This newsletter is about the Hickory City Council meeting that I attended this past week. City council meetings are held on the first and third Tuesdays of each Month in the Council Chambers of the Julian Whitener building.
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You will find historic Agenda and Minutes links. Agendas show what is on the docket for the meeting of that date. The Minutes is an actual summary of the proceedings of the meeting of that date.
Here is a summary of the agenda of the 2/5/2012 meeting. There were a couple of important items that were discussed at this meeting and the details are listed further below:
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All materials and maps for this meeting are provide at this link:
Hickory City Council Agenda - February 19, 2013 (25MB)
Invocation by Alderman Danny Seaver (:40)
(2:30) - Mayor Wright made a motion to allow Citizens to address the Council. A couple of couples, (David and Martha Branding) and Tanya and David Mikiel? wanted to address an item on the Consent Agenda Item A, Speed Limit Ordinance for 14th Avenue NW/14th Avenue Drive NW to be 25 mph Along the Entire Stretch of the Roadway.
Special Presentations (9:40)
A. Presentation By Community Groups Requesting Appropriations from the City Council. During the Next Fiscal Year Beginning July 1, 2013. The Council will not take action tonight. Action will be taken when the Council considers the City’s annual budget in May or June. These presentations are made so Council Members can ask questions or make comments about the requests. Presenters will be allotted no more than five (5) minutes to make their presentations to Council.
Organization - Presentation By - Amount Requested
(1 - 10:10) Catawba County Economic Development Corporation - Scott Millar - $141,339
(1 - 17:10) SALT Block Foundation Mark Sinclair $100,000 -
(1 - 21:15) The Woman’s Club Sandy Jahn - $75,000
(1 - 24:50) Hickory Downtown Development Association - Connie Kincaid - $50,000
(1 - 30:45) United Arts Council of Catawba County - Jamie Treadaway - $40,010
(1 - 35:10) Hickory Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau - Bebe Leitch - $20,000
(1 - 41:50) Habitat for Humanity - Mitzi Gellman - $7,816
(1 - 42:50)Women’s Resource Center - Cindy Rose - $5,000
B. (1 - 49:20) Business Well Crafted Presentation Award - Hickory Sheet Metal has been located in Hickory since 1928. The award was presented from Ryan Lovern of the Business Development Committee to Dolan and Lanny Huffman. They have worked on many projects throughout the community with over 100 years of experience.
Consent Agenda: (1 - 54:30)
A. Request to Amend the Speed Limit Ordinance for 14th Avenue NW/14th Avenue Drive NW to be 25 mph Along the Entire Stretch of the Roadway. - The Traffic Division has preformed traffic studies which have shown that a significant amount of traffic is speeding. It is recommended to amend the speed limit along 14th Avenue Drive NW to 25 mph for the western portion of the road from 160 feet east of 10th Street Drive NW until the end of 14th Avenue Drive NW, approximately, 1,480 feet in length. Removed from the Consent Agenda.. Discussed briefly and Approved.
B. Request to Amend the Parking Ordinance for the Farmer’s Market to Include Last Year’s Ordinance (Number 12-19) with a Time Change to Include Only the Union Square “Sails on the Square” Location. - It is recommended to amend the Traffic Ordinance by prohibiting parking in the Union Square lot to facilitate The Farmers Market. Parking will be prohibited in the spaces south of Union Square along the north side of the parking lot road connecting the east and west parking lots as well as along the west parking lot to incorporate the first three angled parking spaces. Parking will be prohibited on Wednesdays from 8:30 AM until 4:00 PM and on Saturdays from 6:30 AM until 2:00 PM during the Farmers Market season as well as on November 23 and 30, 2013 from 10:00 AM until 2:00 PM. Also, parking will be will be prohibited in the western spaces south of Union Square on the north side of the parking lot road connecting the east and west parking lots as well as along the west parking lot to include the first three (3) angled parking on Mondays from 8:30AM until 8:00PM, May 6, 2013 through October 7, 2013. Towing will be enforced. Parking Ordinance #12-19 will become null and void. New Parking Ordinance # 13-06 will cover this recommended change.
