Chatham County Board Of Commissioners Meeting Notes and Information

courthouseoldJim Elza appointed to fill Commissioner Sally Kost’s seat; Regional transportation committees; Planning board’s annual report; Briar Chapel reduces viewshed buffer; State of County annual report

Work Session and Regular Session (Petty absent, Bock chaired, Pam Stewart, Mike Cross.  Jim Elza sworn in for Regular Session)
1.   Sally Kost replacement.  Jim Elza, Democrat from District 1, who was nominated from the Chatham Democratic Party and who also was only applicant through the County process, was appointed to fill Sally’s seat until December.  Jim Elza served as Planning Director in Guilford County for years and was currently a member of the Chatham County Planning Board.  He was sworn in at the evening meeting.

2. Appointments to transportation planning boards.  Elza was immediately appointed to represent Chatham on two regional transportation boards [no commissioner wanted this task]: the Triangle Area Rural Transportation Organization (TARPO), and the Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (DCHC-MPO).  After months of discussion relating to whether Chatham should withdraw from the DCHC-MPO and pay the $11,201 fee, the BOC approved the agreement and fee.

A letter from the DCHC-MPO Lead Planning Agency reminded the BOC of how Chatham has benefitted from this program:
(a) Pedestrian facilities on US 15/501 in Cole Park area north to county line to serve existing commercial and UNC Park-and-Ride lot and landscaping along US 15/501 - $166,306 of STPDA (from ARRA) in 2009
(b) Resurfacing of roadways - $78,949 of STPDA (from ARRA) in 2009
(c)American Tobacco Trail New Hope Church Road trailhead parking lot - $796,850 of CMAQ, expected to bid shortly

The letter also stated:  “Chatham County has not had a Board of Commissioners member regularly attending MPO Board meetings since 2010. However, Chatham County staff members have regularly attended the Technical Committee meetings.”

Read more: March 17 2014 Chatham BOC Summary

Published on Tuesday, March 18 2014 18:16

BOC wants another candidate for Sally Kost’s empty seat; BOC members too busy to serve on regional Transportation Advisory Committee that funds Chatham projects; Town of Goldston awarded county grant to remove 181 septic tanks; New Wireless Telecommunications Facilities ordinance adopted; New rock crush quarry coming to Goldston
Work Session and Regular Session (all four commissioners present:  Petty, Bock, Stewart, Cross, Kost seat is empty)
1.  Triangle Area Rural Planning Organization (TARPO) Transportation.  Sally Kost served on this regional advisory committee that determines priorities for transportation dollars spent in Chatham Co.  None of the current BOC wanted this bimonthly responsibility...consensus to eventually appoint Kost’s replacement.
2. Sally Kost replacement for District 1.  Chair Walter Petty said the BOC was “crucified” in the Chatham News & Record (Feb. 13) by a comment made in a press release from the Chatham Democratic Party Chair, Jan Nichols, charging the BOC with trying to “...circumvent the democratic process and rush to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Democratic Commissioner Sally Kost.”  The Chatham County Democratic Party has up to 60 days to make three recommendations for the position.  However, at the February 3, 2014 BOC meeting, the Commissioners told the Democrats to speed it up and make their recommendation by February 17, and the BOC would also advertise for that position.  OK.  There was only one candidate who applied for this seat through the BOC’s application process AND was also the recommended candidate from the Chatham Democratic Party...Jim Elza.  Elza currently serves on the Chatham County Planning Board, is a Democrat and lives in District 1, the two requirements.  He has extensive qualifications and served as Guilford County planning director for 17 years.  But, he was not the guy Bock, Petty, and Stewart were looking for.  Saying they needed more time to allow more qualified people to apply [remember, THEY set the short time frame] the BOC majority voted (Mike Cross voted against) to leave this seat open until their March 17 meeting.  Curious.  Bock said that Jim Elza is well qualified, but they apparently want to run out the 60-day clock on this matter.  If no appointment is made by April 2, the Clerk of the superior court in Chatham will make the appointment.  Political theater.
3.  Goldston Sewer Project and septic tank removal.  Chatham County had partnered with Town of Goldston on their sewer project.  The town was recently informed that all 181 customers had to have their septic tanks demolished when they are hooked up to the new sewer service.  Tim Cunnup said the customers have to pay hook up fees and this additional cost of $750 to $1,000 for septic tank removal and demolition is an added burden.  Mike Cross proposed three options: (1) A grant to Town of Goldston for $181,000 maximum for this work; (2) A $181,000 loan to the town, incurring administrative costs; or (3) Create and administer a hardship grant program for some low-income homeowners which would also require county administration support services.  The BOC voted unanimously to give Town of Goldston a grant up to $181,000 for the demolition of 181 septic tanks.
4.  Water and sewer improvements for Nature Trail mobile home park.  There is a $750,000 Community Development Block Grant application to improve the water and sewer lines in the Nature Trail mobile home park.  The County match, if grant is successful, is $35,000.  The application deadline is April.
5.  New Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Ordinance.  Changed setback to 50% of tower height (was 100% of height); and require a line-of-site diagram only; the balloon visibility test has been dropped.  The revised ordinance is in line with state statutes and applies to both zoned and unzoned areas of the County. The maximum height is 300-ft., but residential areas are 199-ft.  The ordinance clarified landscaping requirements for telecommunication support equipment.
6.  New quarry coming to Goldston.  Mike Cross mentioned that a granite quarry is being planned along Main St., off Hwy 421 and outside Goldston city limits.  This is 220 acres, unzoned, and the owner, Little Texas Farms LLC is applying for a state mining permit.  The County Board of Commissioners would not be involved, but the operation would have to comply with lighting ordinance and watershed protections.


