The Village of Walnut Creek Council met in Special Session, January 25th, 2012 at 7:30 PM, 103 Village Drive.
Mayor Darrell Horne
Mayor Pro-Tem Greg Ricker Councilman Tom Shaw
Councilman Russ Prys Administrator Lou Cook
Councilman Stoney Sloan Clerk Sharon Geelen
Chief Ken Barrett Attorney Phil Baddour
Residents in Attendance: Danny Jackson, Larry VanKuren, Bobbie VanKuren, Jerry & Carol Ray, Sandy Bateman, Virginia Millard, Bill Millard, Pat Perkins, Bob Rizzo, Pat Uzzell, Bill Uzzell, Sharon Goodrich, Jeanne Peacock, Chris Coward, Marilyn “Pete” Reaves, Tony Stanley, Ann Cunningham, Joe Cunningham, John Stiles, John & Bea Amon, Pat Diliberto, Ray Brown, Ted Ivey, Larry Somerville, Steve Bryan, Doug Sutton, Leigh Sutton, Phil & Ide McLeod, Shannon Daly, Benjamin Eskra, Tracy Eskra, & Willis Underwood.
Mayor Darrell Horne called the meeting to order.
Councilman Russ Prys led the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mayor Darrell Horne asked if he could have a motion to accept the agenda. Councilman Prys moved to accept the agenda. The motion passed unanimously. Councilman Sloan suggested that when moving money from one line to another in the budget, that the minutes state the title of the line and not just the line number. With those changes to the minutes Mayor Pro-Tem Ricker moved to approve the December minutes and November and December finance reports. The motion passed unanimously.
The following residents spoke regarding the tabled Proposed Park Plan and the petition that some residents are circulating; Bill Millard, Virginia Millard, Sandy Bateman, Bobbie VanKuren, Jeanne Peacock, Ray Brown, Billy Uzzell, Ann Cunningham, Doug Sutton, Chris Coward, Tony Stanley, Bea Amon, Shannon Daly, Ralph Smiley, and Pat Uzzell.
After questions from some residents regarding the PARTF Grant and Park Plan and because there was some confusion on information that residents have received, Mayor Pro-Tem Ricker clarified for the residents in attendance that the application for the
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January 25th, 2012
PARTF Grant had been tabled by Mayor Pro-Tem Ricker in the meeting on January 11th, 2012. He explained there would have to be a motion from the council to bring it off the table. Mayor Pro-Tem Ricker went on to explain that the council has referred it back to the Planning Board. Mayor Pro-Tem Ricker stated that the Planning Board meetings are on the calendar, and that he encourages the residents to attend. He went on to say that the Council and Planning Board both hear the community feedback. Once again he stated that it was tabled and the council is going to wait to see what the Planning Board comes back with before anything is done, there will be no action taken this evening.
Mayor Horne explained to one resident that the Planning Board meets the first Wednesday of every month and the Council meets the 4th Wednesday of every month (except November). Also if a resident does not wish to attend the meetings, the minutes to the meetings, once approved, are available on the Village of Walnut Creek web site at www.walnutcreeknc.com
Ben Eskra: Boat Dock Issue
Mr. Eskra addressed the council regarding a floating dock that he has at his home and the letter he received regarding him having to remove it.
Vice –Chairman Danny Jackson told the residents in attendance that he hears their concerns regarding the Park Plan and that he will share those thoughts and concerns with his fellow Planning Board Members. Mr. Jackson encouraged all of the residents to attend the next Planning Board meeting, Wednesday February 1st, at 6:30, at the Village Town Hall. Mr. Jackson stated that the Planning Board had nothing to report to the council regarding the Park Plan.
Mr. Jackson went on to state that at the councils request the Planning Board has been looking into some issues with the Village Ordinances and some of the Restrictive Covenants not being identical. The Planning Board has drafted some proposed changes to the Ordinance in order to have the two come more in line with each other. He said that the draft has been reviewed by Attorney Phil Baddour and at that time turned it over to Mr. Baddour.
Mr. Baddour went over the draft ordinance changes attached here to. Mr. Baddour stated that he had made a few changes to the draft.
After reviewing the changes with the council, he explained that if the council would like to officially consider the changes, they would need to direct Mr. Baddour to put it in the form of an Ordinance and advertise it in the newspaper at the appropriate time so there can be a Public Hearing.
Mayor Pro-Tem Ricker asked Mr. Jackson if the Planning Board needed to see the draft one more time. Mr. Jackson stated that they did. Mayor Pro-Tem Ricker recommended the council send the draft ordinance back to the Planning Board so they can sign off on the changes Attorney Baddour made before the council asks Attorney Baddour to draft a new ordinance.
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January 25th, 2012
Councilman Sloan explained the reason the need for a new ordinance has come up is because we have a “catch 22”. There are Ordinances and Restrictive Covenants and if someone is upset with what their neighbor is doing and it violates the Restrictive Covenants but not the Village Ordinance, there is nothing the Village can do. We can only act upon the Ordinances. He went on to say that the Planning Board is trying to combine the best of breed and come up with an Ordinance that we can all agree to and live by to maintain the high quality of Village that we have now. Councilman Sloan stated that by law there is nothing we can do from an administrative standpoint regarding restrictive covenants.
