Forest Hills Council Meeting 2-2-04

Council Meeting


Monday, February 2, 2004


The regular meeting of the Forest Hills Village Council was called to order at 7:05 PM by Mayor Jim Davis.

In attendance were: Mayor Jim Davis, Councilpersons Joe Rossano, Dick Iobst, Jim Wallace and Sue Burton; Financial Officer Jim Weir; Village Clerk Ida Jenkins;  Former Mayor Irene Hooper, Sylva Herald Reporter Ms. Cary, and seven guests and village residents.

Opening prayer was conducted by Mayor Jim Davis.

Corrections to minutes of January 5, 2004 were asked for by Mayor Davis.  Two corrections made.  Joe Rossano motioned to adopt minutes as corrected.  Seconded by Jim Wallace.  Motion passed.


Financial Report given by Jim Weir balance of approximately $50,000.  Budget of schedule within month or so.  Wachovia agrees there will be no service charge on the town’s account.  Regarding tax list:  Jim would like someone who has long term background with the village to meet with him and the tax assessor to go over the list.  Mary Ann has list.  Wallace, Davis, or Iobst may possibly be the person he needs.  Bank said dual signatures must be required on all checks or none.  They can not require two signatures only on checks above a certain amount.  Auditors requested 1099 for policemen.  Dick moves to accept financial report.  Jim Wallace seconds.  Motion passed.


Irene Hooper introduced Nell Leatherwood, who was appointed to work with Jackson County for the Blue Ridge National Register.  Ms. Leatherwood stated we had unique opportunities before us and their job was to organize communities.  They have the first year for planning.  There will be a kick-off for Jackson County administration on February 23 at the Justice Center in Sylva.  Refreshments will be a 5 PM and program at 5:30 PM.  The $ 750,000 allotted for the first year must be matched up dollar for dollar.  Jim Wallace asked if there was anyone available to brain storm with our board and was informed that there was.  He felt we needed to move on the Greenway Project.

Ms. Leatherwood said to present the plan on March 29th.  Neil offered a local number of 227-3445 to contact her.  Mayor thanked Ms. Leatherwood.


Former Mayor Irene Hooper reported.  Western North Carolina has lost so many jobs and they are hoping to pull more jobs in the area. She would be attending the annual meeting tomorrow at noon.  She reports that Duke Power is trying to limit the number of docks on lakes.  She said they plan to do a resolution to make an economic impact study prior to decision.  Mayor thanked Irene.


Planning Board met with Geoff Willett to create land use maps for Forest Hills zoning.  Mayor Davis said this will serve to make our future stands much stronger.



Sue Burton reported that the Liaison Committee will meet on February 12th somewhere on the WCU campus.  She can be called closer to the date for more information. She also reported that they have contacted Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at WCU to create a dialog between WCU and Forest Hills.


Mayor asks for anything else.  Jim Wallace states there will be a Greenway meeting on Thursday at 6 PM regarding the Scotts Creek Greenway.  The Meeting will be at the Jackson County Justice Center room 213 or 215.


Mayor announces the main topic for tonight’s meeting is the addition of ordnances and amendments to Master Ordnance. Jim Wallace motions to un-table proposed ordnances discussion from the January 5, 2004 meeting.  Sue Burton seconds.  Passed.


John Murray expressed concern over the ability to shoot snakes on his property and hunt turkey.  Mayor expressed view was not to keep people from enjoying their property.  The problem is there is buck shot on the other side of the valley and shots are heard late at night.  We feel there is a safety hazard to the village.  John Murray was also concerned because his son and son-in-law hunted on his property.  Sue Burton pointed out that it can not be assumed that the students will know or adhere to the limits of firearm usage.  Gene Tweedy recommended there be no firearms discharged within so many feet of the village.  Mr. Tweedy clarified to City limits of Village.  John Murray recommended a limit to not within 300 ft. of a public road.  Irene asked if that distance would take care of the valley.  Jim Wallace suggested 150 ft to be more reasonable.  Gene Tweedy stated he didn’t like the idea of putting restrictions on anyone’s property.


