for conformance with the Henderson County Subdivision Ordinance and stated that all comments have been satisfied regarding the Master Plan. She stated that with regard to the Development Plan, the following comments are contingent on approval:
1. Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control – The Applicant should submit notice from NCDENR that a soil erosion and sedimentation control plan has been received or provide documentation that no plan is required prior to beginning construction (HCSO 170-19).
2. Driveway Connections – Wash Freeman Road and Clear Creek Road are state maintained roads and driveway access permits from NCDOT are required for driveways and for new road connections.
3. Culverts and Drainage Plans - Culverts and drainage structures along proposed roads need to be designed to NCDOT standards. Culvert locations, length, diameter and type should be shown on a revised Development Plan. (HCSO 170-21-D, 170-29-B and Appendix 5)
5. Road Grade – The developers have proposed a combination of paved and stone-based road. The paved sections must extend 50 feet from any point the where the grade exceeds 15%. (HCSO 170-21E)
6. Flag Lot – Lot #20 is a flag lot that requires specific approval from the Planning Board. (HCS0 170-31D).
7. Drive Easement - In Phase II, there is a proposed 30 ft. Drive Easement named Peregrine Trail. With the adoption of amendments to the subdivision ordinance by the Board of Commissioners on March 11, 2002, this road must be built to the standards of the new Private Limited Local Residential Subdivision Road. The road as proposed will not meet the required 90 ft. Centerline Curve Radius. The Board of Commissioners has requested that the Planning Board look at the requirements of centerline curve radius on all roads. So, at this time the developers are not requesting a variance but may later apply for a variance on this section of the Subdivision Ordinance.
Ms. Peagler stated that Staff feels that the submittals satisfactorily address the requirements of the Henderson County Subdivision Ordinance and Staff would recommend approval of the Combined Master and Development Plan subject to the above listed comments being addressed and revised plans being submitted prior to Final Plat approval.
Mr. Stacy Rhodes reviewed the conditions. Mr. Rhodes stated that the soil and erosion control plan has been completed and being submitted now. He said rather than submitting the soil and erosion control plan in phases, they decided to submit it as an entire project and build the major road, Hawke Crest Road so that it would be in place. He said that with regard to the driveway access permit, the application has been submitted at the NCDOT office and he is just waiting for them to meet him at the site to check the site distances. Chairman Pearce inquired as to whether the Board needs to act on the variance request at this time. Ms. Smith stated that the Ordinance states that the request should be submitted as part of the application so therefore Mr. Rhodes is making the Board aware that the request for a variance might be applied for at a later date. Mr. Wolff asked what is the radius on the short cul-de-sac in question. Mr. Rhodes stated that Peregrine Trail has a radius of 90 feet and the first radius that is private has a radius of 71.74 feet, which is about 29 feet under. Mr. Cooper asked is the reason why you cannot meet the required standards of the new Private Limited Local Residential Subdivision Road is because the developer is trying to preserve the flattest piece of property they have in that area? Mr. Rhodes stated that part of it is to make the two house sites and to come back along the grade so that it would not be greater than 15%. Mr. Rhodes stated that there should be no areas greater than a 15% grade if we keep these curve radiuses as indicated. After further discussion, Roger Wolff made a motion that the Planning Board find and conclude that the combined Master and Development Plan submitted for Hawke Crest Subdivision complies with the provisions of the Subdivision Ordinance except for those matters addressed in the technical comment section which have not been satisfied by the applicant which are: Items 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, and further move that such Plan be approved subject to the following conditions: The applicant satisfies comments 1,2,3,5,6 under the Development Plan Technical comments in the Staff memo with specific approval of Flag Lot # 20 and that we specifically note that the applicant retains their right for a variance request in regard to the driveway easement on Peregrine Trail with regards to the 90 foot centerline curve radius. Mike Cooper seconded the motion and all members voted in favor.
