March Meeting Tackles Numerous Issues - TribPapers

March Meeting Tackles Numerous Issues

What was suppose to be an added benefit of the town's recreation plan as become a noisy and expensive problem to solve. Photo by Paul King.

Weaverville – The March Weaverville Town Council meeting started with three public hearings on annexation and R-3 zoning for 6 and 9 Pleasant Grove Road and a public hearing for code amendments to environmental regulations. No one spoke at any of the public hearings.

The council then passed the agenda for the evening without any changes. The consent agenda, presented by Town Manager Selena Coffey, included the approval of an audit contract with Gould Killian CPA and a renewal of water commitment for 480 Reems Creek Road. 

Coffey then presented her manager’s report, starting with the budget process update, which she said she would present at the next budget workshop on Tuesday, April 16. She also said representatives of the Weaverville Police Department met with representatives from the NC Department Of Transportation to discuss the grant request for RRFBs (rectangular rapid flashing beacons), and there “were many complications identified in the grant request.” The like-mindedness was “that deploying an RRFB at only one site would not be recommended since it may further complicate the interactions between drivers and pedestrians,” which led to the “plan for RRFBs” to be “temporarily suspended” to “explore other options.”

Coffey similarly updated the council on efforts to reduce noise for the new pickleball courts, saying Public Works has ordered 40 trees and received 41 acoustic panels, and had begun the installation of 10 panels on
Court B. “This will be the first step in addressing concerns about noise from the courts from neighbors that live on Lakeshore Drive and Metcalf Drive.” Councilman Doug Jackson asked how much the noise reduction is costing the town and was told about $10,000 for the panels and about $10,000 for the trees, not counting public works time in planting them.

A plan to reactive the tree board would have to wait until April as the town only received a couple of applications, Coffey told the board before going into an update on the strategic plan, where she said Councilman Lawrence has offered his assistance in this process.

She then briefed the council on the grant application for the County Open Space Bond for Passive Recreation Lands. She said the staff had been meeting weekly with Mark Endries and Byron Hamstead to complete the application for funding the Eller Cove watershed trail system through the Buncombe County Open Space Bond for Passive Recreation Land. 

She finished her report with recent meetings between the town and the Weaverville Business Association (WBA) regarding Music on Main and collaborating with the WBA on many issues, including Music on Main and an application for the Cybersecurity and IT Assessment Program Grant.
under the ARP grant funding program. She ended on an Invasive Species and Live Staking Workshop sponsored by RiverLink, Land of Sky Regional
Council and the Town of Weaverville resulted in 21 people showing up Saturday to remove a large amount of invasive material by the lower bridge near the permanent pavilion foundation in the meadow. 

After her report, Mayor Patrick Fitsimmon opened a public comment, in which only resident Bo Plat spoke about raises for town employees. 

Then came action and discussion items, where Kayla DiCristina, a regional planner with Land Of Sky Regional Council, gave a presentation on the findings of the town’s Short-Term Rental (STR) listening session. DiCristina. While she gave about a 20-minute presentation, the results of the listening sessions were several things, including that STR contributes to the local economy, “community-led solutions may be effective in resolving short-term rental issues,” and “the town cannot regulate based on ownership and will face litigation if it chooses to do so.” After some discussion, the council asked that the planning board look at some restrictions, especially as it relates to how the Town of Woodfin is doing them.

Shannon Moore and Steven Miller with Withers Ravenel presented a Water Fund Financial Analysis/Water Rate Study and told the council they had identified four rate structure goals to promote conservation, examine base rate versus volumetric, review residential and commercial rates, and explore best practices. Coffey did not ask for any action to be taken and would use it to work on a budget.

Reporter’s note: The coverage of the rest of the meeting will be in next week’s paper.