Mayor Davis recognized Max Holland an attorney and property owner of rental units in the village.  Mr. Holland expressed the view that the ordnances had some serious problems.  First there were numerous typographical errors.  He pointed out some legal problems with holding lessor and lessee equally liable on rental properties when the landlord might not even receive a notice.  Section 4-B words like “tend to depress faire market value” you can’t use words like that.   He pointed out someone may not like the looks of his car.  He pointed out with not allowing properties to be grandfathered in it may cause some properties to have converse condemnation due to the insufficient room to create parking spaces for the number required.  He points out statements such at “all properties at all times” shall be free of trash.  Designations against rental properties he sees as discriminatory.  His properties were built as single family residences and only recently have become rentals, when he bought them one at a time. 

Jim Wallace asked if “single family residence” was spelled out on his deed.


 Mr. Holland said no they were not designated on deed that way.  W.D. Dillard set restrictions but then broke most of them himself.  Way the ordnances are written there are interpretation problems and constitutional problems.  Problem with sound ordnances such as horns, what if taxi pulls up and blows his horn.  Who is going to determine the muffler noise ordnance?  Section D “any noise that will disturb your neighbor”.  Mr. Holland expressed the idea that there was nothing you could do that wouldn’t disturb somebody.


Mayor states it was written with intent and it may not have been written very well.  


Max Holland points out “yelling, singing, and whistling” maybe a bit too picky.  He also said he’s not against some of the intent to address parking on the roads and trash but the verbiage is poor.  Max Holland points out that the protection of property with a gun is not legal and should be removed.  Mr. Holland states since he doesn’t live in the village he has very little control over tenants and guest.  Civil suits against students are useless since most of them don’t even own the car they drive.  Damages work both ways where if the landlord wins in court the village would have to pay his court costs and attorney fees.  Dog leash ordnance is the fine against the owner of the land or the owner of the dog?  Due process is missing.  Also there is a problem which is federal; called Section 8 housing, which include the poor and minorities which if this is passed these people could not have housing.  Mr. Holland would urge a revision.


Mayor Davis asked Max Holland if the village could contract him to rewrite.

Max Holland said no because of conflict of interest.

Mayor Davis we realize we have some problems and some ambiguity that is obvious.  Mayor Davis tells Max Holland that the board appreciates his bringing the problems to their attention.  He states that the ordnance will have to be rewritten.  He also states that they realize most of the problems are with landlords who are not in town and not on top of the problems with their property.


Mayor asks if anyone else wanted to speak and recognizes John Murray.  John addresses the noise ordnance and recommends that there is a time and place for everything and there be hours of operation or hours on non-operation.  Discussion was made that restricted hours were only stated for certain items.  Jim Wallace said he read through these things and has pages of items he wanted to address and asked if other board members had read the ordnances.


Mayor recognizes the board needs to go back to the drawing board.  There will probably have to be another open meeting.  He apologized for problems.  Some items may have to be stricken.


Mayor Davis asks for Old Business.

Irene states there were two accidents last weekend and the street signs are bent.

Irene said the noise is terrible due to parties.  Max Holland said he paid $1500 to have 8 – 10 truck loads of litter on his property hauled away and now he can pick up at lease another bag of litter.  Mayor said we are trying to address these problems.  Sue Burton invites Max Holland to Liaison Committee meeting.  Jim Wallace states the university said the students were adults and not living on university property so they had no way of addressing the problems with the students.  Sue Burton said that the university will not even tell us who is living in the village due to new laws.  Max states he has a problem with students who after signing a rental agreement they rent out part of the place to other students.  He also states when he learns of it he tells them the other person needs to sign the lease also. 


New Business is called for by Mayor Davis. 

Discussion is made about short area of non-paved road which accesses property by John Murray.  He states the area in front of water tower is asphalted.  Sue Burton states Saxony Road is not designated a road.  Mayor Davis asks Mr. Murray if the road up to his gate is eroding.  John Murray wants to know if he paves if would he be at odds with the village.  Mayor responds that they will need to look at it.  Irene Hooper states a committee is needed.


A motion by Jim Wallace to close the meeting.  Dick Iobst Seconds.  Passed.


Meeting was adjourned.


Ida Jenkins

 Village Clerk