Lincoln County Commissioners held an unusually short mid-monthly meeting Monday evening. In a little less than an hour, they approved all but one of the rezoning requests that had been the subject of public hearings at their March 1st meeting, heard a five-year plan on capital needs for Lincoln County Schools, approved a contract for renovation of two county buildings, and authorized proceeding with a contract for a new water line connection with the city of Lincolnton water system on Reepsville Road.
The only rezoning request that wasn't approved was one for rezoning of 27 acres on the east side of Camp Creek Road from R-T (Transitional Residential) to CZ I-G (Conditional Zoning General Industrial) to permit a land-clearing and inert debris landfill with a disposal area approximately two acres in size. At the public hearing earlier this month, area residents had voiced their objection to the proposal and the Planning Board voted 8-0 to recommend that the request be disapproved.
A request by John & Carolyn Prime to rezone a 0.87-acre lot from B-N (Neighborhood Business) to CZ B-G (Conditional Zoning General Business) to permit vehicle sales in addition to vehicle service at a location on NC 16 Business opposite Galway Lane was approved on a 3-2 vote. Commissioners Bud Cesena & Anita McCall voted 'no.' McCall said she had heard from many constituents in eastern Lincoln County that they didn't want another car lot on Highway 16. Commission chair Carrol Mitchem said "people say we've got too many car lots, too many convenience groceries, too many of anything else they don't want; I think everybody knows how I feel." Mitchem, Milton Sigmon & Cathy Davis voted to approve the request.
Supt. of Schools Dr. Aaron Allen delivered a state-required report on the schools' capital needs over the next five years. Commissioners approved receiving the report, but noted that their action doesn't mean they'll fund the items it includes. The Capital Needs Survey says Lincoln County Schools will need over $31 million over the next five years for renovation of existing facilities. Also in the report was a possible new school in eastern Lincoln County, estimated to cost over $30 million.
The long talked about interconnection with the city of Lincolnton water system will provide about 5% more water to the county's western leg of its system and provide a redundancy that could prove important in keeping water flowing if the current lines should need to be shut down for repairs. Public Works Director Don Chamblee said the project also provides more advantages for the county system. For all of the system east of Lincolnton, the County takes water from Lake Norman, it is processed and pumped west; the new addition will provide an opportunity to send water the other direction in the future if needed. The total contract will cost the County about $7.5 million.
Commissioners also awarded a contract for the renovation of the building at N. Academy & Pine streets and the Medical Arts building adjacent to the County Health Dept. Already budgeted, those renovations will cost about $2.3 million.
Commissioners tabled a request from Lincoln Masonic Lodge #137 to install a plaque at the new County Courthouse. Tommy Smith told Commissioners that it has been a historic tradition that Masons place a cornerstone at new government buildings. "There was one at the old courthouse that was built in 1853, and one was placed at our current courthouse in 1921." The 1853 cornerstone was later moved when the old courthouse was torn down. A copper box that contained time capsule items disappeared, but the one that was placed behind the cornerstone in the current courthouse is still there with artifacts from the early 1920s, Smith told Commissioners. While they voiced approval of the idea, which will be funded by the Masonic Lodge, Commissioners tabled final action pending discussions with the builders about where to locate the plaque.
Commissioners' next meeting will be another budget workshop to be held beginning at 9:30 AM on Friday March 26th.