Published on Thursday, February 20 2014 05:17

Chair Walter Petty and Vice-Chair Brian Bock re-elected as 2014 officers; Non-profit grant guidelines for arts; Land Use plan resolution adopted to “tidy-up” 2001 plan; Should Chatham withdraw from Durham-Chapel Hill-Carrboro MPO?; Any plan for CenturyLink’s lack of internet coverage?; Funding for new CCCC “Central Carolina Works” K-14 program; Gave half [$450,000] of “affordable housing” money to Family Violence Rape Crisis for construction of new women’s shelter; Public Hearing in January on dog tethering ordinance amendments; BOC Clerk Sandra Sublett retires

Read more: December 16, 2013 Chatham BOC Summary

Published on Saturday, December 21 2013 05:54

Proposed 2014 capital improvements; BOC amends ordinance so it can spend “affordable housing” money on other projects; Committee established for auto megasite in Siler City; Remove zoning along Highway corridors?; New Agriculture Building/Conference Center design adopted; More low-income homes to be renovated; DOT bike lane projects ranked for northeast Chatham

Regular Session (all present)
1. Public Hearing on Recommended Capital Improvements Program (CIP).   Some of the highlights:  The northeast high school remains in the plan to open 2019, and there is a growing need for a northeast elementary school as well.  For next fiscal year: Finish replacement of all school roofs [new roofs have 40-50 year lifespan], cost of $7.1 million; purchase software to update county finance, human resources and other operations, cost of $1.5 million.  One pressing issue is to find best way to either merge County vehicle maintenance and School bus maintenance garages or replace facilities.  The estimate for new School bus garage is $8 million and it would be located at old landfill, where the new jail is being constructed.  Current school bus garage is too cramped to work on buses: mechanics must often work outside.  Paschal said this construction could be done with 1/2-cent tax increase.  [Only public comments concerned education expenses and making sure new schools for Chatham Park were added to the seven-year Capital Improvements Program.]

NOTE, continuing saga for the proposed water treatment plant on Lake Jordan:  Chatham is requesting 12 million gallons per day (mgd) allocation by the State, and decision by EMC for next round of allocation is expected Nov 2015.  At the BOC’s CIP meeting Nov. 19 Sally Kost asked how much a new water intake treatment plant would cost.  David Hughes says a ballpark could be $30 to $60 million for the intake and pipeline, but Durham would share in the cost since they would be using, too.

Read more: November 18, 2013 Chatham BOC Summary

Published on Wednesday, November 27 2013 08:18

Fracking report on financial impacts to local government; County leases property for 9-11 memorial; Prioritized “wish list” of NC DOT projects for Chatham Co. approved; PTA Thrift Shop Month proclaimed;  Chatham Co. tax assessor’s property revaluation postponed until 2017; Public hearing to combine 308 lots located in five subdivisions (Hwy 87, Chapel Ridge, Old Graham Rd, bordering the Haw River) under a “unified development schedule”; Community Block Grants rehabilitated 17 homes for low-income county households; Broadband coverage skimpy and new Wireless Telecommunications Facilities Ordinance gets public hearing; Public hearing on “amendment” to Compact Communities Ordinance to cover BOC’s (illegal) rush to spend Briar Chapel’s $900,000 payment for affordable housing.

Read more: October 21, 2013 Chatham BOC Summary

Published on Thursday, October 24 2013 05:52