Town Reduces Water Development Fees Due to $15m From State - TribPapers

Town Reduces Water Development Fees Due to $15m From State

Photo by Daniel Sinoca.

Weaverville – The Weaverville Town Council was able to reduce water system development fees at October’s monthly meeting because of the $15 million budget for their water expansion by the state.

Before the council lowered the development fees, they held two public hearings for the annexation of 492 Reems Creek Road for one acre of property belonging to Kathy Amos and an initial R-3 zoning for the property.

No one spoke during the hearings except Lou Accornero, a Weaverville developer, who was upset that his comments last month at the council meeting had not been recorded and broadcast in the council’s live coverage or in the posted YouTube video. Accornero, who has a couple of Main Street projects, said because of this, he had asked his architect to table all of his projects. When he finished his comments, he walked out.

The council then took on the consent agenda, which included police budget amendments for Cops for Kids, setting public hearings for annexation and initial zoning of several properties, including Reems Creek Village, 300 Hamburg Mtn Rd., and Northridge Farms, and a public hearing on the updated Comprehensive Land Use.

New water development fees in red. Table from Town of Weaverville.

Later in the meeting, Town Planner James Eller, in his quarterly report, told the council while building permits had been low during the period, the number of units to be built was the highest in the town’s history at 500 units. “It’s never happened before,” he told the council.

The consent agenda also contained a local water supply plan, an NC Department of Transportation encroachment agreement for the development at 171 Monticello Rd. for a sidewalk, and the approval of salary increases for the town manager ($5,000 to a total of $130,000) and town attorney ($5,000 to a total of $90,000) retroactive to the first of the town’s fiscal year, which began in July.

In her town manager’s report, Selena Coffey told the council that the demolition of the old playground equipment and the preparation for the new equipment at Lake Louise Park had been completed, and the new equipment installation would begin on November 6. She also said that the town had “met with Elevated Trail Design to begin the process of developing a trail system master plan for the Eller Cove Watershed property.” She expected it “to be completed by January or February” of next year.

Coffey also reported that, due to a death in Woodfin Water District Executive Director Brian Goldstein’s family, “we have not been able to meet to work on the Woodfin Emergency Water Memorandum of Agreement. She said an agreement with the Land of Sky Regional Council “to facilitate the short-term rental (STR) public engagement” with the public was now in place.

She said the Weaverville Fire Department had “submitted a grant request of $40,000 to Firehouse Subs to replace its water rescue equipment, adding that Battalion Chief Michael Hunter had been promoted to Deputy Fire Chief.

In an unexpected turn, the Weaverville Center for Creative & Healthy Living (WCCHL) is “anticipating dissolving their 501c3 status in October 2024 and turning over all operations to the town”, Coffey told the council. WCCHL runs most of the activities at the Community Center at Dottie Sherrill Knoll. Mayor Patrick Fitzsimmons said he plans to meet with Tom Balestrieri, head of WCCHL, about the matter. Coffey said Balestrieri had been picked for this year’s Grand Marshal of the Holiday Parade.

Discussion & Action Items

As mentioned, the town council voted to lower the Water System Development Fees because of the $15 million grant from the state. Town Attorney Jennifer Jackson said state law requires a review of the fees every five years.

Since the state has allowed $15 million for the system, the buy-in fees have been reduced, see table.

Public Works Director Dale Pennell reported that his department had selected an engineering firm for the waterline replacement project, Mattern & Craig, and was asking for authorization for a contract. The council passed the selection and approval for a contract.

Before hearing reports from finance and planning, the council was also asked by Pannell for a water commitment for 300 Hamburg Mountain Road. Councilman Andrew Nagle said the developer was getting ahead of the annexation, and the request should be upon annexation. Other council members agreed, including Jeff McKenna and Catherine Cordell. The motion was modified to reflect that the town would commit to supplying water upon annexation, and the motion passed.