Petition presented to Commissioners

Citizens express health and environmental concerns after fire

By Diane Blakemore -

PILOT MOUNTIAN — A petition was presented to the Pilot Mountain Board of Commissioners by Bert Meijboom addressing concerns that arose from the fire at the New River Tire Recycling facility.

The petition outlines requests including an emergency action plan, regular inspections of the facility, coordination of regulating entities, disclosure of all inspections to the public, and a fire suppression system in the building.

About 170 people signed the petition, according to Meijboom. “We hope that the board will take our requests seriously,” he said, adding that he would like to see a task force formed to follow through with the requests in the petition.

The board is working toward the purchase of replacement water meters by June 30 to maintain an agreement with Surry County to provide a third of the funding for the project. “We have asked the county for some additional time, but they have not responded to us yet,” said Boaz.

The commissioners expressed concern about funding the project. “I think it’s a great idea to start updating these meters, but to do all of them within one year is a great expense,” said Commissioner Gary Bell. Mayor Dwight Atkins noted that the town would need to borrow funds for the full project.

Based on a presentation by Andy Honeycutt, of MeterSYS, at the board retreat on March 2, the board voted in favor of entering a $6,495 contract with MeterSYS to create a prioritization assessment, solicit proposals, evaluate responses, assist with selection, and negotiate prices on new water meters for the town. “You are gathering more information, and I think that’s the important part of making a good decision,” said Boaz. The scope and timing of the project is yet to be decided.

Town planner Andy Goodall recommended an amendment to the zoning ordinance due to a request made by property owner Raj Patel. “When (the previous owner) subdivided the lot illegally and made the property line too close to the buildings, they created the hardship,” Goodall said, explaining that the buildings are currently out of compliance. The property zoning ordinance set backs for general business would be reduced from 15 feet to 0-3 feet. After a public hearing, the new ordinance passed unanimously.

Ordinance re-codification was recommended by Interim Town Manager Michael Boaz. Two proposals were presented, allowing the ordinances to be aligned and made easier to search with public online access. “They’re going to make suggestions about things you should repeal; they’re going to make suggestions about things you should adopt,” said Boaz, noting that zoning and subdivision ordinances are not included in this project. Splitting the cost between two fiscal years, the board voted to enter an agreement with MuniCode.

Ron Niland, of All American Associates, reported that the greenway committee met to move forward with the Depot Street project. “We are going to start working on the right-of-ways to get the downtown section of this project going, and begin re-applying for the additional sections of the money,” said Niland, giving a timeline of 30-60 days. The master plan includes a complete trail system in Pilot Mountain connecting the town to the state park.

A potential renter for the vacant space in The Pilot Center has come forward. “I’m working on some different options,” said Boaz, noting that the interested party may want to divide the space.

Diane Blakemore may be reached at 336-368-2222 or on twitter @PilotReporter.

Citizens express health and environmental concerns after fire

By Diane Blakemore

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