By DAVID BORAKS
Davidson’s Town Board on Tuesday approved two resolutions in support of a potential deal that could preserve 242 acres of open space at the failed Abersham development northeast of town. The board also adopted new rules aimed at reducing the disruption of new construction in existing neighborhoods and a resolution allowing the town staff to advertise bids for town purchases via the internet instead of in local newspapers.
The votes all came as part of the board’s “consent agenda,” which includes items voted on in a group, without additional discussion. The consent agenda was approved 5-0.
The meeting also included presentations on the town’s 2009-10 financial audit, and on a request from United Family Services and County Commissioner Karen Bentley to help fund a domestic violence victim advocate for north Mecklenburg.
And the town manager and finance chief gave a pair of budget-related presentations. In the first, Town Manager Leamon Brice offered background and context for considering a new long-range capital improvement budget. In the other, town Finance Director Eric Hardy updated the board on fiscal 2011 revenue trends and the outlook for the 2012 budget.
The board vote on a resolution in support of the Trust for Public Land, which is working on with a potential deal to preserve as open space 242 acres in the failed Abersham development northeast of town, off Grey and Shearers roads.
As DavidsonNews.net reported Jan. 17, (“Trust for Public Land eyes deal for Abersham property”), the Trust for Public Land has contracts to buy land in the former project. The purchases would help preserve the property in the short term – no more than a couple of years – while the town of Davidson and county devise plans for long-term preservation of the open space.
The first resolution expressed the town’s support for the Trust and for open space preservation. The second says the town plans to apply for a grant to assist in the land purchase, through the N.C. Clean Water Management Trust Fund. The second resolution was added to the agenda at the meeting, and the resolution was not available at the meeting or on the town website.
The first resolution did not mention Abersham by name, and the project’s name did not come up in the meeting. But town and trust officials confirmed the resolution concerns the Abersham property. The second resolution specifically mentions Abersham.
The trust would purchase the development’s two main parcels, Abersham phases 1 and 2, from the banks that own them, Fifth Third and Community One, respectively.
A project manager for the group said two weeks ago the trust hopes to close on the deal by March. Whether it does so will depend on additional negotiations as well as formal commitments from the town and county, people involved with the negotiations said two weeks ago.
Download the “open space” resolution, (PDF) CLICK HERE>
Download the Clean Water Management Trust Fund resolution (PDF), CLICK HERE>
DEALING WITH CONSTRUCTION
Also on the consent agenda, the board approved amendments to the Municipal Code designed to address frequently-heard complaints about “infill” construction in existing neighborhoods. There was no discussion during the meeting, but Mr. Brice told the board in a memo earlier this month: “We believe these amendments will help us eliminate a lot of the issues we have with infill construction.”
The amendments involve the noise ordinance, parking, storage on a right-of-way. And Mr. Brice said the town is also working on a “permit requirement” for anyone doing work in a public right-of-way.
The rules would make it illegal to store landscaping or construction materials on a public street, and would not allow concrete or other construction supplies to be mixed on public streets. Builders would have to maintain “safe passage” for vehicles on public streets. Dirt and debris also would have to be cleared from roadways.
The ordinance also seeks to limit noise from construction and vehicles and sets daytime hours when louder work may take place. (Download a copy of the proposed changes (PDF), CLICK HERE>)
The Town Board also approved a resolution allowing the town manager and town staff seek bids for purchases and services using advertising through “electronic means,” including the internet. The change would eliminate the requirement that the town use a printed newspaper.
State statutes allow municipalities to advertise for bids electronically “in certain situations,” according to Mr. Brice. Tuesday’s vote allows the town to “use electronic means in the appropriate situations,” according to the manager.
The board also adopted two proposed legislative “advocacy goals” for this year. Had the board met two weeks ago, the goals would have been submitted to the North Carolina League of Municipalities for consideration as part of its lobbying agenda at the state legislature this year. But since that meeting was canceled, Davidson’s goals weren’t considered when the group passed its 25-point agenda last week.
The league’s goals for the next two years are to seek changes in such areas as annexation, the N.C. ABC system, municipal finance. One would seek to impose limits on the public availability of citizen email addresses, an issue in the news over the past week. (Read more about that meeting and download the 25 goals on the league website.)
The board’s action Tuesday sets two legislative targets for the town this year. The first seeks to let towns publish public notices on local websites [including news sources such as DavidsonNews.net and municipal websites] instead of newspapers. To comply with current laws, the town advertises in the Mooresville Tribune, a newspaper that does not cover Davidson or circulate in town.
A second goal would be to push for allowing municipalities the option of requiring residential fire sprinklers in all new homes.
Download a copy of the resolution (PDF), CLICK HERE>
Also Tuesday the board:
- Amended the personnel policy in accordance with new state rules that make all dismissal letters public. (See the proposed changes (PDF), CLICK HERE>)
- Accepted Chairman Blake Lane as a town street. It turns out the short street next to the CVS, between South Main Street and Lorimer Road, was never submitted for acceptance as a town-maintained street. This resolution will make Chairman Blake Lane officially public and maintained by the town, the manager said. Download the resolution (PDF).
- Held a closed session to discuss a personnel matter. Mr. Brice said he would be discussing results from his annual review late last year.
The town manager’s memo to the town board.
The agenda, with clickable links to documents. (PDF), CLICK HERE> (NOTE: This is the original agenda and does not include revisions at the meeting. The town has not posted an updated version.)