October 2023

Village of Forest Hills Council Meeting
Tuesday, October 03, 2023 – 7:00 pm
Forest Hills Assembly Hall, Cullowhee NC


The following members of the Council were present:

Mayor Jim Wallace

Councilmember Ron Yount

Councilmember Marcia Almond

Councilmember Nilofer CoutureCouncilmember Daniel Shields

The following non-Council members were Present:

Stephanie Gibson, Clerk

Tim Eckard, Planning Board

Larry Ingersoll, Resident

Amy Bollinger, Resident

Judah Bollinger, Resident

Margo Capparelli, 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 Shields made a motion to approve the agenda, Councilmember Yount seconded the motion, unanimously approved. 

     4.  Approval of Meeting Minutes for September 05, 2023, Regular Council Meeting:(All meeting minutes are posted on the Forest Hills website once approved.) Councilmember Couture made a motion to approve the meeting minutes for September 05, 2023, Councilmember Shields seconded the motion, unanimously approved. 

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

  1.  Public Comment:  None 
  1.  Public Hearing: 

Amy Bollinger, Village resident, spoke in favor of allowing short term rentals in the village.  She and her husband Judah own a home in the village that was built in 1978 and have an addition with an apartment they currently operate as an Airbnb. She noted that she and her husband do live on the property in the apartment and closely monitor guests and their activity.  Judah said that they have installed a security system and have taken steps to ensure that their property has safety measures in place, and they do not allow pets for renters.  

Margo Capparelli, village resident, spoke in favor of short-term rentals as well. She owns a small home she operates as an Airbnb on NCC drive, she said she also lives on the property and closely monitors her guests.  She noted that she has weekend guests that visit the university.   

Councilmember Shields asked about the possibility of allowing the current Airbnb operators that are in the village to continue operation if they are the owners. 

Tim Eckard, Planning Board Chair, said that he had spoken with Attorney Anthony Fox and that he said the short-term rentals can be regulated with fines imposed for any non-compliance but that it becomes difficult to allow some and not others.  He noted that the regulations stipulate rentals of not less than 30 days and that running a business out of your home is not conducive to the ordinances.  Tim said that with approximately 150 homes and 350 people in the village, it is difficult to allow some residents to operate short term rentals and not others and it creates additional traffic and other potential issues within the village.  He said that the ordinance is not banning short term rentals, simply requiring that the rentals be 30 days or more.  Tim also noted that the tax revenue for short term rentals was not received by Forest Hills but by Jackson County. 

Mayor Wallace said that running a business out of your home is allowable if no more than 25% of the square footage is used.  He said that currently the ordinance states that no more than two unrelated parties can occupy a single residence, but the owners can request a variance. 

A visiting realtor from Charlotte that attended with the current Airbnb operators said that in Charlotte they put a cap on short term rentals, allowing only 3-4 homes at a time. 

Councilmember Couture said that the ordinance is more lenient without having a cap. 

Councilmember Almond asked if a clause could be put in the ordinance that short term rentals must be at an owner-occupied residence since the previous issues with renters was at a location(s) that was not owner occupied. 

Councilmember Couture said that residents already must deal with the Prospect residents and increased noise and traffic and that residents would like to prevent further expansion.

     8.  Reports: 

Mayor’s Report: Jim Wallace – Mayor Wallace mentioned that BH Graning was planning to start work on the left side of the entrance soon.

Roads: Ron Yount – Councilmember Yount said that he spoke with CWS about the areas in the pavement they are supposed to fill, and he said that they would be patched soon. 

RPO/TAC: Marcia Almond – Councilmember Almond said the Southwestern Commission had not had a meeting since her last report.

Planning Board: Planning Board Chair Tim Eckard shared that the board has created the language for the ordinance regarding STRs and said Attorney Fox had reviewed the recommendations. 

Village Safety: Nilofer Couture – Councilmember Couture said she had not received a patrol report but noted there were 55-911 calls, she noted that most of the calls were from the hotel area, prospect, and Pincushion Lane.

     9.  New Business:

   10.  Unfinished Business: 

         Short Term Rentals:  A public hearing was held at the October meeting to review ordinance changes.  Residents currently operating short-term rentals spoke on behalf of current short-term rentals.

Councilmembers agreed to review and vote on the ordinance at the November meeting. 

         Update on Prospect Commercial Space:  No recent updates. 

         Update on Grants:  Councilmember Couture said she would check with Patricia and ask that she be researching grants that might be applicable to the Village.  She noted that she did apply to NCDOT. 

  11.  Adjourn: At 8:45pm, Councilmember Shields made a motion to adjourn, Councilmember Yount seconded the motion, unanimously approved.