Springfield (File # 02-M04) – Master Plan and Phase I Development Plan Review – (75 lots off Eade Road – 8 lots in Phase I) – Terry Baker, Agent for Westside Development Partners, Applicants. Ms. Peagler stated that this is a Master Plan and a Development Plan for Phase I within the Springfield Subdivision. Springfield is a residential subdivision consisting of 75 individual lots on 27 acres of land off Eade Road. Terry Baker has submitted a Master Plan for the entire development combined with a Development Plan for Phase I. Ms. Peagler stated that Mr. Baker has submitted a revised Master Plan showing the spring and the railroad right-of-way. She stated that the development will be constructed in three phases with Phase I being 7 lots on 5.8 acres. The first phase will be on a public water system with individual septic systems. The next two phases are to be served by public water source and a private sewer system (Etowah Sewer Company). Two private loop roads and four private cul-de-sac roads will access the lots. The property is located in Open Use district. Ms. Peagler stated that Staff has reviewed the Master Plan and the Development Plan for conformance with the Henderson County Subdivision Ordinance and said that all requirements have been satisfied with regards to the Master Plan. She said regarding the Development Plan, the following items are contingent on approval:
1. Zoning – On a revised plat indicate that the property is in the Open Use Zoning District (HCSO Appendix 5).
2. Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control – The Applicant should submit notice from NCDENR that a Soil Erosion and Sedimentation Control Plan has been received or provide documentation that no plan is required prior to beginning construction (HCSO 170-19).
3. Water System – The applicant should provide documentation from the City of Hendersonville that sufficient water capacity is available. The applicant must also submit evidence that water supply system plans have been approved or acknowledgement of their submission. (HCSO 170-20)
4. Fire Hydrants – On a revised Development Plan, the applicant should show location of existing and proposed fire hydrants. (HCSO 170-20-C)
5. Culverts and Drainage Plans - Culverts and drainage structures along proposed roads need to be designed to NCDOT standards. Culvert locations, length, diameter and type should be shown on a revised Development Plan. (HCSO 170-21-D, 170-29-B and Appendix 5)
6. Farmland Preservation District – This property appears to be within 1/2 mile of a Farmland Preservation district (French Broad). Therefore, the applicant needs to submit an Affidavit of Understanding of Farmland Preservation District. The Final Plat should include a notation that the property is within ˝ mile of land in a Farmland Preservation District. (HCSO 170-35)
7. Restrictive Covenants- Applicant should submit a copy of the restrictive covenants for the development or certification indicating none will be used. (HCSO 170-36)
8. Driveway Connections – Eade Road is a state maintained road and driveway access permits will be required from NCDOT for driveways and for new road connection.
Ms. Peagler stated that the submittal is for approval of the Revised Master Plan and Revised Development Plan for the subdivision. Staff feels that the submittals satisfactorily address the requirements of the Henderson County Subdivision Ordinance. Staff and would recommend approval of the Revised Master Plan and approval of the Revised Development Plan subject to the above listed comments being addressed and revised plans addressing the above comments being submitted prior to Final Plat approval.
Mr. Lynch asked whether the Etowah Sewer Company has the capacity to service the next two phases of this project. Ms. Smith stated that they will need to address evidence of capacity and approval of the plan with documentation when Staff looks at the Phase III plan. She said that on the first phase since they will be on individual septic systems, the developer did not have to show the private sewer system by Etowah Sewer Company but Ms. Peagler did speak with the representative from that company who is aware of the project. Mr. Terry Baker, agent for the project said that the Etowah Sewer Company recently doubled the size of their plant and went on-line three weeks ago and have approximately three hundred taps available at this time to the system. Mr. Baker said that until we have the actual drawings from the engineer, they would not give a definite letter saying that it is ok to be served by them but they have verbally committed to the developer if everything meets their criteria. Roger Wolff stated that if the end requirement to allow a subdivision that is within so many feet of a sewer line, does it have to hook-up to a sewer line? Ms. Smith stated that there are provisions in the Ordinance that do require that unless they can demonstrate otherwise that this does not meet the distance requirement. She said that this is what they talked to the Etowah Sewer Company representative about and if the closest line is not within the distance that would require mandatory hook-up. Chairman Pearce asked about the railroad easement and far does that go into the lots? Mr. Baker stated that the calculation of the square footage of the lot is still the same without the easement. He said the lot acreage is pretty much the same all the way around excluding the right-of-way, which we took into consideration the 50-foot right-of-way there. Chairman Pearce said that you did not conclude the 50-foot right-of-way in the calculations on the lot? Mr. Baker said no he did not, and added that he tried to get all of the lots around .25 of an acre. Valerie Welbourn made a motion to move that the Planning Board find and conclude that the Master Plan and the Development Plan submitted for Springfield Subdivision complies with the Provisions of the Subdivision Ordinance except for those matters addressed in
the Technical Comment section of Staff’s memo that have not been satisfied by the applicant; and further move that such Plans be approved subject to the
following conditions: The applicant satisfying comments 1 through 8 under the Development Plan Technical Comments in the Staff memo. Leon Allison
seconded the motion and all members voted in favor.
