MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 2011
The Watauga County Board of Commissioners held a special meeting on Monday, September 12, 2011, at 5:00 P.M. in the Commissioners' Board Room of the Watauga County Administration Building, Boone, North Carolina.
PRESENT: Nathan A. Miller, Chairman
Tim Futrelle, Commissioner
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board
The following Town of Boone Representatives were also present: Mayor Loretta Clawson; Mayor Pro-Tem Lynne Mason; and Council Members Rennie Brantz, Jamie Leigh, and Steven Phillips. Town Attorney Sam Furguiele, Town Manager Greg Young, Town Clerk Freida Van Allen, Public Utilities Director Rick Miller, and Police Chief Dana Crawford were also present.
Chairman Miller called the meeting to order at 5:04 P.M.
Discussion of Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) Appointments to Town of Boone Boards
Both County Attorney Eggers and Town Attorney Furguiele shared their legal opinions regarding the Town of Boone’s recent Ordinance amendments which gave the Town the authority to appoint ETJ representatives to their Board of Adjustments and Planning Commission.
After lengthy discussion, both the Boone Town Council and Watauga County Board of Commissioners were agreeable that the ETJ appointments to the Town’s Board of Adjustments and Planning Commission would revert back to being appointed by the Board of Commissioners as long as the appointee resided in the Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction. The Board of Commissioners would consider, but held the right to reject, any recommendations for the ETJ position from the Town of Boone. The Town of Boone would hold the right to dismiss an appointee who once appointed did not meet requirements such as attendance.
Discussion of Water Allocation for the Old High School Property
Rick Miller, Public Utilities Director for the Town of Boone, stated that the County had requested the Town of Boone waive fees associated with water allocations for the new high school while under construction.
In lieu of that request, the Town of Boone transferred the water allocation associated with the old high school to the new high school. That transfer left the old high school property without a designated water allocation. Since that time, the County had requested a water allocation in the amount of 200,000 gallons per day (GPD) for the old high school property which would enhance its salability. Rather than designate an allocation, the Town offered to set aside 70,000 GPD for the property; however, after additional consideration, the Town raised the set aside amount of water to 150,000 GPD.
Mr. Miller stated that the Town’s Water Ordinance was to expire December 31, 2011, and, therefore, the water set aside of 150,000 GPD for the old high school property would also expire. During discussions, Mr. Miller stated that the County could request the set aside again upon expiration; however, even if the water was set aside, a future buyer would be required to apply for an official water allocation when developing the property.
Discussion was also held regarding big-box retailers being able to meet the Town’s requirements for building on the old high school property. The Town Attorney stated that the Town’s Ordinance limited structures to a 150,000 square foot footprint. A big-box retailer could, therefore, meet the requirements by either requesting a variance from the Town’s Board of Adjustment or by constructing a multi-level or multi-unit facility.
[Clerk’s Note: At this time, Commissioner Deal had to leave the meeting due to a prior obligation.]
Vice-Chairman Blust, seconded by Commissioner Gable, moved to officially excuse Commissioner Deal from the remainder of the meeting.
VOTE: Aye-4(Miller, Blust, Deal, Gable)
Discussion of Centralized Dispatch
Commissioner Gable gave examples of how safety and cost benefits could be realized by centralized dispatch and how Homeland Security supported the move. Along with this information, Commissioner Gable stated that upcoming requirements could be costly to meet. Sheriff Hagaman and Captain Jeff Virginia were present and joined in the discussion. Captain Virginia stated that E-911 was recommending that at least two dispatchers be on-the-job 24 hours per day.
Commissioner Gable invited the Town of Boone to join with the Board of Commissioners in exploring options available for centralized dispatch.
Mayor Pro-Tem Mason stated that the Council had appointed several representatives to work with the County on this endeavor.
Sheriff Hagaman, who the Board of Commissioners had appointed to organize the endeavor, stated that meetings between organizations had been conducted to date; however, he agreed that the various stakeholders needed to meet, sooner rather than later, to begin discussions on the technicalities of centralized dispatch. The Sheriff stated that the technical hardware aspect had been the main focus of discussion thus far.
Mayor Clawson stated that the Town of Boone had not yet discussed changes to their E-911 system; however, their representatives were ready to meet and discuss centralized dispatch.
Discussion of Greenway Trail System
Town of Boone Councilmembers Steven Phillips and Jamie Leigh, representatives of the Town’s Greenway Committee, discussed the need for connection of the Greenway Trail from the Town’s Sewer Plant to Brookhollow Road. The need was brought to the County’s attention as the area was located in the County.
Mayor Pro-Tem Mason stated that currently a rough footprint of an unofficial trail that stretched from the County’s Hannah Building to the Town’s Sewer Plant existed and was used by citizens. The proposed quarter-mile connector would need to cross property owned by Southern Agriculture from which an easement could potentially be acquired.
Commissioner Gable mentioned that a berm would most likely be needed on the Southern Agriculture property due to the extensive amount of chemicals associated with that business.
By consensus, the Board of Commissioners requested the Town of Boone work with the Watauga County Tourism Development Authority (TDA) to formalize an official request to be presented for consideration at a future regular meeting of the Board of Commissioners.
Mayor Clawson asked Councilmember Phillips to work with the TDA in preparing a request for the Greenway Trail Connector near Brookhollow Road.
While on the subject of pedestrian and cyclist safety, Chairman Miller mentioned the area on King Street north of the Human Services Center and asked if the Town could extend their sidewalk system to minimize safety hazards associated with that area.
Mayor Pro-Tem Mason stated that it was a complicated issue as it was a State road and there was not an existing right-of-way.
Commissioner Gable, seconded by Vice-Chairman Blust, moved to adjourn the meeting at 6:21 P.M.
VOTE: Aye-4(Miller, Blust, Futrelle, Gable)
Nathan A. Miller, Chairman
Anita J. Fogle, Clerk to the Board