C. Request from the Community Appearance Commission for Approval of a Landscape Grant for Non-Residential Property Owned by the Hickory Public School System Located at 1234 3rd Street NE, in the Amount of $2,200. - The proposal involves the raising of the tree canopy along 3rd Street NE. This is to include removal of dead or damaged limbs, trimming of limbs against building walls and general shaping of the trees. The applicant has explicitly stated tree topping will not occur. The applicant has provided two (2) bids for the items listed above, which amount to $5,075 and $4,400. The grants are designed as a reimbursement grant in which the City of Hickory will match the applicant on a 50/50 basis, with the maximum grant amount being $2,500. The applicant has indicated their desire to accept the lower of the two bids, which would qualify the proposal for a grant in the amount of $2,200.
D. Request from the Community Appearance Commission for Approval of an Appearance Grant for Non-Residential Property Owned by Tim Cline Properties, LLC located at 234 Union Square in the Amount of $5,000. - The proposal involves the removal (demolition) of the aged metal façade on the building. Upon removal of the metal façade, the brickwork will be cleaned, the window trim will bere worked and a new awning will be installed. The applicant has provided two (2) bids for the items listed above, both of which exceed $10,000 in value. The grants are designed as a reimbursement grant in which the City of Hickory will match the applicant on a 50/50 basis. The maximum grant amount from the City of Hickory is $5,000. The proposal qualifies for the full $5,000 grant.
E. Request from the Community Appearance Commission for Approval of a Landscape Grant for Non-Residential Property Owned by Salina Shue located at 48 29th Avenue NE, in the amount of $2,500. - The proposal involves the installation of landscaping around the commercial building which was recently converted from a residence. The landscaping consists of trees, shrubbery and sod. The applicant has provided two (2) bids for the items listed above, which amount to $6,228 and $6,000. The grants are designed as a reimbursement grant in which the City of Hickory will match the applicant on a 50/50 basis. The maximum grant amount from the City of Hickory is $2,500. Both bids exceed $5,000; the proposal qualifies for the full $2,500 grant.
F. Approval of a Transfer of a Cemetery Deed from Jane Sox Monroe to James Rodney Cook in Oakwood Cemetery
G. Approval of a Transfer of a Cemetery Deed from James Rodney Cook aka Rodney Cook to The Reece Family Trust, dated June 11, 2004, Joel L. Reece and Sarah Anne A. Reece, Trustors and/or Trustees in Oakwood Cemetery
H. Request Approval to Issue a Pyrotechnic Display Permit to Hickory Motor Speedway. - Hickory Motor Speedway has submitted a request to obtain permission to conduct a public fireworks display for the following dates: June 29, 2013, with a rain date of July 13th or 20th; July 27, 2013, with a rain date of July 28th or August 3rd; September 14, 2013 with a rain date of September 15th, 28th or October 12th. The North Carolina Fire Code requires a mandatory operational permit for the use and handling of pyrotechnic special effects material. The Fire Prevention Bureau shall review all required documentation and will also inspect the pyrotechnics display area prior to the event to ensure compliance.
I. Acceptance and Approval of the Contract for a new Aerial Fire Apparatus from American LaFrance in the amount of $747,301. - Hickory Fire Department requests approval of the contract from American LaFrance for the replacement of aerial fire apparatus ladder 3, which is an automotive fire apparatus that was originally placed into service in 2000. The new apparatus will be purchased through the Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC) Interlocal Contract. The quote for the apparatus is $747,301 and includes several options that crew determined to be
necessary. Funds for this purchase are earmarked in the Capital Reserve Fund.
