Stakeholder meetings resumed this week for rulemaking required by 2014 legislation after a year-plus hiatus. HB 894/S.L. 2014-41 Source Water Protection Planning mandated the development and implementation of source water protection (SWP) plans for "every supplier of water operating a public water system treating and furnishing water from surface supplies," and the state has been leading a stakeholder process to gather input.
The legislation was a response to two 2014 accidents that received national attention for their potential effect on drinking water supplies: the accidental release of 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol in West Virginia, and the coal ash spill into the Dan River. To date, SWP planning has occurred throughout the state on a voluntary basis and has followed a template recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The state views that the intent of HB 894 was to expand on this template, with particular emphasis on emergency response protocols.
The League has been an active participant in stakeholder meetings, and this week started the process of reviewing potential rule language. Although a timeline has not been determined, when drafting is concluded these rules will be adopted by the N.C. Commission for Public Health. More information on the rulemaking and stakeholder process can be found here. Contact: Sarah Collins
Municipalities and their police officers may want to prepare the public for a new bicycle law that will allow motorists to pass bicyclists in no-passing zones in certain circumstances and will toughen the penalties for aggressive motorists. The News & Observer reports that the new law, effective Oct. 1, will allow motorists to pass bicyclists in no-passing zones if they give the two-wheelers at least 4 feet of space, and if the bicyclist isn't turning left. Motorists caught driving aggressively around bicyclists may have to pay higher fines or could lose their license, the Raleigh newspaper reported.
Bicyclists also have new requirements under the law. For nighttime riding, effective Dec. 1, they'll have to add a red light to the rear of the bike or wear reflective clothing visible from a long distance. According to the newspaper, the updates are the result of conversations between bicyclists, police officers and other stakeholders. The changes are in a transportation package approved on the final day of the short session. Click here for the law's language.
Wal-Mart has sold off more than 40 of its former Wal-Mart Express stores to Dollar General in a deal that includes a dozen North Carolina locations. They include Broadway, Carthage, Coats, Foar Oaks, Liberty, Pikeville, Princeton, Red Springs, Richfield, Snow Hill, Stedman and Yanceyville, according to a Dollar General news release. The transaction spans 11 states. "Dollar General anticipates relocating 40 existing Dollar General stores into the purchased sites by October 2016 and entering one new market as part of the purchase," the company explained. "Terms of the transaction were not disclosed." Click here and here for news coverage.
In case you missed it, Episode Three of the Municipal Equation podcast offered plenty of authority and perspective on how municipalities can play a part in driving innovation locally. Click here to listen. Host Ben Brown talked with Christopher Gergen, leader of national learning collaborative Forward Cities and entrepreneurship group Forward Impact, about how cities and towns of any size can express their role in the entrepreneurship ecosystem for the benefit of local and state economies. This episode was fittingly recorded at Duke University's new downtown entrepreneurial space called the Bullpen. Don't miss it.
And how about a preview of Episode Four? Click here for a snippet. We discuss the concept of place, with plenty of takeaway for local government. The rundown: When you move from city to city, hoping for a better quality of life, what do you really expect? Has the city met those expectations? What's missing? And is there anything that you personally can do to better connect with your locale? These are questions that journalist and author Melody Warnick has pondered and researched extensively, resulting in a new book about place attachment and what individuals can do to make their own local experience the best it can be. "I think there are a lot of ramifications for municipal governments," Warnick tells us. Check out the preview, and stay tuned for the full episode, out Tuesday. Click here for all episodes and here for your free iTunes subscription.