Asphalt Mixing Plant

Dr. Garry Cooper

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Mitchell County Commissioners
Minutes, Regular Session
February 4, 2008


The Mitchell County Board of Commissioners met in regular session on February 4, 2008 at 6:00 p.m. in the Commissioner’s Conference Room, Administration Building, Bakersville, NC.  Those present for the meeting were Lisa Sparks, Chair; Phil Byrd, Vice-Chairman; Mike Hensley, Member; Patrick Phillips, Member; Jim Saylor, Member; Charles Vines, County Manager and Kathy Young, Clerk to the Board.  Also present were Hal Harrison, County Attorney; Mavis Parsley, Finance Officer and Jonathan Robbins, Reporter with the Mitchell News-Journal.

  1. CALL TO ORDER – Chairman Sparks called the meeting to order at 6:00 p.m.

  2. INVOCATION – Commissioner Byrd gave the invocation.



  5. ADOPTION OF AGENDA – Commissioner Byrd moved to adopt the agenda. Commissioner Hensley seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.


  7. PUBLIC COMMENTS - Dr. Carroll stated they he and another person had worked on this item together; he added he hadn’t been to the last couple of meetings, but stated he wanted to follow up with what Mitchell County Citizens for clean air have been working on.  He relayed they had been talking about the best way to approach the issue of the asphalt plant in Spruce Pine since the air permit was approved by the state, adding he thought there were some ways the Board could help to eliminate the negative consequences of a plant going in. He stated should it go in they have come up with a resolution, which is safer fuel use at the Chalk Mountain Plant.  He stated if it would please the Board he would be happy to read it.

    Commissioner Sparks relayed to him that it was okay to do so.

    Dr. Carroll began to read the following: Whereas, Young & McQueen Grading Company has been issued an air permit and air pollution permit drawn up by the State of North Carolina Division of Air Quality for a new Asphalt Mixing Plant on Chalk Mountain in Spruce Pine. This permit allows them to use either #2 or #4 Diesel Fuel Oil, virgin or recycled as a heat source for most of the plant; and whereas, the combustion of diesel fuel oil submits harmful odor, which cause respiratory disease, asthma and lung cancer; and whereas, the plant owner has publicly stated that the aggregate dryer, which is the strongest single combustion unit on site, cannot burn #4 fuel oil, that you would consider removing the #4 and the recycled fuels from the permit; and you did not do that at the time the permit was issued; and Whereas Young &  McQueen did not apply to you weather it was propane or natural gas for the aggregate dryer and you could easily get permission from VAQ to do so; and whereas, the permit states the permitee shall not operate the facility without implementing management practices or installing or operating odor equipment sufficient to prevent odor submissions from the facility causing or related to subjectable odors from the facilities boundary; and whereas, natural gas burns cleaner than fuel oil, emitting significantly lower amounts of hydrogen oxide and particulates virtually no odorous sulfur admissions and no mercury; and whereas, to limit pollution in air quality of the North Carolina Division permit requires Young & McQueen Grading Company to only use natural gas or propane to fuel certain parts of the asphalt manufacturing equipment (that doesn’t include the aggregate dryer); and whereas, natural gas is an American energy source, the US imports 61% of it’s oil, but 99% of the natural gas the US originates in North America; and whereas, Mitchell County is charged by the State of North Carolina protection of public health; therefore we call on Young & McQueen Grading company to pledge that in the interest of  protecting public health, will pledge to you only natural gas or propane to fuel all heating units of this Asphalt Grading Manufacturing Plant equipment; including, the aggregate dryer at Chalk Mountain. Dr. Carroll then stated he hoped the Board would adopt this resolution and that they were being asked to do that.  He stated the majority of the harmful emissions to come from the Asphalt itself and if we adopt this, it will not eliminate that particular problem, but it would decrease some of the sulfur oxides that as the rock starts melting that comes from burning fuel oil; also, a lot of the particulate matter, basically the diesel fumes from burning fuel oil so this would be a preferable thing for the people that live in that area.  He stated as he understood it, there is not direct access to natural gas at the site, but there is a line that goes close to that site (that would seem logical to him, although he hasn’t talked with anyone about this.) that if Piedmont Natural Gas wanted to make more money it would be good to get that line out to the site.  He stated that certainly they would not be saying that they had to have this out to the place before they could operate, but we would want them to be actively working on getting that up and going as soon as possible so that once the plant is up in operation they will have access to the natural gas.  He asked Lori if she had anything to add and when she didn’t, he thanked the Board and stated that was pretty much what he had to say and he appreciated their time and them listening to him.

