November 2012



November 13, 2012

The regular meeting of the Village of Forest Hills was held on November 13, 2012 in the meeting room at the Jackson County Recreation Center at 6:00pm.

The following members of the Council were present:

Jim Wallace

Suzanne Stone

Clark Corwin

Carl Hooper

The following Non-Council members were present:

Stephanie Gibson, Village Clerk/Finance Officer

Maggie Tobias, The Sylva Herald

David Moore, Village Attorney

Gerald Green, Cullowhee Community Planning District

Mark Teague, Village Homeowner

(1) Call to order: 6:00pm by Mayor Jim Wallace. 

Jim asked that a moment of silence be held in memory of former council member Gene Tweedy.

(2) Vote on Agenda: Clark and Jim each asked for the order of two agenda items to be reversed.  Carl Hooper made a motion to approve the agenda and Suzanne Stone seconded the motion.

(3) Approval of meeting minutes from October 02, 2012 Council meeting: A motion to approve the minutes from the October 02 meeting was made by Suzanne Stone, seconded by Clark Corwin, unanimously approved.

(4) Financial reports for the month of October, 2012: Stephanie Gibson provided the Financial Reports that were handed out. The budget for October included $10,692.95 in revenues from tax collection, sales tax, and interest.  Expenditures were $3,488.86.  General expenses included police protection, clerk fee, entrance operating expenses and the fee for the proposal that Victor Lofquist did to repair the drainage problem. Motion to accept the financial report was made by Clark Corwin, seconded by Carl Hooper, unanimously approved.

(5) Cullowhee Community Planning District: Presentation by Gerald Green: Gerald Green discussed the legislation that allows community based planning.  The legislation authorizes counties that do not have county wide zoning to do community based planning.  The area to be encompassed by the community based planning must be at least 640 contiguous acres and be in at least 10 separate parcels.  The committee must be comprised of individuals who are property or business owners in the area. 

Advantages would be that the local planning committee would include the ability to issue conditional use permits and to have approval authorization over site plans and subdivisions.

To amend an ordinance or zoning map, you would have to go through an approval process with the county planning board.

Suzanne asked what Western Carolina University’s position is and Gerald replied that they were considering the proposal; he did not have a final decision.

The areas in consideration are the Old Cullowhee Road, the WCU Campus which includes approximately 350 acres on the main campus and an additional 300+ acres of the millennial campus, and the Village.

(6) Village Entrance: Jim said that he talked to the NC League to ask if there was any legal value that we had to issue a bid for and he said he was told that only for expenses in excess of $300,000.  Jim called Ben Granning and asked that he break down the project costs that were in his proposal on the most expensive quote.  Ben took the $4500.  bid and broke it down to the stone columns, tree removal and replanting, and adjustments to the current entrance sign. 

Carl Yobst gave his ok to do work on his side of the road.  Suzanne asked if we had approval on the other side.  Jim asked David Moore and he said he did not proceed with the legal searches due to the cost and the fact that he was unsure what position the village was going to take on improvements

Clark expressed concern over the legal aspects of constructing or making improvements on someone’s property without an easement.  Jim said he felt that as long as we maintained the property there would not be an issue getting an easement from the Yobst family. 

Carl also expressed concern about spending additional money on the entrance when we have spent so much in the past.  He feels we need to be developing long range plans for the village and he wants to know how this falls into the larger scheme of things.

Suzanne said that part of this proposal is to repair things that were done incorrectly in the past such as planting trees too closely and using poor lighting fixtures.  Much of the cost quoted is for improvements that needed to be made in the past and that will solve future problems.

Suzanne noted that Ben Graning said the monthly upkeep would not increase if improvements were made.

Jim discussed possible ways to save the $1500 on the tree removal and replanting such as sawing them down or auctioning the trees.  He noted that whatever is decided, the trees will have to be taken care of soon due to the weather.

Carl said he feels there are other areas of the village that need to be addressed before spending additional money on the entrance.  There are other things to spend the money on that would be more beneficial than the entrance.

Suzanne feels we should wait until we have another council member before voting on the project.  It was decided that the proposal would be tabled for discussion at a later time.

(7) Traffic Mirror:  Suzanne shared that she called DOT and got the information on the mirror that was requested to be installed at the intersection of Oak Forest and Virginia Lane.  She found that we needed a 36” Outdoor Mirror and the cost would be $252.00 + S&H.  Suzanne said that she would find someone to install the mirror without charging to do so.  She said that DOT suggested having the Gurney’s trim the shrubbery on their property to help visibility.  Suzanne made a motion that we accept the purchase of the outdoor mirror; Clark seconded the motion, unanimously approved.

(8)  Forest Hills Estates Road Proposal:  Mark Teague shared that Forest Hills Estates recently held a Homeowner’s Association Meeting and that they discussed the desire to have a hard surface road versus a gravel road.  Mark said that they are asking for chip and seal opposed to fully paving the road.  They also discussed that if the village cannot afford the entire job at once that parts could be done at intervals although that would increase the cost due to equipment having to be delivered and moved each time. 

Suzanne asked if the residents would consider paying for some of the expense and Mark replied that the residents do not feel they should pay since they pay taxes and fees and because homeowners on N. Country Club Dr. did not pay for the repaving done on their road.  Jim said the difference being the road on N. Country Club Dr. was paved when homeowners bought their property and the roads on Forest Hills Estates were not paved when homeowner’s bought property there.

Jim asked if there have been any studies about the effects paving or sealing the road would have on the drainage problems. 

Clark said that he feels the village would have no choice but to do the work in stages due to the financial cost.

Mark said that any ideas the council has he will take back to the homeowner’s association for further discussion.

Jim said that this is something that would need to be taken to the Planning Board for discussion.

(9)  Replacement of vacated Council Seat:  Jim Wallace said that we have had one person who has said he would be very interested in filling the council seat; he was the previous Zoning Administrator, Ron Mau.  Jim said he called the School of Government and the requirements were that the seat was replaced when vacant, no other stipulations.

Suzanne asked if anyone else had expressed interest and Clark and Carl said that Kolleen Begley had expressed interest.

Jim said that we would post the opening on the website and in the paper and ask for anyone interested to respond no later than November 30.  It was decided that any interested parties would submit their information, name, address, contact, and if desired, potential contributions to Stephanie and then vote on the position at the next meeting.

(10) New Business: Clark wanted to recognize Maggie Tobias from the Sylva Herald and tell her we will miss her.  This meeting was the last meeting Maggie will be attending, she is moving out of state.

(11) Old Business

(12) Public Comment:

At 7:15pm Jim Wallace called for a motion to adjourn, motion was made by Clark Corwin, seconded by Suzanne Stone, unanimously approved.