Bailey creates advisory panel for museum zoning district

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BAILEY — Town commissioners voted unanimously Monday evening to create a citizen advisory board that will review and modify the Country Doctor Museum overlay to the town’s zoning ordinance.

The request to create the board comes after several homeowners who live within the museum zoning district asked the Bailey Planning Board for variances in order to make changes to their homes. The overlay prohibits the use of certain common materials such as vinyl or metal siding, specifies porch and driveway dimensions and stipulates the minimum number of trees and shrubs that must be planted.

“The zoning overlay is in place to protect the character of the neighborhood surrounding the Country Doctor Museum,” said planning board Chairman Walter Wells. “In looking at it, the planning board feels that the overlay is a little overbearing based on what’s in there after discussion with the residents who were at the meeting. They wanted to see what could be done to modify and make a difference that’s more compatible with the people living there but still provide the atmosphere the Country Doctor Museum is looking for.”

Wells said the advisory board would be composed of neighborhood residents, representatives from the museum and planning board members. A committee spent the past four years revising Bailey’s long-range plans, which include the overlay. Still, many in attendance at Monday’s meeting expressed frustration at what they felt was a lack of notice concerning the revisions.

“It was passed, and a lot of people in that district weren’t even aware of it,” said Commissioner Dwan Finch.

Town Administrator Timothy Johnson said the planning board had followed all guidelines regarding proper notice throughout the four-year period.

“Just like any time that they’ve met, it’s always been made public that they were meeting,” Johnson said. “Public hearing notices were put in the paper.

“The statute states that the only people you have to notify are the people with parcels that it affects. In this case, it’s the whole overlay.”

By a one-vote margin, commissioners decided to appoint Joel Killion to fill the seat vacated by Troy Conner, who resigned from the board in July after serving for 15 years. Mayor Thomas Richards broke the board tie in favor of Killion, who will be sworn in at next month’s meeting.

Commissioners also discussed next steps in terminating at least a portion of the town’s ongoing contract with Raleigh-based public works contractor Envirolink. Last month, the board voted to begin the termination process by sending a certified letter of complaint to the company. Envirolink has 30 days from the date in which it received the letter to formally respond.

Johnson said the deadline for Envirolink’s response is Sept. 24. The board has reached out to Envirolink about four possible dates to meet within the next two weeks.

In March 2012, Bailey officials voted to outsource public works operations to Envirolink, following the town of Spring Hope. Envirolink leases town equipment used to perform the work.

Envirolink, which has a service office in Bailey, offers “full-service water, wastewater and public works management services to over 100 municipal, county, industrial and private clients,” according to its website. No representative for Envirolink was present at Monday’s meeting.

“It’s like this — if you want to keep business, you have to show up,” said Commissioner Allen Daniels.

Following a closed session, the board approved hiring Steven Boraski as a part-time police officer at the rate of $11 per hour.