Joint Meeting Council/Planning Board 3-16-15


March 16, 2015


A joint meeting of the Village of Forest Hills Council and Planning Board was held in the meeting room at the Jackson County Recreation Center at 7:00pm on March 16, 2015.


The following members of the Council were present:

Mayor Kolleen Begley

Councilmember Ron Mau

Councilmember Carl Hooper

Councilman Clark Corwin


Absent:  Councilmember Dan Perlmutter


The following members of the Planning Board were present:

Lee Budahl

Todd Collins

Nilofer Couture

Steve Brown

Janie Prentice

Jayne Buchanan


The following Non-Council members were present:

Tanner Hall, the Sylva Herald

Stephanie Gibson, Town Clerk

Chris Green, Village Property Owner

David Moore, Village Attorney

Sealy Chipley, Chipley Consulting, via video conference

Don Kostelec, Kostelec Planning, via video conference


1)      Call to order and introduction:  The meeting was called to order at 7:00pm by Mayor Kolleen Begley, (Chair).


2)      Announcements:  1) Public Hearing on proposed ordinance changes scheduled for April 7th at 6:00pm at the Jackson County Recreation Center.

                                    2) 5K Race in Forest Hills, Saturday April 11th

                                    3) Whee Farmer’s Market approved by the board to be held in Forest Hills weekly starting Tuesday April, 28th, pending the property owner’s approval.


3)      Charrette/Workshop Final Report: Don Kostelec & Sealy Chipley

Don reviewed what he saw as the most important areas for the Village to address in the first steps:

  • The Village would adopt or endorse a comprehensiveplan
  • Determine preferences for update to land use plans, zoning ordinances for incorporation of key themes and ideas.
  • Pursue more detailed Pedestrian/Greenway Plan for NC 107 & other linkages
  • Work with Southwestern Commission to identify other grant opportunities for implementation of plan.
  • Other preferences


Councilman Corwin asked about strategies that need to be addressed.  Sealy suggested looking at changes to potentially add a retirement community and develop proposed ideas.  She suggested looking at the current restrictions of a 2 acre lot and 2,000 sq. home requirement, look at changing and evolving needs of aging residents and their need to downsize.


Councilman Mau noted that the updated areas are those other than R1 and in local Zoning Ordinances group homes cannot be prohibited in single family homes.


Sealy asked that any changes or ideas to their final report be sent to her and noted that she will send the revised final report by the end of the week.


4)      Chris Green:  Discussion about green space/park in valley and updated maps of his development ideas  

Chris discussed his idea of more dense housing and noted that he has done similar research to that of Don and Sealy.

Janie asked about a Community Center and Chris said that he has a building plan for a Community Center, office space, and storage.  Janie noted that she would also like to see retirement opportunities for aging residents.  Chris said that his recommendation would be for patio homes, townhouses, cluster homes, assisted living, etc.  He noted that he would recommend Greenway, trails, and playgrounds around any proposed town center.


Councilman Corwin asked about an Economic Impact Study and if Chris would be willing to do some of the preparation work, such as wetland studies.  Chris said he avoided wetland areas in his plans, there are no creek crossings.  Councilman Mau noted that TWSA goes above the sign up to the motel.  Chris said that a sewer was added just short of that for apartments that they built.

Janie said that there are water lines buried under the old golf course.  Chris said he thought it would be fine, he said that many of the lines were for irrigation for the golf course.

Nilofer said that she had concerns about the traffic and would like a study to be done.  He noted that DOT has grants available for bike paths, and sidewalks for people going to WCU.


Chris said that the Village to determine whether or not they are interested in acquiring a portion of the property.


5)      Define, prioritize, estimate completion date of tasks charged to Planning Board


  1. Has there been a vote/formal recommendation written from the Planning Board regarding the recommendation for no change to the “no more than 2 unrelated in a single family dwelling” in the ordinances?  Clark brought to the last meeting and Todd Collins confirmed that a vote was done recommending to the Council that there be no change to that ordinance. .


  1. New:  Create and prioritize all Village roads infrastructure improvement schedule (3-5 years forward) Paving Village gravel roads, resurfacing damaged currently paved roads (potholes will be addressed as they occur).  The Planning Board will work on a plan with priorities and budget to implement.


6)      At the next Council meeting on April 7, we need to schedule a ZBOA public hearing for a variance request:  Mayor Begley said she will talk with Gerald Green about a potential date, possibly May 5th at the regularly scheduled Council meeting.

Ken said that the Variance request comes from the Rowlands, they have a .5 acre lot that they want to build an approximately 1300 sq. ft. residence on.  Councilman Hooper said the ordinances stating that a 1345 sq. residence is required is still in the ordinances and acreage.  The Rowlands submitted an application to Ken and he forwarded to Mayor Begley, she will submit it to Gerald Green.

Chris noted that usually a developer initiates a recommended square footage residence according to the acreage.


7)      Comments or questions from Planning Board members:  

Clark noted that he will be absent from the meeting on April 20th, Todd has agreed to be the liaison.


Clark asked if he could get the work that Todd and Rick had done previously and use it as a schedule for improvements.


Nilofer asked about the Village clean-up, Mayor Begley noted that LeeAnn is working with the Village to clean-up after the 5K run.  As for individual residents who are not keeping an area clean, you need to contact Ken Dickert and he will notify the owners and assess fees if applicable.


8)      Comments or questions from Council members for Planning Board:  

Mayor Begley said that out of 126 homes in the Village, only 13% have 2+ acre lots and it was a similar percentage for house sizes.  She noted that the Village needs to look at social and economic sustainability


Mayor Begley noted that Councilman Mau is the Village representative for the county committee.  Councilman Mau said the Village needs to integrate with the County Master Plan, they are looking at a comprehensive transportation plan and development by 2040.  He noted that Gerald Green oversees county planning.


9)       Items to review for further potential ordinance changes (outside professional assistance)


  1.  Pedestrian Plan (sidewalks, trails, bikes?:  long-range plan)


  1. 2 acre lot size (does this allow for affordable housing?  If not reduced, are we restricting sales?  If reduced, would this have any negative environmental or traffic impacts?)


  1. 2,000 sq. house size (2013 NC average $125/sq. to build, not including land purchase)


  1. Comprehensive Land Plan (any rezoning?)


  1. Are additional subdivision regulations needed above and beyond currently adhering to the Jackson County subdivision regulations?


  1. Develop design standards


10)   Adjourn:  At 8:45pm Councilman Hooper made a motion to adjourn, seconded by Councilman Mau, unanimously approved.