12/14/09 — County will take vote on changes

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County will take vote on changes

By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 14, 2009 2:08 PM

Wayne County Commissioners Tuesday morning are expected to take their second and final vote on an amended Planning Board ordinance. The ordinance passed it first reading 5-2 last month.

Meanwhile, as commissioners continue their revamp of the Planning Board, they will exercise for the first time their new planning-related authority when they consider a mobile home park plat and a subdivision plat.

Commissioners will be briefed on their agenda beginning at 8 a.m., and the meeting will start at 9 a.m. in their boardroom on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex.

The Planning Board ordinance is the third planning-related issue commissioners have tackled over the past several months. Already approved by the board have been amended subdivision and mobile home park ordinances that have given the responsibility for the final approval of those plats to commissioners.

During the first vote on the Planning Board ordinance earlier this month, commissioners finally relented on contentious wording about their ability to remove Planning Board members.

That revision prompted Commissioner John Bell, who had made the motion to approve the ordinance as written, to vote against the ordinance. He was joined by Commissioner Steve Keen, who also serves on the Planning Board.

Keen and the Planning Board wanted to remove the wording, "Members may be removed by the board of commissioners with or without cause." Keen's earlier attempts to that end failed.

Commissioner Andy Anderson offered the motion at the last board meeting to substitute, "The board of commissioners may remove any member during their appointed term." It was approved 5-2, with Keen and Bell voting no.

The Planning Board reviewed the ordinance in November and recommended the sentence be dropped. It also recommended that since the Planning Board does not have a budget, that any travel expense should be spelled out as coming from the Planning Department budget. The budget recommendation has not been discussed by commissioners.

Commissioners had sought to specify that they have the authority to remove Planning Board members after County Attorney Borden Parker told them it was unclear if the wording of the existing ordinance granted such authority.

Others changes in the rewritten ordinance include making the Planning Board subject to the state Open Meetings Law; requiring that Planning Board studies be subject to the availability of funds appropriated by commissioners; and that the Planning Board shall not make any expenditures unless budgeted by commissioners.

As for the plats on Tuesday's agenda, they are two of five the Planning Board approved at its meeting last week. Three received conditional approval and were not ready in time for commissioners to consider.

The mobile home park plat is not considered under the subdivision ordinance because the mobile homes are on rented lots. In a mobile home subdivision, the homes are located on lots owned by the homeowner.

The mobile home park consists of 14 lots on the south side of Price Road just east of N.C. 111. The subdivision consists of four lots on the north side of Sanderson Road near Spring Creek High School.

In other business Tuesday, the board will watch a PowerPoint presentation on the Wayne Occupational Readiness Keys for Success (WORKS) program.

Commissioners also will listen to a presentation on the Wayne County Farmland Preservation Plan.

The plan was prepared by the Lois Britt Agribusiness Center at Mount Olive College.

The plan's goal is to understand the importance of agriculture in the county and to develop a plan to address challenges facing farmers and agriculture.

Commissioners also are expected to approve the 2010 tax listing period and schedule of values.