Raymond Hait, of the Military Order of the Purple Heart presents the organization’s plan to place a Purple Heart memorial at the Park on Fairview. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

 

Thursday, October 26 marked the first meeting of the Mint Hill Town Commission in the new town hall.

The commission heard presentations from either side of the “CONNECT Our Future: Vibrant Communities—Robust Region” program, which is a process for local government, businesses, and other organizations to create a regional plan for development.

The program is support- ed by a $4.9 million dollar HUD grant and a $3 million of local public and private matching funds, and affects a 14-county area, including Mecklenburg, Gaston, Stanly, Union, and Cabarrus counties. Lynette Rinker, mayor pro tem and commissioner of the town of Cornelius, gave a presentation on why Cornelius denied joining the program, citing federal control of local issues.

Rinker said that while the basic tenets of sustainability and regional planning are important, Cornelius had a number of issues with the program, including its inconsistency with the town’s recently developed master plan, concerns with staff resources and time commitment, and federal government control in town concerns.

“We are concerned about the segregation of our town’s best interests to those of the regional interest,” Rinker said. “You know, it might be in our best interest, but if it’s not in a regional best interest, then it doesn’t get addressed.”

Jim Prosser, executive director of Centralina Council of Governments (CCOG), spoke to the commission on the positives of the program, and why Mint Hill should be involved.

Prosser said the process was designed and instituted in order for local governments to work together to see how to compete more effectively as a region, citing that this region, over the last decade, has been the fastest growing region in the country.

“The whole issue of whether the Feds are going to control this or whether we’re going to control it on the local level, I am not the least bit concerned about,” Prosser said, saying the system has been developed to take recommendations on the local level, and any implementation of policies is voluntary.

The commission listened to a presentation by Raymond Hait, of the Military Order of the Purple Heart, to place a Purple Heart memorial at the Park at Fairview.

Hait presented a full plan of what the memorial is, where it would go, what it would take to put it in, and that the town will not have to pay any money toward the memorial or its installment.

They represented the plan to the Parks and Recreation Board September 11, which voted to send a favorable recommendation for placement of the monument.

The commission voted, and unanimously granted permission for the memorial to be placed in the park, with exact placement depending on inspection of sidewalk plans and any infrastructure that may interfere with the monument.

In other matters

• The council approved the minutes of the September 27 regular meeting and the October 3 called meeting.

• On the consent agenda, the commission voted to ac- cept the treasurer’s report and the tax collector’s report, approve an agreement with the Mint Hill Volunteer Fire Depart- ment for Fire Services, and adopted an amendment to the FY13 budget.

• The commission moved to approve a text amendment to the downtown overlay code, authorizing administrative variation of sidewalk width.

• Commissioner Lloyd Austin was chosen to serve with town manager Brian Welch on the stakeholder’s group for further study regarding regional economic development.

• Town attorney Kevin Bringewatt updated the commission on the status of an agreement with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Historic landmarks commission, and the commission voted unanimously to approve the agreement, with the condition that Mint Hill be able to terminate the agreement with prior notice.

• The commission established December 2 as the date for the open house and Christmas tree lighting. The open house will be from 3-5:30 pm, with the tree lighting following at 5:45 pm.