Board members on Monday unanimously agreed to terminate the town’s original development agreement with Community One Bank for the former Davidson East site off N.C. 73. The Bank had sought to overturn the board’s rezoning of the site, and in November 2011 filed a lawsuit against the town. Also Monday, board members voted to hold a public hearing in August on a possible switch to 4-year, staggered terms for elected officials, and voted to participate in a Centralina Council of Governments initiative for regional strategic planning. They also heard an update on the town’s strategic plan for economic development and approved a new contract with Republic for waste disposal services. Read below for details.
COMMUNITY ONE SETTLEMENT
After months of discussion with the bank, the town re-zoned the 180-acre parcel off N.C. 73 in September 2011, and in November, the bank filed a lawsuit, saying the town took away its right to develop the property under a 2007 master plan. The bank also accused the town of procedural errors and argued that the rezoning is not economically viable. And for the last few months, the town has worked towards a settlement agreement with the bank.
“The discussions were more about educating Community One about what the consequence of the rezoning was,” Town Attorney Rick Kline said.
“They never lost their rights to develop,” he said, as they can still develop under the town’s old master plan. That plan had a 5-year vested right agreement attached to it, which the town approved in June 2007, and which the state legislature extended by four years (it now expires in 2016), Mr. Kline said.
“The town is agreeing (Community One) can develop either under the old vested zoning or under the new 2011 zoning,” he said, and Community One can choose which zoning they would like to use for each phase of the 7-phase building project. However, once a phase has begun, it has to be fully developed under the same type of zoning, Mr. Kline said.
Also, the settlement includes an “Agreement to Cooperate” in defending any third-party lawsuits affecting the property. That presumably would include any lawsuit seeking to halt developments on the site, such as the mental hospital.
At Tuesday’s meeting, the board held a public hearing on terminating the original development agreement for the site. No citizens chose to comment, and the board approved the decision unanimously.
Download a copy of the settlement agreement (PDF)
The board voted 4-1 to adopt a resolution of intent to hold a public hearing on switching to staggered, 4-year government terms, with Commissioner Rodney Graham dissenting. The public meeting is planned for August, and will give citizens an opportunity comment on the possible switch.
If approved, the ordinance amending the charter would be put to a vote, and a special election would be held. The first staggered terms would begin in November 2013.
The schedule of events following the board’s resolution of intent is as follows:
- July 18 – Aug. 3: Publish a notice of the public hearing Aug. 14
- Aug. 14: Public hearing
- Aug. 28: If approved, adopt the ordinance amending the charter. This will make the ordinance subject to a vote of the people and, at the same time, will call for a special election by resolution to submit the ordinance to a vote.
- Aug. 29 – Sept. 7: Publish notice of election.
- Nov. 6: Election.
- July 2013: Candidate filing.
- November 2013: First municipal election where staggered terms will take effect, if approved in November 2012.
Commissioners still need to decide whether the votes for the Mayor’s term and the Commissioners’ terms will be separate, and also how they will determine who gets the first 4-year terms.
CCOG – CONNECT CONSORTIUM
Michael Johnson, Mayor Pro Tem of Statesville and vice chair of the Centralina Council of Governments, gave a presentation on the COG’s initiative, the CONNECT Consortium, that aims to develop a regional strategic framework for future planning, including economic development, housing, energy, public health, and others. He encouraged Davidson to become an active member, with representation from the town staff and board.
Composed of public, private and non-profit organizations across 14 counties, the CONNECT Consortium is funded by a $4.9 million HUD grant and $3 million in local, in-kind matches.
Involvement in the consortium would give town leaders a voice in guiding a regional, strategic framework, Mr. Johnson said, and there are added “perks,” like bonus points for HUD grants.
Involvement requires no financial contribution. “We want Davidson’s expertise,” Mr. Johnson said.
Commissioners cited the Lake Norman Transportation Commission and the Future of the Library Task Force as excellent examples of regional corporation, and saw similar potential for the CONNECT Consortium. Board members voted unanimously to participate.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PLAN
Kathleen Rose and Kim Flemming, who have been working on a strategic plan for economic development for the town, gave an update on next steps.
The overall goal of the plan is to try to communicate Davidson’s economic sustainability internally, to citizens, and to the business community, Ms. Flemming said.
Plans for the coming year include:
-Phase II of website development ($3,000)
- Make it more business-focussed
- Include an interactive map of the town
- Define the development process and provide contact information
- Include economic development metrics reporting (commercial vs. residential tax base, retail occupancy rates, etc.)
- Add a guide to doing business in Davidson
-Create an e-brochure for site selectors ($800)
-Launch a business marketing campaign ($2,000)
-Plan quarterly networking sessions for home-based businesses
-Make a direct mail piece ($1,500)
The strategic plan also outlines plans for business retention and a sharper focus on tourism and advertising.
The board voted unanimously in favor of a newly-negotiated contract with Republic Services that staff members believe will improve waste pick-up service while cutting costs. Under the new contract, the pick-up routes and days will be different – there will be four routes Monday through Thursday. Also, multi-family residences will receive recycling services, and Republic will be held to defined performance standards.
The town expects the new contract to take effect in October, Town Manager Leamon Brice said.