Request by Board of Commissioners for Planning Board to Study Certain Issues in the Subdivision Ordinance – Planning Staff. Ms. Smith stated that there is a copy of a letter from Mr. Moyer regarding the subdivision amendments. She said that it informs the Board members that the Board of Commissioners adopted the set of three amendments to the Subdivision Ordinance on March 11, 2002. Ms. Smith stated that during the hearing a couple of surveyors, Mr. Stacy Rhodes included, spoke to the Board of Commissioners about the issue of centerline curve radius, sight distance on vertical curves and cut and fill slope. The Commissioners also heard from Mr. A.J. Ball concerning shoulder issues. Ms. Smith with regard to this, the Board of Commissioners has asked that the Planning Board take a look at some of these issues and to see if the Board members want to suggest any amendments to the Ordinance to go along with these items. She suggested that a subcommittee meet with the surveyors who raised the issues at the hearing. There are other items that have been outstanding that some Planning Board members have brought up such as approval authority on subdivisions and other larger, global issues with the Subdivision Ordinance. Ms. Smith suggested that under Subcommittee Assignments and Meeting Dates, the Board could discuss pulling together the Subcommittee that worked together on Subdivision Amendments previously or a new subcommittee could be formed. Mr. Moyer stated that he thought the Planning Board should focus at this time on the issues raised at the hearing.
Request for Planning Board to Consider Initiating a Proposed Zoning Map Amendment to Rezone Land on Souther Road Owned by Robert Suttles from RC to R-20 – Leon Allison for James Robert Suttles. Mr. Leon Allison stated that he would recuse himself from any decision made regarding this issue because of personal interest. Mr. Freeman briefed the Board members regarding the rezoning application R-06-01 initiated by Mr. Garland on Souther Road from RC to R-20 district. He stated that several problems have occurred regarding this application. He said that at last month’s meeting he presented this application again because of a parcel that was missed from the initial application and wanted to bring it back to the Planning Board so that it could be presented to the Board of Commissioners on its own to remedy that problem. He said that since that time Mr. Suttles, who according to the map, owns parcels 7, 9 and 21, which is shown on the site and zoning map distributed to each Board member, has contacted the Planning Department and wishes to be withdrawn from the rezoning application R-06-01. Currently Mr. Suttles parcels 7 and 9 are now zoned R-20, parcel 21 was not part of this rezoning application. Mr. Freeman wanted the Board members to note Mr. Suttles signature on the petition to rezone to R-20. Mr. Freeman stated that Staff had no idea what was going on in Mr. Suttles’ mind at the time that the original application was submitted, as Mr. Garland was acting as Mr. Suttles agent. He said that in speaking with Mr. Suttles after the fact, Mr. Suttles signed the petition for rezoning based on the understanding that Mr. Garland needed Mr. Suttles signature and land area in order to avoid the spot zoning issue and therefore makes it more likely for Mr. Garland to obtain the rezoning request. He said that Mr. Suttles has since decided that was not the case and his signature was not necessary on the petition and he would rather not be zoned R-20 and be zoned RC. However, he did not let Staff know this until after the public hearing and the rezoning had passed by the Board of Commissioners. Mr. Freeman stated that this is his understanding at the moment. He said Mr. Leon Allison has been involved in trying to help Mr. Suttles figure out what to do. Mr. Suttles contacted Staff several times, who advised Mr. Suttles that the only way Staff could retroactively come back to RC, would be for him to submit the application fee of $ 250.00 and go forward with a separate rezoning application on his own. Mr. Freeman asked Leon Allison at this time to discuss his involvement in this matter with the Board. Mr. Allison explained the way he got involved in this matter. He said that at the last Planning Board meeting Mr. Freeman could not get in touch with Mr. Suttles because of his phone being disconnected. He said he knows Mr. Suttles as “Bobby Suttles” and has known him for years. He said he contacted him and Mr. Suttles had mentioned that he did not want his parcel rezoned. Mr. Allison stated that Mr. Suttles was under the impression that he was helping his neighbor, Mr. Garland