Town Gets $15M From State For Expansion - TribPapers

Town Gets $15M From State For Expansion

Northridge Farms wants their 500 plus units to be annexed by Weaverville along with their 88 plus acres. Drawing courtesy of Town of Weaverville.

Weaverville – Mayor Patrick Fitzsimons wasted no time Monday night [Sept. 25th] at the Weaverville Council’s monthly meeting, announcing that the state had included in their budget $15 million to help Weaverville with its water plant expansion. That was one of two big announcements, the other being a 586-unit development that is asking to be annexed into the town.

“Congratulations to all of us. That means we don’t have to go in debt for 40 years to build a water plant,” Fitzsimons told those gathered. He followed that announcement up with the announcement that Weaverville will be the “…first municipality in the state, and we think in the South, to have an all clean energy police fleet with the arrival of our two new electric Mustang vehicles. Once they are on the street, we will retire our remaining traditional vehicles, and our fleet will be all EVs and hybrids,” he told the Tribune. “This is our effort to build a clean energy police fleet.”

He then recognized a moment of silence for Dottie Sherrill, who passed away last week. Sherrill was a town elected official for 32 consecutive years.

He then turned the meeting over to Town Manager Selena Coffey to cover the consent agenda, which included a waterline acceptance for Palisades development, renewal of the Tailgate Market Memorandum of Understanding, an authorization of fireworks for the 2024 Fourth of July Celebration, and a voluntary annexation petition of 492 Reems Creek Rd. with a public hearing was set for October 23rd. The consent agenda passed.

Coffey then gave her monthly manager’s report, starting with the town’s Strategic Planning Retreat set for Saturday, January 20th, 2024, from 9 am to 1 pm at the town hall. She then updated the council on “a flurry of activity at Lake Louise. “We are currently dismantling the old playground equipment to make way for the new. Further up the hill, you will see that the land is being graded for the home of our new recreation complex!”

Her final item was an update on the Active Weaverville Committee.
“I believe we now have enough folks to make up the Active Weaverville Bike-Plan Steering Committee. Below is the current participants: Jeff McKenna, Rachael Bronson, Dale Pennell, Ron Davis, Robin Payne, Andrew Garrard, and Mark Endries.

She then addressed questions she had received as to why there was a change in the name of the Christmas Parade to the Holiday Parade. Coffey said it was at the direction of the mayor. Fitzsimmons said, “And we’re trying very hard to be inclusive.”

Councilman Andrew Nagle wanted to know who made the decision. Coffey told the mayor. “It wasn’t us [the council]. OK, I just wanted to be clear,” responded Nagle.

Then came public comment, where Weaverville landowner Lou Accornero spoke, telling the council that he had invested in Weaverville for a long time and continues to invest. He said some of the business owners are saying the town is beginning to be more like Asheville. He said he didn’t understand, and then the owners told him it was coming from town hall. He then charged all the council with the responsibility to make sure that this goes away (see editor’s note). 

Under discussion and action items

Councilman Nagle asked that the Planning Board Liaison position, which he is in, be dissolved. Town Attorney Jennifer Jackson agreed with Nagle. The council voted to do away with the position. 

In two separate voluntary annexation petitions, one at Reems Creek Village on four recombination areas and one at 300 Hamburg Mountain Rd., the council quickly passed Reems Creek Village. Nagle had questions about the number of lots (35) being developed for the nearly 10 acres on Hamburg Mountain Rd., but it also passed. 

In what Town Attorney Jackson called the “more complicated” of the voluntary annexation petitions on the meeting’s agenda, developers of Northridge Farms asked for their 88-plus acres located in the Gill Branch valley (south of the Northridge Commons shopping center) to be annexed into the Town of Weaverville.

Buncombe County has approved the Northridge Farms development, which consists of approximately 568 dwelling units in a variety of housing types and styles, including apartments, townhouses, small-lot single-family residences, and traditional single-family residences. The petitioners are claiming vested rights to develop the properties in accordance with the attached Buncombe County-issued Special Use Permit and related approved master site plan. The town will need to provide a zoning designation for the properties even though vested rights are claimed.

Jackson said it would take time to develop a report and asked for until November to complete it. The developer, Travis Fowler, fielded some questions from the council along with Town Planner James Eller and Police Chief Ron Davis—the council voted to move the process along to annex the property.

The council then awarded a paving contract to French Broad Paving out of Marshall, NC, with a bid total of $1,391,104.50. The contract includes 10 roads in the town.

Editor’s note: The reporter could not make it to the meeting and had to watch the meeting video on Accornero’s remarks were muted from the video. His comments and no sounds from the meeting could not be heard while he spoke. Accornero had to be called to find out what he said. Manager Selena Coffey was asked about this and said, “Staff did learn that the podium mic was off and corrected it during the meeting, but it may have been after Lou spoke.”