Mint Hill commissioners work through power outage at meeting

The Mint Hill Board of Commissioner worked through stormy conditions and a long power outage to hold a public hearing for the 2014 budget, hear an update on a proposed development and appoint new members to town boards, among other business.

The Board of Commissioners adopted the 2014 budget, as recommended by the town manager, Brian Welch, at the last budget workshop meeting. The finished budget came out balanced, and tax rates and vehicle tag fees will remain the same.

During the public hearing for the budget, Dale Dalton was the only speaker from the public, saying, “I just want to thank Brian and the Board for coming up with out budget and not raising taxes or anything, I think you ought to be commended for what you’ve done.”

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Board discusses peddling, graffiti at May meeting

The Mint Hill Board of Commissioners discussed graffiti and peddling at a short meeting May 23.

The issue of graffiti was first brought to the council a few weeks ago, after some property in town had been vandalized with spray paint. The Town is looking into ways to establish a town policy for cleaning up graffiti, and instructed town staff to procure estimates of clean-up cost.

Mint Hill Police Chief Tim Ledford speaks to the Board of Commissioners about graffiti abatement in Mint Hill at the May 23 Board of Commissioners meeting. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

Mint Hill Police Chief Tim Ledford speaks to the Board of Commissioners about graffiti abatement in Mint Hill at the May 23 Board of Commissioners meeting. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

Town manager Brian Welch informed the board that the cost to the town for the clean up of 25 square feet of graffiti would cost $500, with labor, time, and equipment all accounted for within that cost.

Board members further discussed specifics of a potential ordinance, including the definition of graffiti, time allotted for property owners to clean up the graffiti themselves, and punishment for persons caught vandalizing property with graffiti.

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At a glance: Town projects

Novant Mint Hill

Novant Health, formerly Presbyterian, is still on track to break ground on their new location in Mint Hill in 2014, and to complete the hospital in 2016, two years earlier than the initial plans. The location, at Albemarle and I485, will cost approximately $90 million, at 165,000 square feet. The original plan called for a larger and more expensive structure, but the scaled-down version will still have the same number of beds and offer the same services. At a Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce luncheon in November, Roland Bibeau, president of Novant Matthews, said the location would still be a full-service community hospital.

 

Bridges at Mint Hill

The latest development in the stalled mall project, Bridges at Mint Hill, came at a January Mint Hill Board of Commissioners meeting, where the board adopted a resolution to request assistance from the North Carolina General Assembly and the North Carolina Department of Transportation to fund roadway improvements along Lawyers Road at Interstate 485 for the development. The project began in 2008, but after problems with layout and environmental concerns, as well as a faltering economy, the project was put on hold. Work could resume as early as the end of the year.

 

Mint Hill Police Department renovation

Work is continuing on schedule to transform the old Mint Hill Town Hall into the New Mint Hill Police Department, with the completion date of fall 2013 still intact. The Mint Hill Board of Commissioners approved a $2 million budget at a March meeting, and work on the renovation began shortly after. The project is being handled by Edifice Inc., the same company that led the construction of the new town hall. The renovation includes a number of new features for the building, including street-facing parking spaces, closing in the breezeway, and transforming the commissioner’s meeting space to a conference room.

 

Korean War Veterans Memorial

The Korean War Veterans Memorial at The Park on Fairview, being built by Chapter 265 of the North Carolina Korean War Veteran’s Association, was originally scheduled to be completed in Summer of 2012. As of January this year, construction was at 85 percent completion, with small details like handicap railing, Astroturf carpeting, and more pavers waiting to be installed. The dedication date has not been finalized, but June 25, the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the war in 1953 is being considered.

 

New Bain Elementary

Construction on the new Bain Elementary facility is on track to finish JUne 14, when an opening ceremony will be held. On May 30, the school will host a fundraising recap event, where parents who bought bricks to help with school construction will be able to locate their bricks in the new facility. Starting next year, Bain students will attend school in the new building. Work began on the new building in early 2012, at a cost of approximately $15.3 million to Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. The building is a two-story, 82,000 square foot facility, with labs and media center, and even a rock climbing wall in the gymnasium.

 

Library Hours

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library Mint Hill recently changed their hours of operation. The library is now open on Mondays, from 10 am to 8 pm and closed all day Thursday. Previously, the library was open on Thursday afternoon due to volunteer efforts and closed all day on Mondays.

 

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BOC hears presentations on roundabout, fire tax

The Mint Hill Board of Commissioners and Mint Hill residents were updated on two important town issues at the meeting last Thursday, May 9.

Scott Cole, Division Traffic Engineer with the North Carolina Department of Transportation gave a presentation about roundabouts, and specifically the proposed roundabout to be built at the intersection of N.C. Hwy. 51 and Idlewild Road in Mint Hill.

Cole cited the main concerns for the construction of the roundabout, the same as the main concerns for any roundabout, are traffic efficiency and safety.

