Granite Quarry aldermen fill several vacancies on Planning Board
GRANITE QUARRY — The Board of Aldermen moved Monday to fill several vacancies on the Granite Quarry Planning Board, approving the appointments of four people and the nomination of a fifth.
In recent months, Planning Board numbers have dwindled to where it has not had enough members to have a quorum.
For the nine-member Planning Board, five members are supposed to be residents of the town and appointed by the Board of Aldermen, Mayor Bill Feather said. The other four must live in the extraterritorial jurisdiction area of Granite Quarry.
For the extraterritorial members, the Board of Aldermen makes a recommendation for each seat, and the Rowan County Board of Commissioners has final approval. Monday night, aldermen chose Donna Goodman as an extraterritorial member, with a term expiring in 2020.
Goodman’s nomination must be approved by county commissioners.
Aldermen made outright appointments of Granite Quarry residents Mark Troublefield, Aubrey Smith, Vonda Jenkins-Kimrey and Sandy Fisher to the Planning Board.
Planning Board members serve staggered terms of three years. Fisher’s term will expire in 2018, while the terms of Troublefield, Smith and Jenkins-Kimrey will go until 2020. Two vacancies for extraterritorial members remain.
The board voted 4-0 for the Planning Board appointments.
During a public-comment period, Ed Shell, a resident of the Countryside subdivision, spoke about appointments and urged aldermen to wait until after the Nov. 7 municipal election.
As many as three town board members could be new come December, depending on the election results, Shell noted.
“What’s this great urgency all of a sudden?” Shell asked. “… Don’t rush this thing. Don’t push this thing. Don’t try to force this issue.”
On a somewhat related matter, Shell urged the board to defer action on a policy outlining the process for making appointments to their boards. There are currently six boards and commissions advising the mayor and aldermen on various issues.
The proposed policy describes the recruitment, application and selection process, and Shell said it raises issues that should be discussed more fully.
Later in Monday evening’s meeting, the policy was presented as information only. No action was taken.
Feather said the proposal would formalize the appointment process more than it is currently, and he and Alderman Jim LaFevers said it should be reviewed by the town’s other boards for their input.
“This is a work in progress,” Feather said.
On another matter, Town Planner Steve Blount reported on his efforts to write downtown design guidelines, one of the outgrowths of the 2016 Downtown Master Plan for Granite Quarry.
Blount told aldermen the design guidelines and suggestions they were given as part of the Downtown Master Plan were “boilerplate” in nature and more fitting to traditional downtowns such as Salisbury’s.
But Granite Quarry has a wider mix of buildings, styles, eras and quality of structures, Blount said, and he’s looking more at having design guidelines that reflect a campus-style approach.
Blount said the guidelines for new construction in the central business district will be strict. Separate guidelines will apply for existing buildings. Certain things will have to be part of the guidelines, such as addressing outside storage, enclosing commercial garage containers and improving front facades.
“These things will be controversial — you know it, and I know it,” Blount said. He added, however, that “if you want it to happen, it has to have some teeth.”
Blount said he has written about 25 percent of the downtown design guidelines so far. They will address categories such as new and infill development; existing building repairs and renovations; building replacements; and parking lot, landscape and streetscape improvements.
“I’m glad we’re getting started,” Mayor Pro Tem Mike Brinkley said. Feather said the work on the guidelines is “a long time coming.”
In other Granite Quarry news:
• The town has hired Shelly Shockley as a finance analyst, planning coordinator and events administrator.
• The Board of Aldermen will have a called meeting at 4 p.m. Oct. 16 to review the town audit and a revised interlocal agreement with the Interlocal Risk Financing Fund of North Carolina.
• The town accepted a payment from Stonewood Insurance Co. for $13,140, which will pay for damage to Chamandy Drive (serving a new industrial park), a guardrail and town staff labor.
• Maintenance Director Jason Hord reported most of the town’s street resurfacing has been completed or will be by the end of this week. The total cost is roughly $230,000, and part of the expense not covered by this year’s budget will come out of next year’s Powell Bill allocation from the state.
• The Granite Quarry Civitan Fiddlers Convention and Barbecue Dinner will be held Oct. 14 at East Rowan High School starting at 10 a.m.
• The state reports Granite Quarry’s 2016 population estimate was 3,086, up from 3,058 in 2015.