Attorney Baddour pointed out that the current Ordinance basically incorporated almost all of the restrictive covenants that were appropriate to be put in a zoning ordinance. Mr. Baddour stated that what is being addressed now is not in any restrictive covenants. There is nothing in any restrictive covenant that specifically speaks to color and items like that. Mr. Baddour went on to state that a lot of the restrictive covenants even though they don’t say anything specific about color, provide for an architectural committee which would address these issues, were never formed. If the architectural committees had been formed then they would be the ones dealing with the colors of homes, etc.
Attorney Baddour stated to the council that they were pushing the edge of the envelope of what you can do in a zoning ordinance. He said there are not many examples where this has been done or tested. Mr. Baddour said in terms of this level of regulation for residential it is unusual and is subject to be challenged if someone would choose to challenge it.
Mayor Horne stated that the best thing to do is to send it back to the Planning Board and let them review what Attorney Baddour has done to it and then have a public hearing and find out what the residents think.
Mayor Pro-Tem Ricker moved to send the zoning ordinance back to the Planning Board for review. The motion passed unanimously.
Administrator Cook stated that the first installment of the FEMA reimbursement has been received. The other 25% comes from the state and should be received in the next 60 days. The claim was filed for approximately $124,000 and we have received 75% of that so far.
Mr. Cook said the half-marathon for the Family Y is scheduled for February 4th. It will not involve the lake, it will not involve bicycles, and it is strictly a run. It will take less than half the day.
Administrator Cook stated the lift station project has been completed. Councilman Prys and Mr. Cook went out to the sites and evaluated the performance did a walk-thru and did a preliminary punch list which our engineer Scott Edwards, from Cox-Edwards, has. The lift stations are functioning as they were designed to.
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January 25th, 2012
Mr. Cook stated that the 2010-2011 Audit Report is on the website for anyone to review. There is a link under Village Notices.
Mr. Cook also said the Proposed Park Plan is on the website with the exception of the two appendixes. Mr. Cook stated that he is currently working on trying to get the appendixes so we can post them to the website.
Mr. Cook stated that the restrictive covenants will be posted to the website soon also. The contractor who manages the website needs to establish the link on the page, then we can put the restrictive covenants on the website.
Mr. Cook presented to each of the council members a copy of a resolution concerning a reciprocal arrangement with law enforcement. He stated there was some discussion earlier with Councilman Sloan and Mr. Cook thought it was best that he withdraw the recommendation to pass the resolution tonight until they have had a chance to study what paragraph 5 really entails. Mr. Cook went on to state that he was comfortable with what it says and the concern was with insurance issues or liabilities that may be incurred with our officer’s duties. Mr. Cook is comfortable with the wording of the resolution but he would like the entire council is fully comfortable with it before he asks them to adopt it. Mr. Cook stated he would bring it back up next month for the council to vote on. Mayor Horne asked Mr. Cook to give a synopsis of the resolution. Mr. Cook stated that in the past the Police Chief of each municipality, state wide, signs a reciprocal agreement with the sheriffs department of the respective county that there will be mutual aid provided by each agency. If the Walnut Creek Police Department needs help, the Sherriff’s department will respond and vice versa. He stated that our police officers routinely respond to emergency situations outside the Village to back up sheriff’s deputies because they are both sworn deputies with the sheriff’s department. Mr. Cook went on to say that we have signed this agreement in the past however the Department of Crime Control and Public Safety has required that we take this one step further and Police Chiefs are no longer authorized to sign it, it requires the governing body, the council, to adopt a resolution stating they are going to provide this service. Mr. Cook went on to state that the purpose of this is in the case of a mass emergency, like Columbine, the Sherriff has the right to call in all law enforcement agencies to assist in the situation. The Sheriff’s department would have operational control of the officers but administrative control would remain with the Village and they would fall under the responsibility of our Chief.
Mr. Cook will bring it back up next month.
Administrator Cook stated that at the last meeting the council had tasked him with contacting the Forestry Service and look at the possibility of a controlled burn. Mr. Cook stated that he has an appointment with the Forestry Service the following morning and that Councilman Shaw, Evelyn Rose, and he will be meeting with them. Councilman Sloan, whose area is Village Owned Properties, is unavailable to meet with them, however he invited any other council member that would like to attend.
Mr. Cook said that the office has been without a notary since Sandy Allen left, but now he and Sharon Geelen, the clerk, are both Notaries.
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January 25th, 2012
Mr. Cook stated the subject came up earlier about getting established on the council meeting agenda. In the past whenever someone called to be added to the agenda, they were added as late as the day of the meeting. However, he said that it was only fair to establish some rules regarding a cut off of when is the latest you can be added to the agenda. He requested the council adopt a rule of what the deadline is for when you can request to be on the agenda. Mayor Horne said they would go over that under new business.
Mr. Cook stated that they needed to begin the process of re-zoning the property located across the street from the Town Hall for institutional government. It is currently zoned R35 and needs to be re-zoned as it is now Village Owned Property. That will require us to advertise and have a public hearing. He went on to say that whether we do anything with the park plan or not it still needs to be changed because it is owned by the Village.