and that was the only way Mr. Garland was going to get his property rezoned if he signed the petition. Mr. Suttles had said to Mr. Allison, “if he did not have his property rezoned from RC to R-20 would it affect Mr. Garland’s property?” Mr. Allison said he did not feel that it would have any affect on Mr. Garland’s property. Mr. Allison stated that basically it was a mix-up and a misunderstanding. He said that the Suttles do not have any knowledge of planning and zoning. Mr. Allison said the main reason he does not want his property rezoned would be that if in the future his wife or family members might want to start a small business. Mr. Allison asked Mr. Freeman what RC and R-20 permits? Mr. Freeman stated that RC allows a range of small businesses that are intended to exist in rural areas, and that R-20 does not allow commercial. Mr. Allison said that therefore, Mr. Suttles would like the zoning left, as it was previous, RC. Mr. Allison stated that Mr. Suttles does not have the funds to initiate a rezoning. Therefore, Mr. Allison mentioned that he would pay the funds for Mr. Suttles, if the Planning Board deems it necessary to do so. Chairman Pearce asked what the approximate size of parcel # 7? Mr. Freeman stated that it meets the 20,000 square foot requirements for R-20 and parcel # 9 is approximately 4 acres. Mr. Freeman stated that he feels that Mr. Suttles was not fully aware of what was going on, but he feels that he knew enough that he was aware that his property was going to be rezoned. Chairman Pearce asked when was the date of the original signing of the petition? Mr. Freeman stated that the application was initiated in September 2001. Mr. Lynch asked whether, since the fact is that Mr. Suttles signed the petition, does the Planning Board have the legal authority to change the zoning back? Ms. Smith stated that it has to go through a hearing. Chairman Pearce said it has to go through the process, but the question is, does the Board initiate the rezoning, or does Mr. Suttles need to go through the normal process and initiate the rezoning? Chairman Pearce said the only thing about the Board initiating the rezoning for an individual is that the members on the Board need to be careful not to politicize these type of things to help their friends. He feels that this is not the case in this situation, but he is more worried about setting precedence. He said he would probably be more interested in seeing if there is some way to let Mr. Suttles bring the application, but if we were concerned about the financial part of this issue, offer to either abate the filing fee in this particular case or reduce it or something along that line. He said he personally feels that the Board should not initiate these type of things of this small of a magnitude. Ms. Welbourn said that she feels this gentleman did not understand and she can empathize with that as she said that ten years ago she would not understand the process either, but she does not want to too loosely say that if they do not understand, then we’ll take it back because next time somebody who knows about the process may sign the petition and may come back to the Board saying they did not understand, then at that time the Planning Board will be put into a situation because we had done it for someone else previously and had dismissed the fee, so it is a matter of precedence. She said that if we do it for one person, she feels obligated to do it for others. Mr. Allison stated that this issue is not political or any type of grandstanding about it. He said it was presented to these members and that they needed to do this for Mr. Garland to get his property zoned. Mr. Allison said he was trying to help his neighbor out because if they did not agree with the rezoning, it would be considered spot zoning and it would not go before the Commissioners. Mr. Freeman stated that when Mr. Garland first came to Staff regarding the application, we advised him to try to get as many parcels together as possible, which we feel is always a good strategy. He said that in this case there are two R-20 districts that are being linked up by parcels in between, so having parcels 7 and 9 did not necessarily make or break the application. He added that parcel 9 certainly helped to link up the rezoning of R-20 and parcel 9 helped as well. Ms. Welbourn stated that there could be unscrupulous people out there who would have all kinds of reasons to back their signature(s). Mr. Freeman stated that his recommendation to the Planning Board was based on a large part, on the presence of parcels 7 and 9 in the application. He said initially, if parcel 7 had been left out, he