NEWTON GROVE — Zoning issues were the hotbed issue on the Newton Grove Board of Commissioners agenda Tuesday night . Faye Lewis with the Mid-Carolina Council of Government was present, as were several citizens, for the special public hearing regarding modular homes.
Mayor Gerald Darden opened the public hearing on the zoning ordinance regarding modular homes following the approval of the minutes and the financial report. Lewis explained that the current town ordinances did not specifically address modular homes. David Whitt, along with his fiance, Diana Ivosic and her father, Tony Ivosic, had requested the town’s zoning board act on the matter as they are hoping to put a modular unit in Newton Grove, but needed permission to do so.
Whitt explained that because the town did not have modular homes within its ordinances, they wished to have the matter cleared by the zoning board and the town commissioners prior to placing the home within the town limits.
“We are getting married the first of December and are hoping to havea house built prior to our marriage,” explained Whitt. “We asked for the ordinance because we did not want to have any problems later and would like for your action as quickly as possible so we can get started and be done with the house before we get married.”
Darden explained that the planning board had met but did not take any action other than to request additional information and clarification from Lewis as to how modular homes are handled.
Lewis informed the commissioners that the state recognized modular homes in the same manner as that of a stick built home and, therefore, could be permitted the same versus the conditional permit required on manufactured homes. Modular homes are stick built homes that are built off-site and are lifted by a crane onto a permanent foundation and look very similar to a home built on site.
After discussion from Ivosic, Whitt, Lewis and Eleanor Cannady of the planning board, the mayor asked that the board table the matter and let the planning board revisit the issue at its next meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 4, with the town board await its recommendation. The board agreed with Darden’s suggestion.
Darden and the commissioners apologized for the delay but said they wanted to be above board in this matter to ensure that all parties were satisfied as much as possible. Whitt was given approval to proceed with whatever items he could without the permit.
After the public hearing was closed, the department reports were given, and Commissioner Alan Herring reported on the bank robbery that occurred in July and explained why an officer was not on duty at the time.
“Chief Harrell had requested a couple days off for vacation and we had everything covered. However the officer that was to cover his shift became ill and had to go to the hospital and communication did not come to me about that situation. I apologize that we did not have coverage immediately but I was on site within 20 minutes of the robbery. We have taken steps to prevent this from occurring in the future,” noted Herring.
Herring also reported that the investigation was ongoing and that law enforcement was moving towards an arrest in the matter.
Commissioner Steve Jackson informed the board that re-grouting of the water tower and replacement of the filters on the top of the tank would soon be completed.
Darden shared with the commissioners that the water system had been paid off in full.
Commissioner Brenda Raynor reported that several streets repairs had been made and others would soon be completed.
Lewis then returned to share with the board a presentation and request for the town’s watershed protection ordinance. She informed the commissioners that the Mid-Carolina Council of Government had been awarded a grant to be used to inform, educate and implement new development standards proven to protect and improve land and water quality. She had presented the information to the planning board and requested the board hold a public hearing at its next meeting to discuss the text changes in the ordinance. The board approved the public hearing request and will hold the hearing at its Sept. 11 meeting.
Lewis also reported that the courts had acted on the electronic gaming issue and approved that it was a legal activity and could be operated in North Carolina. Darden shared with Lewis that an ordinance adopted by the commissioners on May 10, 2011 was already in place to address electronic gaming in the town. The ordinance requires an annual license tax of $1,000 per machine with a limit of 12 machines at any one business.
Lewis stated that it was good the town already had addressed the issue as each individual request would have to go before the planning board prior to approval as a conditional use permit. Some questions regarding times of operation, which is not in the ordinance, were discussed and Lewis shared that she would address the matter during the planning committee’s next meeting.