June 2023


Village of Forest Hills Council Meeting
Tuesday, June 06, 2023 – 7:00 pm
Forest Hills Assembly Hall, Cullowhee NC

The following members of the Council were present:

Mayor Jim Wallace

Councilmember Daniel Shields

Councilmember Ron Yount

Councilmember Marcia Almond

Councilmember Nilofer Couture

The following non-Council members were Present:

Stephanie Gibson, Clerk

Jamie Ashe, Jackson County Sheriff’s Office

Greta Worley, Director of HERE

Denise Bean, HERE

Tim Eckard, Planning Board

Larry Ingersoll, Planning Board

Debbie Rowland, Village Resident

  1. Call to order: at 7:00pm Mayor Wallace called the meeting to order. 

     2.  Announcements:

Reminder – Please silence cell phones for meeting. 

     3.  Approval of Agenda: Councilmember Almond made a motion to approve the agenda, Councilmember Yount seconded the motion, unanimously approved. 

     4.  Approval of Meeting Minutes for May 2, 2023, Regular Council Meeting:(All meeting minutes are posted on the Forest Hills website once approved.) Councilmember Yount made a motion to approve the meeting minutes for May 02, 2023, Councilmember Shields seconded the motion, unanimously approved. 

     5.  Acceptance of Financial Report & Checklist for the month of May 2023: (All financial reports are posted on the Forest Hills website once approved.) Councilmember Yount made a motion to accept the financial report, Councilmember Almond seconded the motion, unanimously approved. 

A motion was made by Councilmember Almond seconded by Councilmember Yount, unanimously approved to amend the budget, and reclass funds for the areas that needed additional funds. The following line items were amended:

$300 added to Salaries taken from Office/Administrative

$1500 added to Website hosting company taken from Attorney fees.

$500 added to Village Entrance-Operating taken from Street Maintenance, Non-Powell

  1. Jackson County Sheriff’s Office:  Jamie Ashe with the Jackson County Sheriff’s office spoke with the Council about patrolling the village, currently he and Tye Foxx patrol for three hour shifts several times weekly, typically from 6pm-9pm, 9pm-12am or 10pm – 1am. He discussed hours patrolled with the Council and they agreed that having a police presence was good, they noted that they would like them to spend time on NCC drive since multiple speeding vehicles have been seen in that area. The council said that they prefer patrol be in the village and that the officers do not have to spend all their time dealing with issues at Prospect, or the hotel. If there continues to be a lot of problems in those areas, we need to speak to the owners about getting security for their properties.

Council members noted that gunshots had been heard multiple times and it sounded like it was coming from the direction of Prospect. Officer Ashe said that he knew of a home above the baseball field that does have a shooting range and that it does meet requirements to shoot there. He said that firearms cannot be shot within city limits.

Officer Ashe said that they could check into setting up speed checks at the village entrance in the future. He also noted that he could arrange for more coverage and the Council agreed that they would prefer to have more hours of patrol, around 40-45 hours monthly. 

  1.  Greta Worley – Director of HERE - Ms. Worley spoke to the Council about the homeless program that she directs and services that are provided to those in need of shelter, food, or emergency services. She shared that they provide shelter for homeless individuals if it is 32 degrees or below, she said that if the temperature is above 32 degrees for two nights in a row, they must vacate the shelter provided. Councilmembers asked if the University Inn is still an area that participates in the homeless program, and she said that they are. Ms. Worley said there are two hotels that participate, the University Inn and another motel in Cherokee. She said that between October and March of last year, there were 62 nights of freezing temperatures, they provided 724 hotel rooms and served 1172 people without shelter. The University Inn provides 7-10 rooms for the shelter program and the other motel provides 5-6 rooms.

Ms. Worley said that they are currently serving 107 unduplicated individuals and that they have four programs: 1) 30-day program, 2) Code purple, 3) Social worker goes out into the community, 4) Rapid rehousing where they try to move individuals into permanent housing. They serve eight counties.

Ms. Worley noted that they will be having a fundraiser on July 14th at the United Methodist church. 

     8.  Reports: 

Mayor’s Report: Jim Wallace – Mayor Wallace said that he spoke with DOT about a sign on the traffic light and they said that a sign could not be placed on the light but that he could provide a copy of the incorporation paperwork and they could come up with a larger sign.

Roads: Ron Yount – Councilmember Yount said the roads were in good condition.  He noted that there were a couple of areas where pavement was broken and that CWS would need to complete repairs to those areas and said he would follow up with them.  He said that he patched an area below the Budahl’s residence.

RPO/TAC: Marcia Almond – Councilmember Almond said there has not been a meeting since the last Council meeting.  She noted they will be having the Southwestern Commission 2023 Annual Dinner on July 24th at Betty’s Creel.

Planning Board: Planning Board Chair Tim Eckard provided the Council a draft copy of the Planning Board’s recommendations concerning short-term rentals.  The Planning Board recommends a change to the current Village ordinances to classify short-term rentals as a new, separate commercial use category which falls under the jurisdiction of the Village Council per North Carolina state law.  They also recommended looking at existing ordinance definitions of single-family dwelling, single-family residential use, multi-family dwelling, multi-family residential use, and commercial lodging (e.g., a motel/hotel) to ensure they are mutually exclusive with the definition of short-term rentals in the Village.  The provided examples of regulations adopted by Highlands, NC.  The council will review further.

Village Safety: Nilofer Couture said she had not received a patrol report but noted there were several 911 calls, a couple on SCC drive and several from the hotel area and prospect. 

  1. New Business: 
  • General Assembly of NC Session 2023 – HD House Bill DRH10198-MQ-72:  Mayor Wallace noted that the house bill would take away Municipalities ability to regulate accessory dwelling, ETJ areas.

  10.  Unfinished Business: 

  • Village Social – Council discussed the summer social to be held on July 2nd, from 2:00pm – 5:00 pm. Councilmembers agreed that Marcia would check with John Faulk with B & Al’s Grill about catering. It was agreed that post cards should be sent, Stephanie will order those from the Print Haus and mail to residents.  
  • Update on work to be done at the left side of the entrance:  The Village is on the schedule for BH Graning to landscape area this summer as soon as scheduling permits. 
  • Planning Board members needed – one member is needed from the ETJ area, and two members are needed to replace Mr. & Mrs. Quick since they have moved.  
  • Update on Prospect Commercial Space:  Mayor Wallace said there was nothing new to report. 
  • Update on Grants:  Patricia submitted one grant and is looking at others that might be applicable to the Village. 

    11.  Adjourn: At 9:05pm, Councilmember Shields made a motion to adjourn, Councilmember Almond seconded the motion, unanimously approved.