“It is important for us to understand that we cannot ban manufactured housing from the entirety of the jurisdiction.”
The councilmembers of the Town of Weaverville tackled three public hearings at their January meeting, which according to Mayor Al Root, is a record.
The three public hearings included a zoning text/map amendment with a manufactured home overlay for R-3 District, an annexation agreement with the Town of Woodfin, and a town charter amendment increasing the number of councilmembers and giving the mayor voting power. The only hearing drawing any public comment was the zoning test/map amendment.
Questions & concerns
About four or five residents had questions and concerns about the new overlay and questioned the town staff about their plans to implement the overlay. The overlay would considerably narrow where property owners could put manufactured home to only 13 tracts of land within the town limits. Most at the meeting who spoke said the town’s move had caught them unaware and most were confused by what was happening to their property and what the overlay would mean for their properties’ future.
In introducing the ordinance to the council and public in the Zoom meeting, Town Planner James Eller said, “Also, modular homes are regulated separately. They are basically treated as stick-built homes. With the text portion of the amendment is the removal of the ability to establish a manufactured home on an individual lot within the R-3 zoning…the overlay district property,…would have the ability to establish manufactured homes on an individual lot.”
The overlay would allow manufactured homes in three areas: along North Buncombe School Road and Red Cole Drive, Merrimon Ave and Coleman Hensley Drive. After some discussion, the public hearing was closed. The other two hearings received no public comment.
Next, the board approved the monthly tax report and several budget amendments under the consent agenda, including Coronavirus Relief Funds, Cops for Kids, the fire department, employee compensation, and community center capital project fund. The council also appointed Gene Knoefel to the town’s board of adjustment, replacing Sylvia Valois, who resigned.
In the town manager’s report, Town Manager Selena Coffey discussed several items, including the council budget calendar and revision to the holiday schedule to correct the Good Friday date. She also shared the town had been awarded the NCDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Planning and thanked Councilman Jeff McKenna for his assistance in gathering recommendation letters from the community.
Coffey then gave an update on a solar panel installation feasibility study from Sundance Solar for the water treatment plant expansion and community center projects. She has not heard back from them. She also reported that the engineering contract for the water treatment plant expansion had not been received from Withers-Ravenel. She finished up her report with information on electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. “Although I do not have firm information regarding the proposal for EV charging stations at the time of this monthly report, I will be able to report on this during the meeting,” adding she is learning more about these EV stations as she goes on.
The board next took up action and discussion items, the first being the changing of zoning of 16 Reems Creek Road from I-1 to R-3. Councilman Andrew Nagle recused himself since this was property owned by his in-laws. The council approved the change. They also approved the final plat for Northridge Commons Townhouses Project.
The board then took up a discussion of an LGBTQ ordinance. Councilman Patrick Fitzsimmons presented the topic to the board, stating the genesis of the ordinances that have been adopted by several towns in the eastern part of the state. He explained that there is protection for race, age, religion, etc, but not for LGBTQ members and would like to see the town enact such a law and would be willing to help draft the ordinance (see related article on page 1).
After some discussion among the staff and board and with one comment from a resident, the board, with the mayor’s direction, decided to wait and see what Buncombe County would do first.
The board then heard reports from planning and finance before dismissing the meeting.