Forest Hills Council Meeting 4-5-04

Council Meeting                                                 

Monday, April 5, 2004


The regular meeting of the Forest Hills Village Council was called to order by Mayor Jim Davis on April 5, 2004 at 7:02p.m.


Present at the meeting were Councilpersons Sue Burton, Jim Wallace, and Dick Iobst.                  


Invocation given by Mayor Davis.


Mayor Davis noted that the lack of a clerk precluded written minutes of the meeting.  The session was audio-taped for transcription at a later date.


In the minutes of the March meeting, the spelling of Angela Murray’s name was corrected in item 2 of the Liaison Committee Report.  A motion for approval of the minutes was made by Councilman Wallace.  It was seconded by Councilman Richard Iobst.  Motion passed.


Jim Weir, Finance Officer, was asked to present the financial report.  A hard copy of the report was distributed to council members.  A discussion of the cut-off date for property tax revenues followed.  Mayor Davis noted that taxes are delinquent after March 31.  Finance Officer Weir reported that financially the Village is solvent.  He also reported that Councilmen Wallace, Iobst and he met with the County Tax Assessor to check Village residents not properly listed on tax rolls.  Charlie and Sue Burton were the only residents whose property was not listed on the tax rolls, however, three properties were listed on the Village tax roll inappropriately.  Weir noted that no retro-active tax adjustments would be made, but as of January 1, 2004, the Village tax rolls are accurate.  Mayor Davis asked for questions regarding this report.  A motion to accept the financial report was made by Councilman Iobst and seconded by Council Wallace.  The motion passed.


In the minutes of the March Meeting, under Old Business, Councilwoman Sue Burton’s name should be added to the list of commissioners working on the Ordinances Committee.


Mayor Davis noted that Jay Coward, the attorney for the Village of Forest Hills was present, and he asked for questions that councilpersons had for the attorney.  Councilman Wallace asked about the status of the Summit lawsuit?  Mayor Davis said that he would respond to that question, which was an item on the agenda, while the attorney was present.  A letter was received from the Summit’s attorney and Attorney Coward has responded.  In his response, he confirmed receipt of the letter and informed the Summit owners that the Village Council is in the process of reviewing the complete zoning package and the Council will be in contact with the Summit owners when that review is completed.  Councilman Wallace asked Attorney Coward if the Summit owners asked for a building permit for a fourth building?  Attorney Coward responded, “No”.  Councilman Wallace asked for confirmation of that.  Attorney Coward responded that, in general, the Summit owner applied last year for a zoning variance.  After the Village representatives met with Jeff Willett, a response was sent to the Summit owner.  The response informed the Summit owner that this application was incomplete.  A more complete application was submitted by the Summit owner’s attorney.  This application included a statement from the owner’s attorney stating that his client had obtained vested rights, and because of these rights, the Village could not impose an ETJ designation on this project pursuant to the plans the Summit has developed.  Attorney Coward and the council are in the process of analyzing the vested rights issue.  The date of the Summit letter was March 17, 2004.  Mayor Davis responded March 26, 2004 and stated that the most recent application was received and the Village would respond soon to this most recent application.  An explanation of vested rights relative to the Summit and the Village of Forest Hills was given by Attorney Coward.


Mayor Davis asked for additional questions regarding ordinances to be directed to Attorney Coward.  Councilman Wallace has distributed hard copies of the draft of ordinances to council members.  He reminded council members that he expected input from one of them by the May council meeting.  The draft of the ordinances was developed by Councilmen Wallace and Rossano.  It included items relating to emergency management, flood control, sedimentation, etc.  Councilman Iobst commented that he had read the draft of the ordinances carefully and it looked good to him.  Attorney Coward noted a correction under section four B and C.  Mrs. Irene Hooper asked if she could share information regarding the ordinances with other Village residents?  Councilman Iobst responded that she could.


Mayor Davis asked for a report from the Liaison Committee.  Mrs. Hooper introduced new neighbors.  Mrs. Hooper reported that she had received a call the previous week from DOT asking if supplies would be needed for the Spring litter sweep which would be conducted between April 17 and 30, 2004.  Councilman Rossano responded that he thought he had adequate supplies for the Village clean-up.


Mrs. Irene Hooper stated that she serves on The Economic Development Commission that is applying for a grant to match acquired funds for a greenway.  Mrs, Hooper is also working with Blue Ridge Heritage to promote economic development.  Councilman Iobst has compiled a list of 573 references to Jackson County from the North Carolina Gazette, 1968 edition.  Councilman Wallace asked Mrs. Hooper about Blue Ridge Heritage.  A discussion followed concerning Mel Leatherwood and her involvement with the millennium campus and Blue Ridge Heritage.  Councilman Wallace suggested a meeting with Mel Leatherwood to pursue possible projects.  Mayor Davis responded that a second meeting with Mel Leatherwood would be appropriate.


