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Here's What Went Down at the Oct. 17 Work Session

10/21/2016

The Clayton Town Council reviewed a lot of information and even took some action at the Oct. 17 work session.

Here's what went down.

Public Hearings set for Nov. 7

North Carolina law provides for public input on certain matters – typically dealing with land use changes and new developments – before the Council takes its vote. The hearings are open to everyone to come share their opinions.

On Monday, the Council reviewed the following items and set public hearings for 6:30 p.m. Nov. 7 at The Clayton Center:

Grifols Expansion Special-Use Permit

Grifols has requested a special-use permit to allow a building that exceeds our 50-foot height maximum. The global biopharmaceutical company wants to build a 71.6-foot tall plasma fractionation plant at its facility off U.S. 70 Business.

The plant would encompass more than 82,000 square feet. Plasma fractionation is the process of extracting the different proteins found in blood plasma for use in therapeutic and life-saving medicines. Grifols would construct the new plant next to its existing plant, which is one of the largest fractionation facilities in the world.

The Town of Clayton Fire Department, which would provide fire coverage to the new plant, has reviewed the proposal and has no issue with the height of the building. The Planning Board reviewed the request Sept. 26 and recommended it for approval.

Hunt Property (N.C. 42 East Mixed-Use Development) Annexations

The Council will hold a trio public hearings on voluntary annexation requests from three developments located on land commonly known as the Hunt Property. That land totals 45.75  acres and is located on the corner of N.C. 42 East and Glen Laurel Road. Last December, the Town Council approved rezoning and a master plan for the development.

The Hunt property has been broken into three pieces for separate development, and their annexations will be heard and considered separately. The future developments asking for annexation are:

  • The Pines at Glen Laurel: A 240-unit apartment complex on 20 acres submitted by The Pines at Glen Laurel LLC. The plans call for a clubhouse, pool, 10 three-story apartment buildings and 512 parking spaces. The Planning Board approved the site plan Dec. 28, 2015.
  • Glen Laurel Self-Storage: A self-storage operation on 4.98 acres submitted by Tellico Greens LLC. The plans call for one three-story building and two one-story building for a total of 120,900 square feet. The Planning Board approved the site plan Dec. 28, 2015.
  • The Shoppes at Glen Laurel: A 21.32-acre commercial and retail development. Petition of annexation submitted by The Shoppes at Glen Laurel LLC. The owner has yet to submit a site plan for Planning Board approval.

Special Events Policy Changes

The Council placed changes to the Town’s policy for special events, such as downtown festivals and road races, on its Nov. 7 consent agenda. The changes include a new set of fees for events that use Town resources. Check back for a full report on the changes. 

Sole-Sourcing Wastewater Equipment

In a late addition to the agenda, staff presented a proposal to forgo its usual bidding process and proceed with a sole-source bidding process for a replacement ultraviolet disinfection system at the Town’s Little Creek wastewater treatment plant. The Town’s budget for fiscal year 2016-17 includes $680,000 for the project.

Staff proposes replacing the aging Trojan UV 3000 system, which was installed in 1999, with a new Trojan UV 3000 Plus. The new system would replace a unit that has become obsolete, cost less to operate and meet new state requirements for redundancy. Staff also looked at UV disinfection systems from Wedeco and Aquionics, they said, but the Town's plant is already built to accommodate Trojan equipment. The costs of refitting the wastewater plant to use another vendor are high, staff said, which is why they proposed a sole-source bid to move forward with Trojan. 

The Council placed the request on its Nov. 7 consent agenda, but Councilman Art Holder requested staff send the Council the full breakdown of what it would cost to change vendors before the next meeting. If that report raises questions, the Council said it would pull the request from the consent agenda and discuss it further.

Council-Manager Work Session Dates Set

Town Clerk Kimberly Moffett announced the dates and location for the upcoming 2016 Clayton Town Council Retreat, where the Council will spend a couple of days with Town Manager Adam Lindsay to discuss goals and share the Council's vision for Clayton with the new manager.

The group will meet Oct. 26-27 in the training room at HomeTown Realty, located at 328 E. Main St. in Downtown Clayton. On Wednesday, they will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with an hour break for lunch at the Clayton Steakhouse. On Thursday, the Council and manager will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with an break for lunch to be held in the training room. All times are approximate.

The retreat is open to the public to attend and observe, just like all gatherings of the Clayton Town Council not specifically exempted under N.C.G.S. § 143-318.11(a).

