05/06/13 — Hearing Tuesday on restoring planning power

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Hearing Tuesday on restoring planning power

By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 6, 2013 1:46 PM

A public hearing will be held Tuesday at 4:15 p.m. on a proposal to restore the authority of the Wayne County Planning Board and planning director to approve certain subdivision plats.

That authority was removed by a Democratic-controlled Wayne County commission several years. The new board, now controlled by Republicans for the first time since Reconstruction, wants to see that power returned.

If approved the amendment to the county ordinance would allow the planning director to give final approval to certain minor subdivision plats that do not exceed two lots on a secondary road. Variance requests would have to be approved by the Planning Board.

It also would allow the Planning Board to approve minor subdivisions. However, developers whose plats are not approved by the Planning Board may appeal to county commissioners.

The hearing will be held in the commissioners' meeting room on the fourth floor of the county courthouse annex.

It will be one of the first pieces of businesses that commissioners will take up in what will be the first of three planned evening meetings on May 7, June 4 and July 2.

The board is experimenting with the evening meetings to see how practical they might be. They will begin with an agenda briefing at 3 p.m. The meeting will start at 4 p.m. and public comments at 6 p.m.

The second meeting of the month will continue to start at 8 a.m. with the agenda briefing and the meeting at 9 a.m. Public comments will start at 10 a.m.

In other business Tuesday, the board's Facilities Committee will recommend that commissioners terminate the county's contract with RATIO Architects.

The firm designed the plans for the proposed new Steele Memorial Library in Mount Olive.

The recommendation includes asking Friends of Steele Memorial Library to pay the termination fee estimated at $35,000. However, it is the Steele Memorial Steering Committee that raised the money for the design work.

The Facilities Committee wants to terminate the contract in order to use design/build to do the project. In design/build process an architect/engineer teams with a contractor to design and build a project. The project owner, in this case the county, has a more active role in the process.

The Wayne County Juvenile Crime Prevention Council will update commissioners on programs and $455,678 in funding to reduce/prevent delinquent behavior.

The programs and funding:

* Communities in Schools: $46,134 from the Department of Public Safety, $25,245 from a local cash match, $11428 from local in-kind for a total of $82,807

* Eastern Prevention and Treatment Center: $142,843 Department of Public Safety, $42,288 local in-kind for a total of $185,131

* Majestic Shalom Ministries, Inc.: $81,228 Department of Public Safety, $17,616 local in-kind for total of $98,844

* Methodist Home for Children: $21,173 Department of Public Safety, $4,235 local in-kind for total of $25,408

* Juvenile Crime Prevention Council Administration Funds: $3,000 Department of Public Safety.

Commissioners will consider hiring an engineering firm and a law firm to oversee the county's CDBG Catalyst project.

Three of the nine engineering/construction firms responded to the county's requests for proposals. They are McDavid Associates and Cox-Edwards Co., both of Goldsboro and The Adams Co. of Warsaw.

Grant project manager David Harris of RSM Harris Associates has recommended that commissioners award the project engineer contract to McDavid Associates.

Nine legal firms specializing in real estate were contacted as well. The firms that responded were Baddour, Parker & Hine, PC; Everett, Womble & Lawrence, and Dees, Smith, Powell, Jarrett, Dees & Jones. Harris has recommended the contract be awarded to Baddour, Parker & Hine.

Also on the agenda:

* Downtown Goldsboro Development Corp. Executive Director Julie Metz will update commissioners on downtown projects.

* Commissioners will be asked to approve an agreement with Cambridge Systematics for an economic impact study of U.S. 70. The study is partnership with the state Department of Transportation and the U.S. 70 Corridor Commission. The Federal Highway Commission is providing funding in the amount of $250,000 through the DOT for the project. There is no cost to the county.

The agenda also lists a work session, but does not address what it will be for. As of Friday, County Manager Lee Smith said he did not think a topic has been decided.