would have had reservations regarding the rezoning as it interjects potentially conflicting uses between parcels 6 and 8 of the R-20 district. He stated that the configuration influenced his decision. Mr. Freeman said that he speculates that he communicated that to Mr. Garland and he believes that Mr. Garland only partially understood what Staff communicated to him. He said that Staff in no way communicated to Mr. Garland that the property owners had to be part of this application in order for the application to be approved. Mr. Lynch stated that he feels that Mr. Garland convinced Mr. Suttles to sign the petition, which he did and in good faith. Mr. Allison explained the reason why he felt Mr. Garland needed the rezoning. Mr. Lynch stated that the Board was not part of that discussion so how does the Board get involved. He added that the Board should set a precedence that not any one can come back and withdraw from the original application. Chairman Pearce stated that he is not withdrawing. He said an application is being made to zone two parcels from R-20 to RC and at this point in time we are not looking at it as a withdrawal but as a request to initiate a proposed zoning map amendment as proposed by Mr. Allison for James Robert Suttles. He said the question is not whether or not we agree that parcels 7 and/or 9 should be rezoned, the question is whether the Planning Board is willing to initiate a rezoning request. Mr. Wolff stated that he does not feel that it is in the Planning Board’s rights to initiate. Chairman Pearce stated that the Board does in fact have the right to initiate a proposed zoning map amendment. Chairman Pearce requested a motion to either go forward on this application request or to deny the request. Mr. Wolff asked if the Board chooses not to go ahead as a Planning Board, then Mr. Suttles or his assigned person can come in and make the application. Mr. Lynch made a motion that the applicant should fill out the application to rezone parcels 7 and 9 from R-20 to RC. Valerie Welbourn seconded the motion. After further discussion, Mr. Freeman stated that if the Planning Board initiates the application tonight, this would spare the applicant of two months of waiting but if the application is initiated by Mr. Suttles, the earliest it can be submitted will be May. Mr. Allison stated that time is really not important. Mike Cooper, Valerie Welbourn, Jack Lynch, Rebecca Nesbitt and Chairman Pearce voted in favor of the motion. Todd Thompson and Roger Wolff opposed the motion. The motion carried 5 to 2 that the applicant should fill out the application to rezone parcels 7 and 9 from R-20 to RC. Mr. Freeman stated that the reason why this emerged as a problem goes to the way we handle rezoning applications. He stated that Staff’s policy is that we do not contact every single property owner in the application as he feels there is not enough Staff time to do this. In this particular rezoning there are only nine parcels and we could have contacted each one of them to discuss this request in advance. However, because it has not been the policy previously, we did not do this with this request. Mr. Freeman stated that there are applicants, such as Mr. Suttles, who are from a generation and background that does not have a great deal of experience with zoning and Mr. Freeman stated that it is important for him to educate these folks as they move into a process of rezoning their property. He stated that Staff should try to think of a way on big rezonings to make the issues clear so this will not happen again. Chairman Pearce stated that he feels Mr. Freeman has brought up a good point. Ms. Smith said that the Planning Board has had a policy that use to apply to new zonings and that was before Open Use Zoning was present. She said Staff would previously receive large applications and we would not have a way under the Zoning Ordinance to deal with them and so therefore the Planning Board established a policy that recommended the property owner or the lead applicant have a meeting and invite Staff to that meeting with the community and demonstrate through signatures that the number of people and their acreage and support. She added that there are two ways, one is through a policy and the other is through a procedure in our Ordinance. She said that Mr. Freeman has made some contacts with some other organizations as to how they handle these matters. Since the County now has Open Use, everything is a rezoning and this matter is something we need to investigate. Chairman Pearce asked why would it be so laborious on a rezoning application to send a letter stating that their name is on list