Cemetery Billing Changes and Follow-Up

The Council placed on its Nov. 7 consent agenda steps that will allow staff to address the Town's problem with customers contracting to purchase multiple graves in our cemeteries and then falling behind on the payments.

The issue came up Sept. 19, when staff reported that a total of 45 customers had $51,695 of past-due payments owed on 82 graves. Once approved at the next meeting, staff will have the go-ahead to send final notices to those 45 customers via certified mail in order to clean up the books and free up graves for other customers. If the customers fail to respond by Feb. 1, 2017, the Town will exercise its right to terminate the contracts without refunds.

To prevent the issue from repeating itself, the Town will also modify the way it contracts the purchase of cemetery lots. Currently, customers put down $100 and pay for one grave per year until their contracts are fulfilled. Under the new policy, customers will have to pay up-front for one grave and will have until June 31 of the following year to pay in-full for any additional graves in their contract.

Following up on a Council request from the last work session, Public Works Director Tim Simpson provided data for Forest Hills and Maplewood cemeteries:

Simpson noted Forest Hills has more land that has yet to be subdivided into graves. Councilman Jason Thompson requested to see the same figures for Clayton's other graveyard, City Cemetery, which is the Town's oldest and most fully-occupied cemetery.

While on the topic of graveyards, multiple councilmen suggested Town staff look into subdividing a section of cemetery specifically for cremated remains (cremains), which take up far less space than traditional burials.

Remembering J.W. "Buck" Lee

Mayor Jody McLeod read a proclamation in memory of J.W. "Buck" Lee, who served Clayton as Mayor Pro Tem from 1991 to 1995 and played a key role in the construction of the Clayton Operations Building.

A lifelong Clayton resident, Lee married his wife of 64 years, Lexene Thompson Lee, in 1951. Together, the couple raised three daughters, Jill Rasor, Anne Abene and Laney Johnson, who blessed them with five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Lee served in University Graphics for 33 years at the N.C. State University. He belonged to the Clayton Civitan Club and served Meals on Wheels for 20 years. Lee was a lifelong member of First Baptist Church, where he served as an usher, deacon and Sunday school teacher.

In recognition of Lee's role in our community, Mayor McLeod also declared Oct. 17, 2016 as J.W. "Buck" Lee Day in Clayton.

Lee's family filled the front row of the Town Council Chambers at Monday's meeting, and McLeod was honored to give a framed copy of the proclamation to Lee's widow, Lexene.

McLeod thanked the family for its many contributions to the Town of Clayton.

“I can honestly say Clayton is a better place because of Buck,” he said. “And I can honestly say that I am a better leader for this community because of my experiences and time shared with Buck.”

Clayton Historical Association Presentation

As the Council prepares for its retreat, Porter Casey Jr. of the Clayton Historical Association asked the Council to add an item to its agenda: Exploring practical actions and incentives that preserve the Town's historical district and the neighborhood character of our community.

In a presentation and letter to the Council delivered Monday, Casey said the Clayton Historical Association would like to see the Council come out of the retreat ready to provide guidance to the Planning Department and open the door for collaboration with Downtown Clayton stakeholders. If the Town would like, he said, the Clayton Historical Association would be happy to offer support, research and community outreach throughout the process.

In his presentation, Casey emphasized that the historical association would like to see standards put in place that preserve our history without creating a heavy regulatory burden. Casey suggested the Council consider creating a "small-town character overlay district," such as the one Apex has in place, that would not burden property owners or require the creation of a preservation commission, he said. A carefully-crafted overlay district would allow decisions to be made quickly, he said, and they could be handled at the Town-staff level. The Clayton Historical Association would also like to see the Town create a street façade grant program for residents of historic houses, Casey said, similar to the Town’s existing façade grant program for businesses in Downtown Clayton.

Having a set of standards in the historic district would protect the property owners who have already made investments to preserve historic buildings in Downtown Clayton, Casey said. It would also help the Town to preserve its sense of identity for future generations; help us maintain our small-town character and charm; enrich the appeal and appearance of our community; and attract visitors and shoppers to downtown businesses, he said.

Clayton has already made two big steps toward historic preservation, Casey said. In 2006, the Town checked off the requirements and joined the N.C. Main Street Community Program, he said, and in 2010, the Town put established the Clayton Historic District on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. These certifications open up redevelopment resources to the Town and property owners, as well as grant funds for projects.

Public Comments

At the end of each work session and regular meeting, the Town Council opens the floor for public comment. On Monday, two Town of Clayton residents used this time share their concerns with Council.

