Planner Alex Fulbright stated that the Planning Department provides guidance to the Planning Commission and the Board of Adjustments (BOA) in review
of development matters as defined by the Code of Ordinance and in creating the vision of City of Newton. This guidance ensures future orderly development and economic growth that is reflective of the community s desires and needs. Mr. Fulbright stated that membership of these boards is appointed by the City Council for terms of three years with no more than four consecutive terms.
Mr. Fulbright stated that the Planning Commission meets on a monthly basis as needed to review development proposals and zoning amendments, among
other similar revisions. The Board of Adjustments meets on an as needed basis to review specific type requirements in a quasi-judicial manner. These reviews consist of variances, special use permits, and interpretation of staff decisions. Mr. Fulbright stated that it is important that both boards have full membership and availability to serve the city and its citizens in review of these important matters.
Mr. Fulbright stated that the Board of Adjustments last met in November 2011. Since that time, the membership of the board has declined due to term
expirations, relocations and death. Since there have been no applications submitted for review and staff turnover in the Planning Department to advise the Council of the membership deficit, the City Council has not appointed any new members and the Board of Adjustment membership is incomplete. Therefore if an application was submitted for review, an untimely delay would occur to the applicant in order to appoint and train new members.
Mr. Fulbright explained that this issue is not unique in Newton, and that several cities and towns have seen similar issues arise due to the on-call
need for the Board of Adjustments to meet. The NC General Statues permit the combination of membership rosters for the Planning Commission and Board of Adjustments, while their duties and actions would follow course with separate board considerations and reviews.
Planner Alex Fulbright stated that Catawba County has approached the City about letting the County administer the Soil Erosion and Sedimentation
Control (SESC) Program inside the City of Newton City Limits and its Extraterritorial Jurisdiction. The County is currently delegated the authority by the State to administer the SESC Program within the entire County and the municipalities in the County with the exception of the City of Newton. The City was delegated authority by the State in 2001 prior to the County starting their program in 2005. At the time that Catawba County began their program, the City evaluated relinquishing its authority and requested that the State allow the County to administer the SESC Program within the City. Mr. Fulbright explained that at that time, there was not a compelling reason to do so. However, the State recently made some changes that have the potential to significantly increase the amount of monthly inspections that the City would have to perform. Catawba County has the staff available to meet the increased demands. In addition, this change would make it easier on developers and contractors as the SESC program would be the same agency throughout the entire County. Mr. Fulbright stated that the City would not incur any cost as result of this change and the State would still issue SESC permits to the City, as is currently the case. Staff has been in contact with the State Department of Environmental Quality and they would be willing to relinquish the City s authority to administer the SESC program and delegate that authority to the County
The City Council has considered the utilization of proceeds from the Jones estate on several occasions. According to Lillian Sewell Jones will, there
must be two unanimous votes by two seated City Councils that are at least 2 years and 3 months apart. The first unanimous vote occurred January 8, 2013, at the regularly scheduled council meeting, and the second unanimous vote occurred January 9, 2018.
During the January 23, 2018, Council/Staff Workshop, City Council discussed projects on which to spend the proceeds. The three projects agreed upon
were an amphitheater, splash pad, and ballfield lighting at Jacob Fork Park.
City Council has also discussed using Jones funds to create pocket parks. Three locations have been identified as possible locations. These locations
are Chadwick Park, Little Brooke Park and the area off of Hwy 10 at the Greenway entrance. These locations exist by name and are not set up in a manner to be utilized. Staff is asking City Council to allow Jones estate funds to be used for improvements to these locations so that the public would be able use them.