Mayor Horne suggested that they do that at the same time they have the public hearing for the zoning ordinance discussed earlier in the meeting.
The last item Mr. Cook had was a Budget Ordinance Amendment. Mr. Cook went over the items to be amended: Line 270-Village Owned Properties needs to be increased by $14,000 and take the $14,000 from General Contingency. After some discussion Councilman Prys moved that the council approve the funds be moved from General Contingency to Village Owned Property. The motion passed unanimously. Mr. Cook stated the other move that they needed to make is line 740-Environmental Testing and increase it by $1200.00, taking $800 from line 720-Electricity and $400 from line 750-Cholorine; decrease line 840-Lift Station Maintenance by $900 and put the $900 in line 841-Pump Station Maintenance; line 870-Engineering needs to be increased by $3100.00 and take the $3100.00 from line 842-Sewer Line Repair. Mayor Pro-Tem Ricker moved to approve the funds be transferred as previously stated. The motion passed unanimously.
Clerk Geelen reported that as of the end of December the Village has collected 76% of the property taxes levied. She went on to say that she had handed out the list to the council of outstanding taxes at this time. Mrs. Geelen said she has sent new invoices reflecting the interest now charged on accounts that had not been paid by January 6th 2012. Mayor Horne asked Mrs. Geelen if she had heard anything regarding the Alcohol and Beverage tax that the Village receives, Mrs. Geelen stated that is paid annually in the month of May.
Chief Barrett stated that the concealed weapons class that was held the previous Saturday was attended by twelve people. If anyone is interested in taking the concealed weapons class, he asked that they call the Police Department or the Town Office and get put on a list. When there are enough people that want to take it they will schedule it. He also stated that if anyone was interested in the Boaters Safety Class they can do the same. Chief Barrett said the next Crime Watch meeting is scheduled for February 14th, however with it being Valentine’s Day that may change.
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Chief Barrett reminded everyone that when they are going out the front entrance especially in the morning that they use caution as there was an auto accident there this morning.
Chief Barrett said the half-marathon will be held on February 4th in the morning and encouraged everyone to please make sure they slow down and drive with caution.
Chief Barrett stated that some residents have made comments about speed violations on Mill Road and the police have dealt with several speed violators and a no operator license violation.
Councilman Sloan asked the Chief if they have closed out the animal injury case he reported on last month. The Chief said they were still currently working on it.
Tom Shaw-Planning Board, Police Commissioner, Web Master
Greg Ricker-Lake Committee, Fire Department, Cable, Trash & Recycling
Mayor Pro-Tem Ricker stated that boat stickers were available. He also reported that the Lake Committee had met January 11th and there were no issues.
Russ Prys-Water & Sewer Commissioner, Insurance
Councilman Prys stated that the sewer lift station project was complete and that he and Administrator Cook have done the initial walk thru and mechanically they are both working very well, the greenery looks good, and they have just a couple of very minor things they need to revisit before releasing the final payment to the contractor. Councilman Prys said the new generators that we had installed, versus the diesel generators we have used in the past are much quieter and only kick on once a week and are a real improvement over the old generators. Councilman Prys said regarding Well #5, they are currently trying to get it up and operational. It is a high producing well, it is close to the tower and over time will save us on electricity. Darren is currently flushing the well and getting samples to have tested and see what needs to be done to get the well up and operating.
Stoney Sloan-Village Owned Property
Councilman Sloan stated there are two road projects that have been engineered just waiting for the weather. One is to repair the corner of Mill Road and Walnut Creek Drive and to fix the problem by the new lift station on Walnut Creek Drive.
Proposal of Animal Control Ordinance-Councilman Sloan
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January 25th, 2012
Councilman Sloan stated that he has researched our ordinances and that we have a good ordinance regarding the control of dogs, but there is nothing that addresses any other pets. Councilman Sloan stated that not only in the interest of pet safety but incursions on other people’s property, porches, furniture and such, he recommends the council consider expanding the ordinance to not only include dogs but all household pets.
After some discussion, Mayor Horne asked Attorney Baddour what other municipalities do. Mr. Baddour stated he has never heard of a Cat Ordinance. Mr. Baddour said it would be easy to draft but he thinks it would be difficult to enforce. Mayor Horne asked Councilman Sloan to look into seeing what other people are doing regarding the control of other household pets.
Mayor Pro-Tem Ricker stated that he would like the council to establish a formal procedure regarding resident’s requests for being put on the agenda for a council meeting. Mayor Pro-Tem moved to amend the current deadline to be added to the agenda from 48 hours prior to the meeting to one week (seven calendar days) prior to a meeting, at close of business that day. After some discussion, the motion passed unanimously. Attorney Baddour stated he would draft that amendment.
Councilman Shaw moved to go into closed session to discuss personnel matters and to consult with our Attorney. The motion passed unanimously.
Councilman Shaw moved to come out of closed session; the motion passed unanimously.
There being no further business to bring before the Council, the meeting was adjourned.
Clerk, Sharon Geelen Mayor C. Darrell Horne