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Lincoln County library discussions on county agenda

Inside the West Lincoln branch of the Lincoln County Public Library in Vale.

Staff Writer

The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners will hear a report from the Lincoln County Library Board of Trustees during tonight’s regular monthly meeting.

Earlier this year, Kimberly Bolan and Associates — a library consulting firm — completed an in-depth study of the county’s libraries and offered a summary of the most pressing needs. The library board has since created a list of facility priorities for the Lincoln County Public Library system based on that assessment.

In April, the commissioners voted unanimously to move forward with the construction of a new West Lincoln library facility. That new 10,000 square-foot library will be built on 35 acres of donated land near West Lincoln High School, replacing the current 2,500 square-foot facility located in a shopping center off of Highway 27 in Vale.

Tonight, the library board will recommend securing a location for a new Lincolnton library as soon as possible before land becomes unavailable or more expensive, according to information submitted with tonight’s agenda. The board will request the construction of a multi-story facility with a parking deck so that the library can be built on a smaller lot.

Given the expected difficulty of expanding the Florence S. Shanklin Memorial Library in Denver, the library board will also recommend the construction of an additional facility of at least 16,000 square feet in the vicinity of East Lincoln High School. The board will also propose cosmetic updates at the Shanklin library to be completed within the next 10 years.

Finally, the library board will ask that all of their funding requests related to these facilities fall under a bond referendum. Their goal is to have all of the facilities completed by 2025, which will be the 100-year anniversary of the Lincoln County Public Library system.

In other county business, the commissioners will cast the final vote on three proposed amendments to the Lincoln County Unified Development Ordinance. The Lincoln County Planning Board has voted unanimously to recommend approval of all three amendments, two of which come as a result of new state laws.

The first state law requires that a governing board, in approving a zoning amendment that is inconsistent with an adopted comprehensive plan such as the Lincoln County Land Use Plan, to adopt a statement declaring that the approval is also deemed an immediate amendment to the plan that has been modified. The new state law is the result of a regulatory reform bill signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper this summer that will take effect on Oct. 1.

The second amendment will put the county in compliance with another new state law that exempts certain divisions of land from local subdivision standards and establishes a new category of subdivisions that qualify for expedited review.

The division of land to settle an estate will now be exempt from local subdivision regulations, according to Session Law 2017-10, which Cooper signed into law in May. The law also states that a parcel of land that is under single ownership and greater than five acres will be allowed an expedited review process requiring only final plat review as long as no more than three lots result from the division of the land. The proposed amendment would also exempt those same subdivided parcels from the minimum road construction standards.

The third and final proposed amendment would add community facilities such as churches and schools as projects that are eligible for a special nonresidential intensity allocation (SNIA) under the 10/70 option in water-supply watershed districts. For nonresidential projects, the watershed regulations limit the built-upon area to a certain percentage of the total acreage of the site unless an SNIA is approved.

Under the 10/70 option, 10 percent of the acreage in a watershed district may be developed with new projects that have up to 70 percent built-upon area. To date, a total of 12 projects have been approved under the 10/70 option, according to Lincoln County zoning administrator Randy Hawkins.

The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners will meet tonight at 6:30 p.m. on the third floor of the James W. Warren Citizens Center, located at 115 West Main Street in Lincolnton.

Image courtesy of LTN File

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