Huntersville Board Agenda – November 18, 2019

The full agenda packet for tomorrow night’s town board meeting can be found here. Closed session pre-meeting at 5:00 to discuss personnel (a full hour of pre-meeting, that must mean the town board is finally getting an update on the internal investigation done at HPD by an outside agency… sure would be nice if us regular citizens could find out what’s all in the investigative report since it was paid for with our tax dollars), regular meeting starts at 6pm. It’s just a 114 page agenda packet for this meeting, but there is a lot that should be discussed.

Of note: This is the last full board meeting for Commissioners Phillips and Gibbons. I appreciate their service to the town over the past few years and their willingness to listen to my many, many, many complaints.

  • Item 8.A. – A public hearing being held at the request of a home builder to amend the town’s zoning ordinance to allow for more density in Highway Commercial districts. Town planning staff and the Ordinance Advisory Board (by a 7-1 vote against, including a vote in opposition by Commissioner Boone) are both opposed to the requested change. The request will next go to the Planning Board on Nov. 19. This is the perfect example of an item where the town board needs to question the premises being pushed by town staff in their “staff comments,” but since it’s just the public hearing don’t expect anyone on the town board to dig into this item enough to bother wasting time with questions. What the town board (or anyone from the public who actually has time to show up and speak during the public hearing) should be asking is a) how does town staff expect to make housing more affordable by building less of it, and b) why is town staff still making decisions based on a rail line that isn’t ever coming to Huntersville? Town staff uses the term “transit stations” instead of “proposed transit stations” or “possible transit stations” in their comments even though no actual transit stations exist, just hypothetical transit stations at three planned locations in Huntersville all based on a rail line that was sold to residents in Huntersville to justify a half-cent sales tax for transit options to benefit Charlotte.
  • Item 9.B. – Why exactly are the developers of the new Birkdale Golf Mixed Use project paying $362,208 to the town for a turn lane across town at Gilead/Beatties Ford? And someone tell me again about how developers don’t pay any impact fees in Huntersville?
  • Item 9.C. – Is $600K really the best offer the town could get for 2 acres of prime real estate at Gilead/US-115 next to Discovery Place Kids for a developer out of Cornelius to build a new multi-use project?
  • Item 10.C. – Just $300 in “financial implications for a greenway? Yes, this item is just related to the easement, but the town should really start being honest about how much greenway development and maintenance costs taxpayers.
  • Item 10.D. – Kudos to town staff on getting an interest rate reduction from First Community Bank on the note for HPD HQ, which will result in savings to the taxpayers of approx. $52,780.
  • Finally, Item 10.E. – An amendment to the town’s personnel policy to allow for a recruiting incentive program just for HPD. WHY IS THIS ITEM ON THE CONSENT AGENDA?? It is never appropriate to place items on the consent agenda if there are any questions about the item and if there are no questions about this item then your town board should be ashamed. Why not allow for a recruiting incentive program for all town departments – HPD isn’t the only department with vacancies. Is there just a typo in the amendment stating adopted 2018 on pg. 109/114 or is the town board trying to make this new policy retroactive to a year ago? Why is there no cap on the costs related to this program? Why is there no sunset provision for this program? Who will be responsible for oversight of this program to ensure no collusion or abuse occurs? How much will this ultimately cost taxpayers? If incentives are to be paid out of existing funds in the HPD budget, but this is a new program that wasn’t anticipated in preparation of the current HPD budget, does that mean HPD is over-budgeted and the town board needs to finally start cutting the HPD budget instead of letting it grow unabated every year??