favoring an application for rezoning as a petitioner and to explain the differences in the change of the zoning and the additional restrictions that will be placed on the land. Mr. Freeman stated that this could be done; it is just a matter of cost and time. Mr. Allison stated that he has reservations regarding sending a list out and never seeing the people who initiate the zoning come before the Planning Board and then everything could be explained at that time. Mr. Wolff stated that during a visit to the City offices, he learned that the City has some type of procedure in which there is a mandatory meeting called. Ms. Smith stated that is used when the City does special use district zoning. Commissioner Charlie Messer stated that there are people all over Henderson County that live in rural areas who if they want to stop something, think they can stop it by zoning or a moratorium. In this situation, because a property owner’s daughter needed a place to live and her property did not meet the standards of the district, they requested a rezoning to meet her needs and in doing so, he asked the community for signatures to help in this situation. He said it is not only in this area but other areas of the County; there are people who do not realize what is involved in their signature for rezoning now and in the future. He added that he agrees with Mr. Freeman on how to solve this matter and maybe a letter should be sent to everyone concerned and try to get verification that the right steps will be taken. After further discussion, Chairman Pearce stated that he would like to recommend a procedure that we pick a suitable time to notify those petitioners who have signed and have given addresses and mail to them that by signing the petition they are acknowledging that they are in favor of something that changes their property from one district to another and that in doing so this is how it effects the land. He added that this procedure should be used at the beginning stages when Staff is in receipt of the application. He said that this might resolve some of these issues and it might also insure that whatever was told to them when they did sign the petition meets with their expectation and if there is a change, it can be resolved at the start. Mr. Cooper asked, “what is to keep the applicant, if they are the one campaigning for the signatures, from taking those documents instead of mailing them and requesting a response, because not everyone is going to respond back by mail.” Ms. Smith stated that the applicant usually has the material, but whether they share it, she said she does not know. Ms. Welbourn said it might be perceived that by requesting a response, the Planning Board does not trust anyone. Commissioner Messer said that when the Commissioners heard this initially, seventy-five percent of the people were at the meeting and were the ones that signed the petition and they were in favor of the rezoning. He said the Board and Staff could figure out a better way so that this type of problem will not happen again. Ms. Smith stated that she is not ready to make this a policy from now on. Chairman Pearce suggested that if any Board member has an opinion about this matter to mail it to Ms. Smith before the next meeting. Mr. Cooper added that he feels there needs to be a better form and procedure than the one at present and that the applicant can be the one responsible for collecting and bringing them to Staff. Mr. Moyer said that one of the things that needs to have careful consideration in this area, when people want to stop something they listen to what they are going to stop and very rarely read the rest of the document. He said if the Board were going to let everyone come in later and say, “they did not understand what it was going to do with me, but understood what it was going to do with you,” there will be no end to which would become a real problem. He said that by giving the material and asking people to read and understand is a great task to undertake, even for the Planning Board. Ms. Smith stated that Staff always tries to make it clear to people when they mention they want to stop something that more than likely they will not stop it.
Subcommittee Assignments and Meeting Dates. Chairman Pearce asked Staff to check with Walter Carpenter regarding scheduling a Special Issues Subcommittee meeting to discuss the Subdivision Amendments mentioned in Mr. Moyer’s letter.
Adjournment. There being no further business, Jack Lynch made a motion to adjourn and Leon Allison seconded the motion. All members voted in favor. The meeting adjourned at 8:45 PM.
Tedd M. Pearce, Chairman Kathleen Scanlan, Secretary