Sylvie Connors, of 304 Marrian Drive in the Brittany Woods neighborhood, expressed opposition to the proposed Village at Little Creek subdivision, which would be developed on 44.25 acres of farmland that abuts her backyard. Connors said she moved to Clayton so her daughter could grow up in the country, and she said development might drive her out of Town. Above all, Connors said she opposes the plans to connect the 154 houses to her street, Marrian Drive, which currently dead-ends next to her house. Connors said she doesn’t want her street to become a cut-through for motorists. Connors also raised concerns about a stream that runs alongside her house, which she said is not shown or otherwise accounted for on planning maps for the new subdivision.

On Sept. 26, the Planning Board reviewed the rezoning request and proposed site plan for The Village at Little Creek. The Board recommended both for approval. On Monday, Mayor Jody McLeod encouraged Connors to raise her concerns during the formal public hearing process when the plans come before the Town Council for approval. The Council is waiting for a traffic impact analysis report from NCDOT before evaluating the proposed rezoning and neighborhood plans. Staff hopes to have that report in time for the Nov. 21 work session agenda.

Also during the public comment period, Virginia Hinton, of 236 E. Front St. in Downtown Clayton, raised a number of issues. Hinton said the Town took too long to clean up the mess after the rain from Hurricane Matthew flowed out of the wastewater system near her house, and she said it took too long for trash to be removed after the recent Harvest Festival. Hinton said there are steep drop-offs into ditches and flooding issues on Front Street, and she asked the Council to lower the speed limit on Front Street from 35 mph to 25 mph to match the other roads in Downtown Clayton. Finally, Hinton remarked on the lack of Christmas decorations on the north side of Clayton compared to the rest of downtown.

Special Events Dates and Closures

Evelyn Sanders, president of the Johnston County Alumnae Chapter of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, presented her group's request to close a section of East Front Street on April 1, 2017 for the Taking Strides Against Family Violence 5K Walk/Run. Other streets on the race route will be closed on a rolling basis. The event raises money for Harbor Inc., Johnston County's only nonprofit dedicated to serving the victims of family violence.

The Council approved closures for three more special events. The Council generally avoids taking action at work sessions but, in the interest of time, suspended that rule to vote on the following:

  • A resolution notifying the N.C. Department of Transportation that the date for The Shindig, and its associated road closures, has moved to Nov. 13. The annual music and beer festival was originally set for Oct. 8, but got rained out by Hurricane Matthew.
  • Closure of Town Square for a Veterans Day event on Sunday, Nov. 6.
  • Closure of Main Street for the Clayton Christmas Parade on Dec. 10 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Recognition of Firefighters

The Council took time to acknowledge the accomplishments of six Town of Clayton firefighters who recently earned the highest award a North Carolina firefighter can achieve – the Firefighter's Advanced Professional Certificate.

They are: Ken Evans, Mark Morris, Chris Carter, Josh Spivey, Andrew Shaw and James Hill. Shaw and Spivey could not attend because they were busy on the job.

Only about 1 percent of North Carolina's more than 50,000 firefighters have earned this prestigious certificate. This statewide recognition is a nod to these men's education, significant professional training and on-the-job experience.

Click here for more info and a full gallery of photos from the presentations.

Other Items

After handling its public agenda, the Council spent 20 minutes in closed session to discuss a matter with the Town Attorney while preserving its attorney-client privilege, as is provided under N.C.G.S. § 143-318.11(a)(3). No action followed the discussion.

The Council also added the following item to its consent agenda for the Nov. 7 meeting.

  • The appointment of Maleah Christie, a local artist and co-owner of Revival 1869 in Downtown Clayton, to fill a vacancy on the Public Art Advisory Board. The term ends Dec. 31.
  • Changes that would clean-up Chapter 32 of the Town's Code of Ordinances, which governs public boards and commissions. The proposal modifies the descriptions of boards to better reflect their current functions, and it deletes language referring to boards that no longer meet.
  • Public Works superintendents introduced four new employees who filled vacant positions in the department. They are: James Griffin, property maintenance technician; Josh Cotton, property maintenance worker; Matthew Harvey, utility maintenance mechanic; and Richard Johnson, utility maintenance mechanic.

Next Meeting is Nov. 7

The Town Council's next regularly-scheduled meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. Nov. 7 in the Town Council Chambers of The Clayton Center, 111 East Second Street in Downtown Clayton.

We post a preview of each meeting a few days in advance on TownofClaytonNC.org and the Town of Clayton's Facebook page.

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