Council Ends Year With No Decision On Maple Trace Annexation - TribPapers

Council Ends Year With No Decision On Maple Trace Annexation

Maple Trace development's entrance has a festive look for the holiday but whether the Town of Weaverville will accept them and their streets into the town remains to be seen. Photo by Clint Parker

Weaverville – The Weaverville Town Council approved the Monday evening (Dec 18) agenda, and the last meeting of 2023 got underway. They passed the consent agenda, including the monthly tax report and request for refunds and releases, budget amendments for the Police for the Cops for Kids program that raised nearly $10,000 this year, made board appointments, set a public hearing on code amendments on Jan. 22 at 6 pm, and adopted the new Code of Ethics.

Town Manager Selena Coffey reviewed her monthly report and reminded council members “to provide your assessment checklist to me by January 1, for us to begin preparation for the January 20 Strategic Planning retreat.”

She also updated the members on the Short-Term Rentals (STRs) Listening Sessions, saying that sessions began with a December 5 meeting with approximately 70 people in attendance. The next sessions are as follows:

“Session B – Focus Group/Listening Session for neighborhoods with at least one STR and no declaration of covenants restricting the establishment of STRs: Tuesday, January 9, at 6 pm at town hall

Session C – Virtual facilitated listening session for STR owners: Wednesday, January 17 at 6 pm via Zoom.”

Coffey said the town would be very strict on who can speak at these sessions, as they all have different aspects, with the first being for the public, and the next for neighbors living near STRs, and the last for owners of STRs.

She also informed the board of the replacement of two bridges at the New Stock Road Exit by the Department Of Transportation (DOT). The NCDOT has contacted “staff regarding their next significant I-26 project in our area, which is the replacement of the two bridges at the New Stock Road exit. This will also include improvements for the exit and entrance ramps and changes on Merrimon Avenue at the intersection.”

Coffey also wants to use surplus funds from the street improvement project to do concrete curbing. Councilwoman Michele Wood asked if some of that curbing had not already begun. Coffey had confirmed that it had.

No one spoke during public comments, so the council went right into a discussion and action items, with the first being approval of a water commitment request from Northridge Farms for “27,200 gallons per day off of a new 8-inch water line to serve 568 residential dwelling units comprised of the following buildings: 50 duplexes, 11 apartment buildings, and 172 single family lots and townhomes.” It passed.

Next was an item that had been before the council before, which was the annexation petition for Maple Trace. This was an update and discussion opened by David King of Maple Trace, who praised Town Attorney Jennifer Jackson for her assistance. However, King said the core drilling sampling asked for by the town was far in excess of what the town needed to include their road system into that of the town. He said Buncombe County would speak on behalf of the  Maple Traces’ request for a more reasonable approach.

Vice Mayor Catherine Cordell asked if King was still in contact with the developer. He said yes and has documents. Fitzsimmons asked if there were any core samples from the road. Coffey said the county does not inspect roads. Councilwoman Michele Wood asked, if the town were to annex, if they would have to accept the roads. Cordell said no, but that would defeat why the owners were asked for the annexation.

It was determined that the roads would have been built to state DOT standards, which are less rigorous than the town standards. Councilman John Chase asked about a non-destructive test on the road. Kings said they asked, but the quote for a non-destructive test was higher than drilling cores.

Councilman Doug Jackson asked about the number of samples that engineers recommended. Weaverville Town Public Works Director Dale Pennell, an engineer himself, said it was the same for all roads looking for acceptance into the town system. Pennell said he was trying to represent the town in the matter.

Chase asked if Pennell’s visual inspection showed that the road was not performing as expected. Pennell, while taking a long answer for the council, said the short answer was that he could not recommend the roads until testing was done.

After an extensive further discussion, the council asked if there was a way to annex with taking the road, and Attorney Jackson said yes, but that the homeowner association wanted the roads taken in. Coffey said she was concerned about the precedent it would set if a different standard were used to take in the roads than what the town used for other roads. The board agreed to table any action until February to see what Pennell and King could ascertain.

Sara Myers gave the Community Center at Dottie Sherrill Knoll Annual Report. Myers said the Multipurpose Room had been rented 162 times for $11,847.50 and the Albert Weaver Room 175 times for $41,710.00. Add on the other rentals, and the total revenue from rental income was $64,523.50. Councilman Jackson said that it appears there is “high utilization of the new community center. “It is mind-boggling,” said Myers. Cordell said it was due to low rental rates, and Coffey said that was going to be addressed in some new fees coming out. “You will see that in the budget.”

The talk centered around a comparison to the Woodfin Community Center, where someone said no one wanted to hold their wedding there. Councilman Jackson asked if anyone had been there, followed up by, “I suggest you wouldn’t.” Myers also confirmed that the Lake Louise Playground is now open, and the recreation complex is moving forward.

The council ended their meeting by passing changes to the personnel policy and hearing from Pennell for a quarterly report on the Public Works and Water.