Civic

Woodfin Approves Park Expansion Plans

The revised plan for Woodfin’s Riverside Park expansion.

Woodfin – The Woodfin Town Commissioners adopted a revised master plan for the Riverside Park Expansion Tuesday night (April 20th) during their regular monthly meeting. 

Equinox Environmental had submitted the original plan last July but resubmitted the update following input from the town’s residents.

The town received “additional survey, additional comments, and feedback from the public and that was incorporated back into the master plan document,” noted Hardy before the board voted to adopt the revised version of the plan. 

Some of the suggestions from the public included: generous capacity for parking, integration of the greenway back into the park and centralizing bathrooms/changing rooms. After reading emails during the public comment section from those opposed to The Bluff’s project adjacent to Richmond Hills, the commissioners voted.

Several of the emails cited the disparaging “scumbags” remark made by someone on the project’s team at the last Woodfin Planning and Zoning meeting. 

One of the board members, during the proceedings, incited the remark. They were removed for prematurely voicing their disapproval on the height variance request.

Developer John Holdsworth and his traffic engineer attended the commissioner meeting. Holdsworth was present to update the board on the status of the bridge planned for the development. Although they did not say anything during the regular session, Holdsworth and Traffic Engineer Jeff Moore stayed for the executive meeting which was closed to the general public.

Other agenda items

The board also heard from Woodfin ABC Chairman Tom Spradling. Spradling said sales for March were down 13 percent from last March. Since 2019 to the onset of the COVID pandemic sales had risen sharply by 63 percent. He also announced that construction on the expansion of the ABC store would begin in three to four weeks.

Commissioners also approved a $400,000 grant application from the Parks and Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) that had been submitted by Linda Giltz on the town’s behalf. Giltz, a community planner, facilitator, and project manager, said the town would have to match the funding. Since the town promised $1.16 million toward the $2.4 million project, she saw no foreseeable issues meeting this requirement. 

The next two items on the new business agenda were also about the greenway. The board passed a budget amendment for  reducing the current cost of the greenway/blueway project from $9.8 million to $8.8 million while still leaving a $3.6 million shortfall looming in the budget. Hardy said he expects future budget amendments. The board also adopted a naming rights policy for the town property, which will be based on monetary and non-monetary contributions to the town.

Before hearing department reports and going into executive session, Commissioners, attended to a public hearing on rezoning three pieces of property along Riverside Drive from industrial (H-1) to community shopping (CS). The three addresses include 838, 840, and 860 Riverside Drive. UNC-A plans to use one of those addresses for additional classrooms but because of COVID protocols, the vote will not take place until the May 4th Planning meeting.

In the police report, Woodfin Police Chief Michael Dykes said the department had joined a local agreement with area police departments to help with staffing shortages if the need arises to subdue protests
or riots.

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