18 Oct SEPTEMBER 12, 2023 Minutes- Special Meeting
The Five Hundred and Forty-Third Session of The Board of Alderman
September 12, 2023 7:00 p.m.
Present: Mayor Tichy, Mayor Pro Tem Isley, Alderman Andrews, Alderman Hunt, Alderman Cheap, and Clerk Farmerie
Absent: Alderman Tichy, Alderman Crouse
Alderman Cheap gave the invocation.
A motion was made to approve the agenda by Alderman Hunt, seconded by Alderman Andrews. Motion carries 4-0
Future Board of Adjustment Procedures
Clerk Farmerie explained that another Board of Adjustment meeting would need to be held for 4499 Cornerstone Dr because proper procedures were not followed from the start. Clerk Farmerie wants to establish proper procedures for holding Board of Adjustment meetings, starting with the upcoming one. He explained to the Board that when they are in a quasi-judicial hearing they are not acting as elected officials but rather they are a quasi-judicial body. They must act and proceed as if they were in a courtroom. Clerk Farmerie went over the proper procedures for handling a zoning issue. The first step is usually a citizen complaint. The second step is to send a letter of Notice of Violation, which was previously done for 4499 Cornerstone Dr. The third and fourth steps are somewhat interchangeable. If they reach 10 days from the first notice and nothing has been done about the problem, an order of compliance will be sent. This step was not taken in the 4499 Cornerstone Dr. property issue. The property owner has the right to appeal to the Board of Adjustment, either at the first or second notice. The property owner came to the January meeting to appeal but it appears, by reading the minutes, that no action was taken or decision made. The Board of Adjustment should have procedurally voted to grant or deny the variance. Once a decision has been made, a written notice should be sent to the property owner. If the property owner chooses to appeal the decision, they have 30 days after receiving the written decision to appeal to the superior court of Alamance County. It is imperative to follow these procedures because if it goes to superior court, the case can be lost based on whether these steps were correctly followed. Clerk Farmerie informed the Board that specific statutes are established and must apply to the variance request to be granted. Those statutes are; Does the property have any geographically specific problems that will not allow for proper setbacks, is it in harmony with the general purpose of the ordinance, does it conform to public safety expectations?
Clerk Farmerie gave the board a general overview of how the board of adjustment meeting would be run on September 25th, 2023. He informed them that they should make a decision about granting or not granting the variance at the close of the meeting. A written letter would go out to the homeowner the next day to serve as notice of the board’s decision. If the board does not grant the variance, civil penalties will begin occurring after the letter is received by the property owner.
There was a brief discussion among the board about following proper procedure during the meeting so that all areas all covered properly.
Contracting for Accounting Help
Clerk Farmerie told the board that he would like to contract out some of the accounting work, specifically the bank reconciliations, processing invoices, and the general ledger entries for tax dispersment. He explained to the board that these tasks often take up a larger portion of his day and impede the other tasks that he needs to attend to. Choosing to have a third party help with the accounting will also allow for more independence and separation of duties, which is something the auditor notes every year. Clerk Farmerie noted that this type of work will possibly incur a larger expense. He suggests trying it for at least a year to see if the benefits outweigh the expenses. This type of help will free up time for Clerk Farmerie to work on other Village business. Mayor Tichy asked if Mrs. Folwell would be able to do the invoices. Clerk Farmerie stated that it would be challenging for her at this point, but it may be possible for her to do some of them. Mayor Tichy asked Clerk Farmerie to present the board with some formal proposals for the work.
Yard Waste Policy
Clerk Farmerie spoke to the board about forgoing the restrictions on yard waste amounts if there was a special weather event. Mayor Tichy suggested the board set guidelines for Clerk Farmerie and he could use those to decide when a special pickup, with no restrictions, could be done. The board discussed high-wind events, hurricanes, and ice storms. Mayor Tichy also suggested that if 10 or more households had large amounts of debris after a storm that could be the reason for a bulk cleanup. Mayor Pro Tem Isley suggested Clerk Farmerie speak with Chris Howell, of Freedom Junk Removal, about what constitutes a no-restriction pick-up. There was also some discussion about allowing residents to reach out to Mr. Howell for extra pick-up and pay him directly.
The Board opted to amend the yard waste ordinance for special pickups and send a notice out to residents with Mr. Howell’s contact information on it should they want to contact him directly.
Any further Board discussion on reviewing existing Village policies, additional reporting on existing operations, or short-term goal establishment?
Alderman Cheap noted that a pothole was developing at Birch and Hwy 62 that should be repaired before cold weather.
He also asked about who is responsible for trimming the low-hanging limbs and brush that is growing into the right-of-way on Alamance Baptist Loop Rd. Clerk Farmerie stated it is the Village responsibility to do that but he has held off trimming until the possible purchasing of the right of way has been done, to avoid upsetting any property owners. The actual right of way is still to be determined on Alamance Baptist Loop, Mr. Reich is looking into that currently.
A motion to Adjourn was made by Alderman Cheap, seconded by Alderman Hunt.