According to Cole, roundabouts are the safest intersection, can provide for high capacity and low delay, is good for all modes of transportation, including pedestrians, motorcycles, bicycles, cars, and large trucks, has a geometric flexibility to fit in any location, and the aesthetic appeal.

For safety, Cole said that a regular intersection has 32 conflict points, or places where a collision is likely to occur, and that a roundabout has only 8, and provides for slower speeds and better angles.

Cole said that typical crash reductions following installation of roundabouts in rural areas of the United States could be as high as 74 percent.

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Board of Commissioner hear proposed change to sign ordinance, set summer schedule

by Derek Lacey / Staff Writer

The board hears from Stephen Jackson, who requested changes to the town’s ordinance con- cerning lighted signs. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

The board hears from Stephen Jackson, who requested changes to the town’s ordinance con- cerning lighted signs. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

The April 11 Mint Hill Board of Commissioners meeting began with a quarterly developers’ workshop, regarding sign ordinance in the town.

Stephen Jackson presented a proposed text amendment to town code, one that would allow for lit signs, and allow them to change messages, something that is prohibited by current code.

The existing ordinance regarding lighted signs states that the signs shall employ only devices emitting light of constant intensity and that no sign shal be illuminated by flashing, intermittent, rotating, or moving light.

Jackson proposed changing the ordinance so that the police and fire departments, as well as local businesses, could convey messages to the community, and could change those messages if need be.

He did not advocate for signs to be able to flash, rotate, or move, but used as an example the Town of Matthews’ ordinance, which states that signs may change only once every 12 hours.

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Future PD parking may go against ordinance

When the transition from the current town hall to the new town hall is complete, renovations will begin on the old building in an effort to convert it into the new Mint Hill Police Department.  The plans show a secured parking area in the rear of the building, leaving no spaces for public parking.  The Board of Commissioners held a public hearing at their August 16 meeting on the request for parking in the front of the building, a request that goes against the town’s ordinance.  No one from the public spoke on the issue.

“I’m sorry, but I can’t support this because I feel like as a town we should be setting the example for our codes and ordinances and not granting ourselves an exception.  We should hold ourselves to the same standards that we hold other property owners to,” said Commissioner Tina Ross.

”I think this property’s unique in that we have very few downtown buildings that sit this far back off the road,” said Mayor Ted Biggers.  “With this being a police facility it creates a unique situation.  The building is being designed to have a secure, private parking lot in the rear.  That will be a gated parking lot.  Only the police will have access to the rear of the building, so for the public to gain access to the building and to have handicap parking, which allows the handicapped to park close to the main entrance, I’m going to support this proposal.”

The request was sent to the Planning Board, which met August 20.  The board moved to ask the commissioners to look at all the other options before allowing parking in the front of the building.

In other matters

  • The board accepted the treasurer’s report, the tax collector’s report, set a public hearing date for an amendment to the downtown sidewalk code, adopted a fee schedule, accepted the full settlement report for tax collections for the last fiscal year, adopted an order for Mecklenburg County to collect 2012 taxes, and adopted amendments to the 2012 and 2013 fiscal year budgets.
  • A resolution was passed ensuring quality water service.
  • A camping ordinance restricting tents and overnight camping in public spaces was adopted in an effort to deter activity related to the Democratic National Convention.  Commissioner Ross voiced concern about the ordinance’s affect on other camping plans, including Relay for Life.  The board intends to rescind the ordinance after the DNC at the September 13 meeting.
  • During the public comments a Mint Lake Village resident spoke in opposition to the 7-Eleven gas station and car wash plans for the intersection of Matthews-Mint Hill Road and Idlewild Road.  He was concerned about traffic, ground contamination, and diminishing property value.  Another resident asked the board to consider revising the noise ordinance, saying it was “outdated and way too lax.”  He suggested what Mecklenburg County has in place, and referenced the change Matthews is considering.  Toni Byers, who spoke at the public hearing on the rezoning petition to allow a fire station at the intersection of Arlington Church Road and Cabarrus Road, asked the board to not allow the rezoning.
  • The mayor and town manager Brian Welch are working with the Mint Hill Historical Society and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools regarding the old Bain Elementary School building.  They are setting up a committee to gauge community interest in saving the building.
  • The rezoning petition to construct the new fire station was approved.
  • The board appointed Charlie Burdick to the Board of Adjustment, and reappointed the Parks and Recreation Committee members and the Planning Board members.  The mayor thanked everyone who applied for these positions, saying they received good applications.
  • The board decided not to transplant the town’s evergreen tree when the town hall moves.
  • The fire department received 207 EMS calls and 74 fire calls in June, and 215 EMS calls and 83 fire calls in July, making the total number of calls for the year 1,891.
  • The town’s lawyer will provide a report on the Historic Landmark Commission agreement.  Mint Hill is the only town in Mecklenburg County who does not work with the group.
  • The next town hall meeting will be in the current building.  The new town hall is waiting for furniture.
  • In a closed session the board decided to purchase property at 11131 Lawyers Road for $50,199.
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