Davidson’s Town Board approved a rezoning Wednesday night that will allow a ground-mounted sign at Carolinas HealthCare System’s new behavioral health hospital off NC 73. In a meeting lasting just 28 minutes, commissioners also passed a resolution confirming that a foreclosed condo at South Main Square is no longer subject to the town’s Affordable Housing Ordinance.
The meeting had been postponed to Wednesday because of the winter storm last week.
The board did not get a planned financial update on the MI-Connection Communications System, because CEO David Auger was unable to attend.
HOSPITAL GETS OK FOR SIGN
Commissioners voted 4-0 to approve a conditional rezoning to allow the sign at the new $36 million behavioral health hospital off NC 73 east of Davidson. Commissioner Brian Jenest asked to recuse himself, and board members agreed, because his architecture and planning firm is involved in the hospital project and the sign.
Specifically, the board approved the hospital’s request to amend the Davidson Planning Ordinance Map from Flex Campus Planning to Conditional Planning Area. The only change allowed by the vote is the hospital’s request for a ground-mounted “monument” sign, which otherwise would not be allowed under the town’s sign rules. The size – 6 feet wide by 4 feet tall, on a 9-foot 4-inch wide stone mount – also exceeds what’s permitted.
The hospital says the free-standing sign is necessary “to effectively and safely advise motorists” of the hospital’s location. In its analysis of the request, the planning staff said the NC 73 area is “distinctly non-pedestrian.”
In the planning staff analysis, town officials also noted that similar exceptions had been approved for signs in the Exit 30 area, at MSC Industrial Supply, Homewood Suites, Harbour Place, and Davidson Commons shopping center.
Officials at Wednesday’s meeting said they are hoping the new hospital will be ready for an April opening.
- See more information and related documents on the town website. An updated planning staff analysis also is available.
- Related story, Jan. 15, 2014, “Board OKs annexation, discusses sign for CHS hospital off NC 73.”
AFFORDABLE HOUSING ISSUES
In a “pre-meeting” Wednesday afternoon, commissioners discussed the South Main Square condo, which People’s Bank had foreclosed on in 2011. A foreclosure typically wipes out restrictions such as the affordable housing requirement, but Kathleen Rose of property owner Urban Organics LLC had asked the board to formally release the property from the requirement.
In recent days, town officials determined the property is no longer subject to the rules because of the foreclosure. So during the regular meeting later, the board voted 5-0 to acknowledge that, and to authorize town staff to provide verification. Rose hopes the move will make it easier to sell the unit, which failed to sell for the $65,000 asking price. See more about the case on the town website.
At a 90-minute pre-meeting that began at 4pm, the board also briefly discussed a proposal by Davidson Affordable Housing Coordinator Cindy Reid to increase the maximum resale amount allowed on deed-restricted affordable houses. Reid said the change was needed to provide a minimal return to owners of houses in the affordable housing program.
Typically, owners of affordable houses in Davidson are allowed to sell their homes for the purchase price plus a premium that’s calculated using the increase in the federal Area Median Income. (The size of the increase is limited to keep the houses at a price level that’s still affordable to buyers below certain income.)
In recent years, the area median income has risen 1.5 percent to 3 percent per year, Reid said. But it declined 6.4 percent in 2013 and is up just 0.2 percent this year, according to figures Reid provided. And that has left some owners unable to sell their homes for more than they paid.
With no incentive to sell, Reid said, “it can lead to renting and it can lead folks to not repair their homes.” The change would apply only to houses bought between 2008 and 2013 that are subject to affordable housing restrictions, which she estimated total about 40. But the number of sellers likely would be far fewer, perhaps only a handful.
Reid had proposed allowing a one-time 2 percent premium (after agent’s commission), just for this year, though some commissioners wondered if that figure couldn’t be higher. After discussion, the board agreed to take the issue up again at its work session next week.
ALSO AT THE TOWN BOARD
Davidson commissioners on Wednesday:
- Approved Minutes from the regular meetings January 14 and 20-22 (retreat); approve minutes from the Feb. 4 work session
- Accepted Apollinaire Drive Street Maintenance Responsibility
- Accepted Symbolist Alley Street Maintenance Responsibility
- Approved of Tax Levy Adjustments
- Approved of Budget Amendments 2014-17 and 2014-18 – Budget Amendment 2014-17 recognizes and adjusts the budget for insurance reimbursement on vehicles in Police and Fire Departments. Budget Amendment 2014-18 recognizes the budget for receipt of funds donated for memorial benches to be purchased.
- Adopted the Municipal Speed Limit Ordinance Enacted and Repealed Zones on NC 115 (Main Street) – Town officials say no speed limits are being changed; they’re simply “reverifying” speed limits for NCDOT.
- Approved Stephanie Schauder as the Davidson College Representative to the Livability Board
- Approved of Budget Amendment 2014-15 (Fiscal Impact Analysis) – Budget Amendment 2014-15 adjusts revenue and expenditure allocations for a contract with TishlerBise to provide a fiscal impact analysis for $33,360. TishlerBise would conduct a 6-week project to produce a “Cost of Land Use Fiscal Impact Analysis” specifically for the Town of Davidson. This analysis would provide the annual costs and revenues to the town for both residential and commercial buildings.
- Consider Approval of Budget Amendment 2014-16 (Payroll In-House) – The town will spend $22,500 for software and training to bring payroll processing in house. That would save $10,000. The initial cost is coming from a $40,000 anonymous donation to the town.
See the full agenda on the town website.