J. Citizens’ Advisory Committee Recommendations for Assistance through the City of Hickory’s Housing Programs - The following requests were considered by the Citizens’ Advisory Committee at their regular meeting on February 7, 2013:
Sai Thao & Sheng Vang were approved for recommendation to City Council for first-time homebuyer’s assistance to purchase a house located at 1316 C Avenue SE, Hickory. They have requested $5,000 for assistance with down payment
and closing costs. The First-Time Homebuyers Assistance Loan is zero interest, no payments and repaid upon sale, refinance or payoff of first mortgage.
Jallie Wimbush, 232 7th Street SE, Hickory, was awarded a City of Hickory’s Housing Rehabilitation Loan. The Citizens’ Advisory Committee recommends approval for assistance not to exceed $10,000 for repairs to her house
Assistance would be in the form of a 3% interest loan for a 10 year period. Funds are budgeted for these items through the City of Hickory’s former Rental Rehabilitation Program income received in FY 2011 and/or program income received through the City of Hickory’s Community Development Block Grant Program. Each of the following applicants is being recommended for approval for assistance under the City of Hickory’s 2012 Urgent Repair Program. This program provides qualified low income citizens with assistance for emergency-related repairs not to exceed $5,400.
Mary Canipe, 1264 22nd Street NE, Hickory,
Thelma Capps, 105 17th Street NW, Hickory,
Michelle Clawson, 1309 F Avenue SE, Hickory,
Annie Hewitt, 113 8th Avenue Drive SE, Hickory,
K. Budget Ordinance Amendment No. 13.
1. To transfer $28,795 of General Fund Contingency to the Fire Department Maintenance and Repair of Buildings line item. This budget amendment is needed to pay for necessary repairs to the men’s shower area in Fire Station 1 that will alleviate recurring plumbing issues.
2. To appropriate $747,301 of General Capital Reserve and budget in the Fire Department Capital Vehicles line item. This budget amendment is necessary to make funds available for the purchase of a replacement aerial ladder truck. The new ladder truck will replace ladder truck # 3 which was has now exceeded its usefulness and reliability as a front line unit. The current ladder truck # 3 will be used as a reserve unit.
3. To transfer $200,756 from the Water Treatment Plant Capital Reserve to the Water Plant Maintenance and Repair of Buildings line item. This amendment is necessary to pay for the Water Treatment Plant chemical feed piping improvements project. This past year the piping infrastructure experienced 9 breaks or leaks which have affected operations at the facility. The piping currently in place has been in continuous operation for 20 years since the facility was upgraded in 1993.
Informational Items (1 - 56:00)
A. Mayor Wright’s Travel to the NCLM Advocacy Goals Conference 2013, Raleigh, NC, January 23-24, 2013, Registration $110; Lodging and Meals $184.40, and Mileage $200.01. (Exhibit IX.A.)
B. Mayor Wright’s Travel to the NCLM Board Meeting, Emerald Isle, NC, November 15-16, 2012, Lodging – to be invoiced, Meals $34.00, Mileage $355.20. (Exhibit IX.B.)
New Business - Public Hearings
2. (1 - 1:00:35) Rezoning Petition 13-01 for the Property Located at 330 21st Street SE. - The City of Hickory requests the rezoning of property located at 330 21st Street SE from High Density Residential (R-4) to General Business (C-2). This rezoning is being requested to correct a mapping error which occurred in 2011. Prior to 2011 the property was zoned Industrial. While retaining the Industrial zoning classification the property was developed as the location of a business. When new city-wide zoning maps were adopted in 2011 the property was incorrectly assigned a residential classification, rather than a commercial classification.
3. (1 - 1:03:40) Rezoning Petition 13-02 for the Property Located at 526 17th Street NW. - The City of Hickory requests the rezoning of property located at 526 17th Street NW from Industrial (IND) to High Density Residential (R-4). This rezoning is being requested to correct a mapping error which occurred in 2011. Prior to 2011 the property was zoned residential, and has long been used for residential purposes. When new city-wide zoning maps were adopted in 2011 the property was incorrectly assigned an industrial classification, rather than a residential classification.
