Board of Commissioners Meeting Summary
Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017
The Hillsborough Board of Commissioners met Monday, Aug. 14, at the Town Barn, 101 E. Orange St. Following is a brief summary of noteworthy actions. It does not include all actions taken at the meeting and should not be viewed as official minutes.
Condemning of house
The board conducted a public hearing regarding a proposed ordinance to condemn the house at 319 W. Queen St. and to authorize the town to proceed with demolition. The property owner requested additional time to repair the house and to sell or rent it. Later in the meeting, the board voted to approve the demolition but to stay it provided that the following conditions are met at the planning director’s discretion:
- A tarp is placed on the roof within seven days.
- Permits for repair work are issued within 45 days.
- Repair work is completed within six months of the issuance of permits.
- The owner maintains yard and landscaping consistent with town ordinances.
Code violations have occurred at the house since 1996, and the house has not been occupied since about 2000. It was ruled as dilapidated following two hearings earlier this year, with town staff ordering the house demolished by July 31. No appeal was filed prior to that time.
Commercial waste collection
The board voted to extend the commercial solid waste franchise agreement with Waste Industries at the current pricing, terms and conditions. The current three-year agreement expires Sept. 30 and allows for two one-year extensions. This is the first extension.
Living Wage Day
The board approved a proclamation declaring Labor Day, Sept. 4, as Living Wage Day. The nonprofit organization Orange County Living Wage requested the proclamation and is planning a month-long campaign in September to encourage people to do business with living wage- certified employers. The Town of Hillsborough is one of 126 employers certified through a program developed in 2016 by Orange County.
Changes to water and sewer systems
The board approved revisions to the technical specifications for new water and sewer systems that become part of the town’s system. Some changes may slightly increase construction costs. Long-term operation and maintenance costs for the town will be reduced.
The board approved as a street or greenway event a half marathon and 5K that is expected to draw about 1,600 attendees on Oct. 1. The event, sponsored by the Hillsborough Running Club, is expected to start on Cameron Street near the Hillsborough Visitors Center, go through town via streets and the Riverwalk greenway, and end at River Park near the Farmers Market Pavilion. Setup is planned to start a 5 a.m., with the race expected to be conducted between 7 and 11 a.m. A celebration at River Park with food trucks and other vendors is expected to end at about 1:30 p.m. This will be the second consecutive year for the event. It is not expected to conflict with the general public’s use of the greenway due to event use during off-peak hours.
Event permits and park usage
The board discussed possible changes to event permits processing and the commercial use of town parks. This was a follow-up discussion from the June meeting. To decrease the number of event permits that require town board action, staff plans to bring to the board only permits that request sponsorship, have questionable impacts or have unique components.
Regarding growing commercial use of town parks and greenways by private companies and interests, staff informed the board that they have been operating under a policy that the use is OK if it is limited to a facility that can be and has been reserved. The fields at Gold and Cates Creek parks and the large shelter at Gold Park can be reserved. The dog park and the Riverwalk greenway are not reservable.
Staff asked the board if commercial use is acceptable in any manner and how much effort should be put toward enforcement. Most commercial uses are occurring without any inquiry to the town about acceptability. Amendments to the Code of Ordinances approved earlier this year prohibit merchandise sales in parks without a special event permit. The board discussed that some uses would have negligible impact on access to and maintenance of parks and greenways. They noted that a permitting process might be needed to ensure the town is aware of activities occurring and to recoup costs for activities that affect maintenance of facilities. Planning staff was directed to determine what uses are occurring and will return to the board with options for handing commercial use.
Water leak adjustments
The board discussed a recommendation from the Water and Sewer Advisory Committee to change the town’s policy on water leak adjustments, allowing adjustments of two consecutive bills over 24 months if evidence suggests a leak spanned multiple bills. The current policy allows one adjustment for a leak over 12 months. Billing and Collections Supervisor Jenny Overman recommended postponing discussion until the town has a new billing system in place within the next year as this would be the third change in the leak adjustments policy in five years.