Discussion was resumed Monday night regarding the fates of the proposed Rescue Squad Park and East Lincoln Community Center. According to Lincoln County manager Tracy Jackson, the Denver Rotary Club is interested in rebidding and separating out the proposed Farmer’s Market building. At their March meeting, county commissioners requested that Jackson and Parks and Recreation Director Erma Deen Hoyle recover the documentation where the county commissioners agreed to assume all control and responsibility for coordinating the maintenance of Rescue Squad Park.
“In the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund grant (PARTF) completed for this project, there is an agreement that the Board of Commissioners approved that the county would assume responsibility for the maintenance,” Jackson said.
However, Jackson said he was unable to confirm whether the grant proposal was received in full prior to the meeting or whether it was handed out during the meeting.
Hoyle added that the agreement listed in the PARTF grant proposal was discussed during the October County Commissioner meeting as well as during their budget retreat.
“We had made a presentation back in October stating the Rock Springs Park had received the PARTF grant but Rescue Squad Park had not,” Hoyle said. “After we did that, I was asked at that meeting what could be done to increase the points for Rescue Squad Park so the park could qualify for the PARTF grant…that was one of the goals and directions I was given, to discuss with the Denver/Lake Norman Rotary Club that one of the options would be for the county would be responsible for the park’s maintenance, in order to improve the PARTF score.”
County Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the rebidding of Rescue Squad Park and explore alternate designs for the multipurpose building.
East Lincoln Community Center
County Commissioners received an update on the somewhat controversial East Lincoln Community Center Monday night.
“The Finance Officer has had a chance to go out and look at possible installment finance purchasing plan for this, so it would be nice to get a decision tonight, so we know where we’re heading with the community center,” Jackson said.
“Before we can sign a contract for the construction, we have to have a contract in place,” Finance Director Deanna Rios explained. “We can add it to our installment purchase contract that we’ll be issuing hopefully by the first part of the June meeting with the LGC. The amount that we’re going to finance would be an additional $250,000.”
Rios and commissioner Jim Klein spent much of the community center discussion debating the CIP Budget for 2014 and the finances allotted to the East Lincoln Community Center. According to Klein, the CIP Budget for 2014 does not currently reflect that money from previous CIP budget years has been set aside for the East Lincoln Community Center project. Rios disagreed, stating that while there was no “new money,” there was money from previous budget years that had carried over to FY 14.
“That’s a lot more money than we thought it would cost, budgeted or not,” Klein said. “This park isn’t different than the Rescue Squad Park, in that we’re at the end of the (fiscal) year, both are over-budget by six figures. In the case of the Rescue Park, which is a much smaller number, we said, ‘Let’s give (Jackson) a chance to put together the numbers and see what the FY 15 budget will look like.’ In this case, which is triple the amount, we’re not affording (Jackson) the same opportunity. Now I can’t vote to reconsider our decision on the community center, but what I can say is that that doesn’t sound very consistent if we anguished over $450,000 for the Rescue Park and in the blink of an eye, we spent a million dollars on the community center, which is not going to happen this year.”
Commissioner Carroll Mitchem made the motion to approve that the difference be financed by the county. County Commissioners approved the motion 3-1, with Klein in opposition.
N.C. 16/N.C. 150 Small Area Plan
Lincoln County Planner Randy Williams led the public hearing regarding the approval of the N.C. 16/ N.C. 150 Small Area Plan. According to Williams, the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners and the Planning Board identified the location as a study area in 2007. Since then, two community meetings have been held to gather input on local issues in the area as well as receive commentary regarding the draft plan revisions.
Williams noted that over the past seven years, there have been many infrastructure changes to that area, including the construction and completion of Highway 16.
“In 2007, a lot of the land was zoned industrial, with small areas of commercial, residential and mixed use zoning,” he said. “Now in 2014, we have three main changes we’d like to begin. The changes include a portion of the Commercial-Residential rezoned to a Mixed Use and Commercial, a portion of the Industrial rezoned to Mixed Use, and a portion of Industrial rezoned to Medium Density Residential.”
Williams continued his presentation by listing the county’s revised Development Guidelines, which he said were similar to Catawba County’s Unified Development Ordinance.