4. (1 - 1:06:00)Rezoning Petition 13-03 for the Properties Located at 1425 3rd Street Place NE, adjacent vacant lot, and 339-345 14th Avenue NE. - The City of Hickory requests the rezoning of properties located at 1425 3rd Street Place NE, an adjacent vacant lot and 339-345 14th Avenue NE from High Density Residential (R-4) to Office – Institutional (OI). This rezoning is being requested to correct a mapping error which occurred in 2011. Prior to 2011 the property was zoned Office – Institutional. The property was zoned Office – Institutional in 2003 at the request of the property owner. In 2011, when new city-wide zoning maps were adopted, the properties were incorrectly assigned a residential zoning classification, which inadvertently reversed the rezoning petition approved in 2003. The property is currently utilized for residential purposes, which is permitted by-right in Office-Institutional districts. This public hearing was advertised on February 8 and February 15, 2013, in a newspaper having general circulation in the Hickory area.
5. (1 - 1:07:00) Rezoning Petition 13-04 for the Property Located at 2206 Tate Boulevard SE. - The City of Hickory requests the rezoning of property located at 2206 Tate Boulevard SE from High Density Residential (R-4) to Industrial (IND). This rezoning is being requested to correct a mapping error which occurred in 2011. When new city-wide zoning maps were adopted in 2011 the property was incorrectly assigned an industrial classification rather than a residential classification. The requested rezoning is an effort to correct the identified mapping error and return the property to its previous industrial zoning classification.
6. (1 - 1:09:00) Rezoning Petition 13-05 for the Properties Located at 3661 16th Street NE, 3703 16th Street NE, and 1515 Cloninger Mill Road. - The City of Hickory requests the properties located at 3661 16th Street NE and 3703 16th Street NE be rezoned from Neighborhood Commercial (NC) to Medium Density Residential (R-2), and the property located at 1515 Cloninger Mill Road NE be rezoned from Neighborhood Commercial (NC) to Low Density Residential (R-1). This rezoning is being requested to correct a mapping error which occurred in 2011. Prior to 2011 the properties were zoned residential. The rezoning will correct the identified mapping error and alleviate any potentially negative impacts the incorrect zoning classification would have on their residences.
7. (1 - 1:11:25) Rezoning Petition 13-06 for the Property Located at the Northeast Corner of the Intersection of Cloninger Mill Road NE and North Center Street (NC 127). - The City of Hickory requests the property located at the northeast corner of the intersection of Cloninger Mill Road NE and North Center Street (NC 127) be rezoned from Neighborhood Commercial (NC) and Medium Density Residential (R-2) to Neighborhood Commercial (NC). The subject property is currently zoned both Neighborhood Commercial (NC) and Medium Density Residential (R-2). The request is to zone the property Neighborhood Commercial (NC) in its entirety.
Steve Ivester spoke against the petition, because he disagrees with splitting out a piece of the Park for commercial use.
The Hound: Personally I would like to see this property sold to create a spa/restaurant/mixed use property and that money can be used to develop the park and maybe help develop another Park in the Northeast section of the city. Without this money, I don't think this project happens, but I do see people's concerns. We need to see covenants created to ensure that this property is developed in a manner that is most advantageous for everyone and not just a few and does not cause unintended issues going forward.
8. (1 - 1:28:25) Rezoning Petition 13-07 for the Property Located at the Southeast Corner of 29th Avenue Drive NE and 16th Street NE. - The City of Hickory requests the property located at the southeast corner of 29th Avenue Drive NE and 16th Street NE be rezoned from Neighborhood Commercial (NC) to Medium Density Residential (R-3). This rezoning is being requested to correct a mapping error which occurred in 2011. Prior to 2011 the property was zoned residential. The property is currently vacant. The requested rezoning will correct the identified mapping error.