    Don Cooper - handed copies to the Board and gave one to the Recording Secretary. He began by stating he was sure that everyone here was aware of the cause of the asphalt plant proposal that an organization called Mitchell County Citizens for Clean Air had formed. He stated he would read the information, which was accurate and wished everyone present could have a copy. He read the following: On behalf of the Mitchell County Citizens for clean air and we are presenting to you as Mitchell County Commissioners and everyone in the general public that may be interested in this announcement: For continuing concern of extreme health hazard, the proposed location of the Young & McQueen Asphalt Plant on Chalk Mountain that in the event the Asphalt Plant is built and put into operation, NCCCA tends to do unannounced periodic sampling of the air admitted downwind from the plant. If at any time the admissions exceed the air quality stipulations in their permit. NCCCA will go through the proper channels to alert the EPA of the violations.  He stated he had given the Board copies and made his general “like it all” comments from this stand point.

    Daniel Barron - began by giving an update on the library, he stated he had a couple of things and he had asked Kathy Young to hand out some of the materials.  He stated in keeping with our effort to be a part of the Economic Development Plan in the county, in fact all three counties.  He stated they had looked at several different options and one of those options is that they are collaborating with the Economic Security Commission.  He added he was sure the Board was aware of the job link sites that are around and called access points, stating that all four of the libraries are now access points.  He stated they didn’t have the labels or the signs yet, but all the librarians have gone through the training to be able to help people who are looking for jobs to use the access databases that are there.  He stated he had given them one copy of the job link to remind you of what we are doing; also, one of the things is that the Economic Security Commission likes to know what we plan to do and the staff at the library are there and there’s several young families that come into them and their searching without a waiting room or much of anything to do, so the kids will be able to go into the children’s room to look at books and things like that, to encourage them to read.  He stated they were also going to set aside a shelf for self-help resume writing and how to succeed in business, how to please an individual going into a job interview, etc.  He stated they were very happy with what they were doing and so they are working together on that to make it happen.  He also stated they had applied for, and have been given permission to be a cooperative collection foundation center (he told them they had double-sided sheet to look at and they could look at it a little bit later).  He stated he would briefly tell the Board that the Foundation Center or database is the premier service in the nation to help people find foundation support and grant support.  He stated they have the database available and only can have it in one location; otherwise it would cost them over four thousand dollars a year. He stated they had decided that Spruce Pine Public Library is the most central location for the three counties and we are going to conduct workshops in all four of the libraries for non-profit organizations and individuals who are interested in learning how to write grants; on using the data base and all the library while their going through the training, even though you can only access the online data base at the Spruce Pine Library; all the librarians will go through the training so they’ll know how to tell people what to go and look for.  He stated in addition to the data base that’s there, there are about four-thousand dollars worth of materials available; the closest collection of this nature is Asheville and the next is Johnson City.  He stated the most important thing was that they had a relation with the foundation center that they can send people down here for workshop training and we also will have the workshop training and we can call them up for a ready reference if they need it.  He shared that they wouldn’t write the grants for people, but would help them find the right grant sources and with critiquing their project   He stated they felt this was one of the ways the libraries can be of use to the Economic Development Foundation.  He stated the other things were just for fun like participating in the “Big Read” this spring. He stated the Mitchell County Historical Society and a couple of local book clubs would participate and we’re asking the newspapers to announce the book discussion. He stated they wanted to encourage people to come out and participate in this and also, two; they will be doing an adult version of the book and a middle school version, which is Gloria Houston’s book “Little Jim.”  He stated that Gloria Houston had adopted us in many different ways.  He shared that another thing was the “Book Trails Newsletter” that he had just given out was another real interest in the Economic Development for the county, Yancey and Avery County. He stated Mitchell County was beginning to cooperate and that Avery County is beginning to work on their “Book Trails,” adding that he does believe this will be another important part of the Economic Development Plan.  He stated all the libraries are going to have a square commemorating their first librarian. He asked if there were any questions.

    Commissioner Byrd asked Daniel when he thought the signs would be out about access.

    Daniel stated that Rebecca Bloomfest is the person who liked the project so much that she is giving us four lap top computers, one for each library so people can go around (all our libraries are wireless as you know) and so they can be anywhere in the building and use that.  He stated they hoped to have it up in the middle of January, but it will be up for sure in the middle of February (they want to be sure and get the signs out).  He shared the Foundation Center, we already have the access point and know all the passwords and everything, but we want to be sure we are up to speed before we announce anything.  He added he would let them know with announced workshops in Bakersville, Spruce Pine, Newland and Burnsville.

    Commissioner Sparks asked if there were any more questions.

    Commissioner Sparks then asked the Commissioners if they would like to comment on any of the public comments.  When no one responded she stated she had a comment.  She stated that she knew everyone’s concerns about the asphalt Plant and currently one of the things that has been discussed is if the asphalt plant will be monitored.  She stated that it would be, closely, and stated that Chuck Vines was beginning to work closely with Young & McQueen and what it will consist of.  She stated the only thing they have now at this time is a permit, which tells them what they can and cannot do.  She stated as she did before they did not have a copy of their plans at this time; this process could take two years, we don’t know.  She stated there will be things reviewed on it, when they have a copy and that they would be requesting things from Young & McQueen to make sure we have a safe plant; if we’re going to have it, it needs to be safe and very closely monitored.  She stated at this point that is why they are working on it so don’t think that we have thrown our hands up in the air saying “Well were going to build it and we’re done,” cause that’s not the case.