“We wanted to ensure we were creating cohesiveness from one county to the next,” he explained.
Lincoln County’s proposed Development Guidelines consists of the following 12 components: Building Articulation, Building Façade Materials, Creative Architectural Elements, Parking Lot Lighting, Wall Signage, Ground Signage, Natural Buffer Areas, Dumpster Screening, Pervious Pavement, Low Impact Design, Connected Sidewalks and Utility Screening. The Planning Department also devised a list of proposed Small Area Plan goals, such as encouraging and supporting development, minimizing impact, protecting the floodplains, keeping open space accessible, offering an integrated road network, enhancing storm water protection and improving unsafe traffic conditions at N.C. 150 and the Henry Dellinger Road intersection.
Klein was the first to share his concerns over the proposal, stating that he was under the impression that in his discussions with the Lincoln Economic Development Association, N.C. 16 and N.C. 150 was supposed to offer new industrial zoning in order to create the next footprint after Airlie Business Park.
Williams then explained that while that was the original intent, two industrial park sites after Airlie Business Park were being looked at as industrial zoning area.
“I don’t have a problem with changing the Small Area Plan focus, but if the most recent discussion with LEDA took place three years ago, they might not be on board with this still,” Klein said. “I want to make sure LEDA truly understands what they are, in essence, giving up, so they aren’t blindsided by this.”
Mitchem, agreed with Klein’s line of thinking, stating that the board should wait to make its vote on the final decision.
During the public hearing, a Denver resident, located on Henry Dellinger Road, spoke in opposition to the proposed plan due to his ownership of a specific region, which consists of approximately 140 parcels of land.
“The problem I have with this (proposal) is that a good portion — three-fourths of that land — is either my father’s, mine or my cousins’ property,” he said. “Some of this land won’t ever be sold. There’s not a big potential for real estate development here. The Planning Department is not considering the ownership of the land.”
“What this gentleman said about ownership is important,” Mitchem said. “In my opinion, this plan is a waste of time. How are you ever going to get 140 landowners to make the land look like that map?”
According to Planning and Inspections Director Andrew Bryant, it would take approximately 10 owners of the land in question to accomplish the three proposed changes.
“I’ve tried to emphasize through the community meetings that these property owners are under no obligation to sell or change their land,” Bryant said. “But, what we’re trying to do is look ahead 10 to 20 years and ensure that change can happen if the property were to sell.”
Klein then proposed a motion to table a final decision until their next meeting to allow Bryant and Williams time to speak with LEDA.
County Commissioners approved the motion 3-1, with County Commissioner Carl Robinson in opposition.
Relocation Possible for Adult Community Corrections Office
County Commissioners unanimously approved a motion to terminate two lease agreements for the Adult Community Corrections Office Space. According to Jackson, the program was running out of office space due to the recent rise in probation officers employed.
“One solution would be moving these folks out to the old hospital,” Jackson said. “While it would involve some interior design changes, the Youth Probation Office is already over there.”
The plan would allow the adult corrections office to relocate to the old hospital by September, with design work completed by October.
“This seems to be a great opportunity; they’ll have plenty of space, and it could save the county money in the future,” Jackson said.
Zoning Public Hearings
Applicant Ralph Dickson is requesting permission to have a 0.92 acre parcel rezoned from General Industrial to Neighborhood Business. The property is located at 4110 N. N.C. 16 Highway, on the north side of N.C. 16 Business and the west side of Denver Industrial Park Drive, in the Catawba Springs Township. The Planning Board voted 6-0 to recommend approval.
American Marine Liquidators, Inc. is requesting a conditional use permit to sell boats and cars in the General Industrial district in the Eastern Lincoln Development District. The 16-acre property is located at 4879 N. N.C. 16 Highway, on the south side of N.C. 16 Business and the west side of Burnwood Trail, in the Catawba Springs Township. The Planning Board voted 6-0 to recommend approval.
Applicant Dr. Matt Motteler is requesting for a conditional use permit to allow the use of high-density option in the WS-IV Critical Area of the Catawba/Lake Norman Watershed. At the public hearing, Motteler proposed to expand an office building and create additional parking. The Planning Board voted 6-0 to recommend approval.