9. (1 - 1:30:55) Rezoning Petition 13-08 for the Property Located at 2633 Springs Road NE. - Venture Properties VII, LLC requests the rezoning of 1.675 acres of property located at 2633 Springs Road NE. The area of rezoning is a portion of a larger tract or property which will be subdivided in the future. The request is to rezone the rear of the property from Medium Density Residential (R-2) to Commercial Corridor (CC-2). The frontage of the property is currently zoned Commercial Corridor (CC-2). This particular rezoning is requested to provide additional area for a proposed new retail building.
New Business - Departmental Reports:
1. (2 -7:15)Request Acceptance of Changes to the Grant Guidelines for the Vacant Building Grant. - The following guideline changes on page one of the grant would encourage wider use of the grant program without opening the grant program up to abuse by projects that do not meet the intent of the grant. The City of Hickory has designated an Urban Revitalization Area within the city limits. High Priority Brownfield Sites Suspect Brownfield Sites as determined by the Planning Director are also eligible regardless of location. Only vacant commercial and industrial buildings are eligible. Other former mill or industrial buildings may be considered eligible if the redevelopment will contribute to the revitalization of the surrounding neighborhood as determined by the Planning Director. Applicants must spend at least $75,000, $35,000 in eligible project improvements to be eligible for grant funding. At least $30,000 $10,000 must include exterior improvements to the building. All projects receiving a vacant building grant must have a Phase 1 Environmental Assessment completed before City Council approval. These changes will target smaller redevelopment projects that meet the intent of the program without allowing wide use of the program by projects that are not focused upon neighborhood revitalization or strengthening the urban core revitalization area.
2. (2 - 20:45) Amendment to City Council Meeting Agenda and Related Policy - Staff will discuss recommendations regarding public comment at City Council meetings Amending Section 2-55 (b) of the Hickory Code of Ordinances and amending Council Policy No. 05-06.
3. (2 - 27:20) Youth Protection Ordinance - Staff will discuss a proposal to implement a youth protection ordinance to define the ages, night time hours, and situations where youth will be permitted in public without a parent or guardian. This presentation is an introduction of the proposal to City Council. After Tuesday night’s presentation, staff will seek input from the community at different venues over the next month before bringing a proposed draft ordinance back to City Council for consideration. Deputy City Attorney Arnita Dula and Chief Tom Adkins are the primary staff members for this proposal.
The Hound: I don't know what to think of this. When I was a kid we would be out at night, but I understand the angst of some with all that goes on in the world these days. Chief Adkins said this would be used as a tool. I would hate to see kids not be able to go to the Mall or Movies at night.
4. (2 - 39:40) Update on City Council Chambers Audio-Video Improvements. - Staff will discuss the options and costs associated with filming council meetings and putting them in the right format for television and/or web broadcast.
The Hound spoke about this as part of the Citizens for Equity in Government Checklist. We have been video recording City Council meetings for a couple of months and we have audio recorded meetings for 4 years and making entire meetings available on audio for a while and making specific audio available over the past four years. It was taking too long to produce transcripts of meetings and it is better to condition this audience to get first hand accounts of the City Council meetings. You can listen to it as quickly and easily as you can read it.
At this meeting, a couple people on the Council wanted to speak to the quality of the video production of these meetings should this move forward. I know that the public that I have spoken with do not care about a polished production... and this isn't about Hickory Inc. It is about the people. They just want something that is realistic and feasible that allows them to follow the proceedings.
As I have said, I have only been recording the meetings to force the issue and move this forward. I am not doing this for some personally grandiose reason. This is about checks and balances, so that if something big goes down, then people will be able to follow what is going on first hand and our elected officials and bureaucracy are going to have to better explain what they are doing and their reasononing.
It is a good first step that the audio of the meetings has been put on Youtube and they have said that they will issue the Power Point presentations from the meetings. That will help the public follow along more easily.
Video is obviously nowhere near as hard as they are making it out to be and we will continue producing these videos until Hickory Inc. gets this done. I have also obtained the information that was presented to the Newspaper as between $12,000 and $20,000 to "fix" the Council Chambers and $200 to $2,400 for recording each meeting. Those numbers weren't pulled out of thin air. I will break that information down going forward.
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