    Don Cooper asked about it being closely monitored and asked if that meant by air control and with regular checkups.

    Commissioner Sparks stated she didn’t know what their plans were and wasn’t exactly sure how this would be handled as far as the monitoring goes.

    She stated one of the things she would like to see happen would be at least to have air testing done once a month. She stated she thought that was important.

    A lady from the audience asked Commissioner Sparks how she felt about asking Young & McQueen not to use the #4 fuel at the plant.

    Commissioner Sparks stated that they have a permit and right now at this point, we do not know exactly what kind of facility they are going to build and what their plans are. She stated that they are just now starting the engineering process, so she really couldn’t answer her question on that.  She stated there are still a lot of things as a Board that they need to work together on and she would like to be able to do that right now, but she can’t.  She stated again that they were probably looking at two years and another thing is the asphalt plant from her understanding probably doesn’t operate in the winter, and probably can’t operate in the winter; it will be a summertime plant when it’s done.  She stated it was something that they as a Board would have to monitor and figure out how to do it and stated again that right now she couldn’t give anyone a definite on how this would be handled.

  8. CLOSED SESSION –  Commissioner Phillips moved to enter  into  Closed
    Session in accordance with NC GS 143-318.11(4) & (6).   (4) Which reads as follows:  to discuss matters relating to the location or expansion of industries or other businesses in the area served by the public body, including agreement on a tentative list of economic development incentives that may be offered by the public body in negotiations. The action approving the signing of an economic development contract or commitment, or the action authorizing the payment of economic development expenditures, shall be taken in an open session and (6) which reads as follows:  to consider the qualifications, competence, performance, character, fitness, conditions of appointment, or conditions of initial employment of an individual public officer or employee or prospective public officer or employee; or to hear or investigate a complaint, charge, or grievance by or against an individual public officer or employee. General personnel policy issues may not be considered in a closed session. A public body may not consider the qualifications, competence, performance, character, fitness, appointment, or removal of a member of the public body or another body and may not consider or fill a vacancy among its own membership except in an open meeting. Final action making an appointment or discharge or removal by a public body having final authority for the appointment or discharge or removal shall be taken in an open meeting.  Commissioner Hensley seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

    Commissioner Hensley moved to go out of Closed Session.  Commissioner Byrd seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

    Closed Session was held from 6:20 p.m. until 6:55 p.m.

    Commissioner Hensley moved to increase County Manager Vines salary  $62,000 in accordance with the Pay Plan.  Commissioner Phillips seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.


    1. Dr. Garry Cooper – Proposed Change in Scope of Work
      County Manager Vines stated that he had an attached copy of the book study of Dr. Cooper’s proposal for a change in scope of work for contact planning activities in this county so they can make the proposed change would make the results in all meetings conducted in Mitchell County.  He added that these meetings are very clearly expressed with a strong desire for action planning. The original scope of work anticipated that action plans is a follow-up step outside of the original scope work planned for the activities. He read that the strong desire expressed by participants to more quickly engage in action planning suggests that a solid base already exists and will support action planning and currencies to include those to be proposed.  Dr. Cooper has modified the original scope of work, which still includes some setting the table activities to also include future search action planning activities.  He continued that there is an additional cost of $2,000 to accommodate these changes; Dr. Cooper from Appalachian State is with us tonight and he will be glad to answer any questions or make a statement as to the purpose of the changes in the scope of work.

      A copy of Dr. Cooper’s proposed change in scope of work is  hereby attached as part of the minutes.

      Commissioner Hensley moved not to approve the proposed change in scope of work.  Commissioner Saylor seconded the motion and it carried 4 to 1.  Chairman Sparks opposed the motion.

  10. CONSENT AGENDA –  Commissioner Byrd moved to approve  the Consent
    Agenda items as presented (copies of the Consent Agenda items are hereby   attached and becomes part of the minutes). Commissioner Hensley seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

    • Driveway Easement
    • Proposal for Geotechnical Exploration – Bunnell Lammons
    • Pandemic Influenza Plan – Toe River Health District
    • Budget Revision for Home & Community Care Block Grant
    • W.A.M.Y. Community Services Block Grant
    • Southern Software Annual Support Agreements


    1. Special Meeting on February 6, 2008 at 8:30 a.m.


  13. ADJOURNMENT – Commissioner Byrd moved to adjourn the meeting. Commissioner Phillips seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

    The meeting adjourned at 7:15 p.m.