Mayor Davis informed the Council that a complaint was filed last week on the residents of the old town house.  The residents were cited, and a court hearing is likely to be held the first of May regarding this.  With assistance from the campus security, Mayor Davis was able to get the names of occupants of this building.  He commented that he hopes Elizabeth Worley can assist with development of improved liaison between Forest Hills and WCU security to address the noise problem in the Village.  Mrs. Hooper wished him well in this endeavor.  Mayor Davis said that he was encouraged to pursue this cooperation because WCU Chancellor Bardo has stated that he that he supports cooperation between the University and surrounding communities.   A discussion followed regarding the primary reason for Forest Hills residents being here.  Mayor Davis noted that WCU security will come with the sheriff when a call is received regarding student residences in the Village.  The recent citation was the result of a party being held in the old town house apartments that resulted in unreasonable noise.  Mayor Davis reported the noise about 12:30a.m., but it did not subside until 2:00a.m when the citation was served.  Mayor Davis noted that he had heard that the owner of the old club house would no longer rent to college students because they were so destructive to his property.


Irene Hooper initiated a discussion regarding the development of the University’s new Greek Village and its impact on the greenway.


Mayor called on Councilwoman Burton for a report on the Campus Liaison Commission.  Mrs. Burton responded that she had not had a meeting yet, but will meet before the end of April.  Mayor Davis noted that Elizabeth Worley is one of the people that should be on the commission. Mayor Davis and/or Councilwoman Burton will get in touch with Elizabeth Worley to be sure that she is included on the Community Environment Commission.  The meeting will be held in the Student University Center.


Mayor Davis introduced item number 4 of old business.  An update of the ordinance revisions was presented earlier in this meeting by Councilman Wallace.


The Attorney has written to Ron Stephens.  A copy of this letter was read by Mayor Davis.  Councilman Iobst noted that he had spoken with Sheriff Ashe regarding the removal and impounding of the jeep by Ron Stephens.  Sheriff Ashe assured Councilman Iobst that he had no intention of pressing charges against Mr. Stephens.


Mayor Davis announced that the web page will be on-line soon.  It is secured and Mayor Davis is waiting to register the name, ‘’.   Mary Ann Budahl will work on keeping the web page updated.  Some few additional volunteers may be needed to help with this project too.  Hopefully with help from Joe Roman’s and Mayor Davis’ students, the web page will allow an interactive forum for Village residents.  The format will have a news section; introduction of new people moving in; and be an overall nice tool for villagers.  It is hoped that this web page will be operational by the end of April.  Perhaps Mary Ann will distribute an e-mail notifying residents of the status of the web page.  Councilwoman Burton inquired about the cost of the web page.  Councilman Iobst responded that there was a cost and Mayor Davis replied that the cost was a two-hundred dollar ($200.00),one-time set-up fee and two-hundred and forty dollar ($240.00) per year or twenty dollars ($20.00) per month charge for services provided to municipalities based on the size of the municipality.  Forest Hills pays the minimum amount.  Mayor Davis noted that he had instructed Jim Weir to pay the four-hundred and forty dollars ($440), so the Village is paid up for a year in advance.  Jim Weir stated that the bill was paid in March, 2004.


Mayor Davis inquired of Councilwoman Burton whether she had looked at street sign forms?  She responded that she had, and had made a telephone call, but had not had a return call.  A brief discussion of sign needs followed.                                           


A final item of old business was the litter sweep.  A discussion of this project followed.  Councilman Iobst moved that the council adopt Saturday, May 1, 2004 for the Litter Sweep Day in the Village of Forest Hills.  Councilman Joe Rossano added the time of 9:30a.m. to this motion.  A discussion of where to meet and what to bring was led by Councilman Rossano.  Mayor Davis asked for a second to the motion on the floor made by Councilman Iobst.  Councilwoman Burton seconded the motion.  The discussion continued regarding a “rain” date.  Councilman Wallace asked how the date selected for the Village Litter Sweep supported the state’s dates? Motion that the Village’s litter sweep would be May 1, 2004 at 9:30a.m. passed.


Mayor Davis introduced new business.  Guests were introduced.  The Wilsons had some questions regarding the zoning status of their property.  Mayor Davis responded that their land was ETJ’d and kept as R1A.  The Mayor asked Councilman Iobst to please explain that status to the Wilsons which he did.  (This beginning discussion was undecipherable from the tape).  Councilman Iobst explained that a variance would allow the Wilsons to use their land and home likely as they wished.  Councilman Wallace suggested that the Wilsons develop a plan for what they wanted to do with their property and get all neighbors on Lyle Wilson Road to sign indicating agreement with the plan.  Mayor Davis agreed with Councilman Wallace that a plan be developed and a request for variance be filed with the Village.  Mr. Wilson stated that he would like to have this plan developed and approved by the council before he contacts a realtor to sell his property.  Councilman Iobst assured the Wilsons that the council will work with them to acquire the variance that they need to comply with their wishes for disposal of their property and meet zoning requirements of the ETJ.  Councilman Iobst outlined the procedure for applying for a variance from the ETJ zoning requirements.


Mayor Davis called on Councilman Iobst for a report of the Budget Committee.  The Budget Committee will meet before the end of April.  The committee consists of Chair. Iobst, Councilwoman Sue Burton, Planning Board Member Eugene Tweedy and Finance Officer Jim Weir.


Finally, Mayor Davis noted that the Village clerk had to resign and he asked if anyone knew of someone willing to serve in this capacity will they please encourage them to apply for the position.  A discussion followed regarding possible payment and recruitment of a clerk.


There being no further business, Mayor Davis called for a motion for adjournment which Councilman Iobst made.  It was seconded by Councilman Rossano.  Motion passed at 7:59p.m.


Notes transcribed and submitted by:

Evelyn Rooks-Weir