Civic

Town Votes to Remove Moratorium

Map shows areas in the town suitable for the Mountain Village Zoning District.

WoodfinEditor’s note: This is the second part of an article that began last week. 

After undertaking a contentious re-zoning appeal (see last week’s issue for the story), which took up nearly half their December meeting, Woodfin Commissioners moved on to other business.

Woodfin Police Chief Michael Dykes addressed the board about a grant application. The grant is a non-matching grant for up to 24,500, to be used to purchase seven new radios for the department’s police vehicles. The board approved the chief to apply for the grant. 

The board next approved a budget amendment for hiring two police sergeants, which will not increase the current year’s budget. The increase in appropriations is offset by reductions in budgetary contingency and decreases to other allocations.

Then, Adrienne Isenhower, the town’s planner, presented the board with a sufficiency certificate for a 13-acre tract of land requesting a voluntary annexation into the town by Paul May of Leicester. The parcel is located across the French Broad River from the Silver-Line Plastic facility. The board voted to hold a public hearing at their January meeting on the request.

The commissioners then took up a public hearing for an amendment to the Mountain Village Zoning District’s text. The zoning district had been under a moratorium for most of the year. Among the changes recommended to the zoning district by Isenhower were allowing eight units per acre instead of 17; conditional uses such as cottage clusters and group development; performance guarantees for multi-family and mixed-use projects and changed and added definitions within the ordinance. 

“You have specific areas in Woodfin that you would say would be good for the Mountain Village,” said Isenhower. The areas include about 11 sections of land. Isenhower said this new ordinance would be more in line with what Woodfin wants in future development.

During the public hearing, no one spoke and the board voted unanimously to approve the new amendment. The commissioners then unanimously voted to lift the moratorium which had been in place. 

Reports

Under the police report, the board heard that yet another police officer is resigning from the force and law enforcement in general. Dykes said they would start an immediate search for a suitable replacement. 

In his administrator’s report, Woodfin Town Administrator Eric Hardy said that the town’s financial position looked good, with about 31.4% of the yearly budget spent through December 12. He also said that sales and use tax was better than they had budgeted. The town’s budget only accounted for $539,500 for the entire fiscal year. During the first four months of the year, $437,548 or 81% of that came in for the town. Hardy also said the town is looking at replacing the current green signs for the town’s streets with blue signs. This will help the public differentiate town maintained roads from roads maintained by the state, which are also green.

Greenway and Blueway Update

Hardy updated the board about progress on the greenway/blueway project as well as the Silver-Line Park. He said RiverLink was working on a Communication Plan and naming rights policy and that the first round of bond sales had closed. He added he wants to talk to the commissioners in January about a Parks Advisory Committee. 

Moving on to the Silver-Line Park, Hardy said that the project is about one to two months behind schedule due in part to the contractor and some re-engineering. According to the Army Corp of Engineers, work on the park’s riverbank will require a cofferdam solution.

Commission Ronnie Lunsford asked why the need for a cofferdam was just now coming up? Commissioner Debbie Geizentanner said nothing was said about it in the first letter from the Army Corp of Engineers and asked to see the correspondence. Lundsford said he hadn’t seen any cofferdams used by the City of Asheville with their construction along the riverbank.

The expansion work on Riverside Park has been published for contractors’ qualifications to do the work, said Hardy. He is working on setting up a selection team that will help choose a contractor. The preliminary design’s greenways project contract is pending, and Hardy said the best-case scenario is construction being in the Fall of 2021. He is also working with RiverLink on a grant for stream restoration for Beaver Dam Creek.

The board then voted to go into a closed session for legal and personal matters.