July Minutes-2005

Village of Forest Hills Council Meeting minutes
July 11, 2005

The Council of the Village of Forest Hills convened at University Inn for its regularly scheduled July meeting.  The meeting was called to order by Mayor Jim Davis at 7:04 p.m.

Present were: Mayor, Jim Davis; Councilwoman, Sue Burton; Councilmen, Richard Iobst, Joe Rossano, and Jim Wallace; Attorney, Jay Coward; Assistant Clerk, Evelyn Rooks-Weir; WRGC Radio representative, Charlie Bauder; Sylva Herald representative, Samantha Blanton; Landscape Architect, Roger Turk; Residents, Bruce Plumer, Ken Dickert, Linda Dickert, Charlie Burton; and Property Owners, Rick Bennett and Marty Hydaker.

Mayor Davis opened the meeting with an invocation and welcome to guests.  He then called for action on the minutes of the June 6th and 13th meetings.  It was moved by Richard Iobst and seconded by Sue Burton that the minutes of the June meetings of the Council be accepted with the corrections that have been noted by Richard Iobst.  Motion passed.

Mayor Davis distributed copies of the financial report that had been prepared by Jim Weir, Finance Officer.  This report was discussed by the Council members, in the absence of Jim Weir.  Councilwoman Burton moved that the financial report be tentatively accepted until it could be more fully explained by Jim Weir at the August meeting.  Richard Iobst seconded this motion which passed.
Mayor Davis asked for a report from the Economic Development Commission Representative.  Councilwoman Burton reported that Mrs. Irene Hooper had called and said that she would be unable to attend the meeting.  No report was given.

The Planning Board is on hiatus for the summer.  No members were present to give any report.

The University/Village Liaison Committee represented by Councilwoman Burton, is not meeting during the summer.  However, after talking with individual members of this committee, Councilwoman Burton suggested that the Village might be well served by the addition of some members to this committee.  It was suggested that each rental complex have representation on this committee.

Under New Business on the Agenda, Roger Turk, representing R and R Landscaping of Sylva, came before the Council to present a "concept plan" for landscaping the entrance to the Village.  He reported that he had contacted the Department of Transportation to obtain specific information concerning DOT regulations regarding rights-of-way, etc., because landscaping of the entrance to the Village will depend upon these requirements.  Mr. Turk had spoken with two DOT engineers about the requirements, but they were unable to give him information that he needed.  The engineers, with whom he spoke, suggested that he contact Mr. Joel Setzer, DOT Division Engineer.  Mr. Turk had placed a call to Mr. Setzer and hoped to see him within the following week to discuss this project and obtain the information that Mr. Turk needs to proceed .

In order to be sure that he was visualizing a landscape plan that was consistent with the Council's expectation, Mr. Turk had drawn a preliminary plan which he shared with the Council.  He explained details of this preliminary plan, and emphasized that he would like to have this project interface with the Jackson County's Green Way Plan.  Mr. Turk commented that it might be necessary for the Village do finance the development of a plan with specific dimensions, etc., to be presented to the DOT for their approval.  Mr. Turk entertained questions from the Council members and others present regarding this plan.

Councilman Wallace asked Mr. Turk what action the Village needed to take at this point in time?  Mr. Turk responded that after he has the conference with Mr. Setzer, then he will report to the Council his findings.  At that time, the Village can take action to proceed to take the next step toward achieving their plan to landscape the entrance.

Councilman Iobst moved that Roger Turk be authorized by the Village Council to pursue information from the Department of Transportation necessary for the development of a landscape design for the entrance to the Village.  Councilman Wallace seconded this motion which passed.  Councilman Wallace will serve as the liaison from the Village to work with Mr. Turk on this project.

Mayor Davis invited Mr. Rick Bennett and Mr. Marty Hydaker to present the issue they wished to bring before the Council.  They are experiencing an excessive deposit of silt on their property.  They believe that this is occurring because culverts used on the connector road between North and South Country Club Drives, are either inadequate or not being maintained to accommodate the flow of water during recent heavy rains.  A discussion of this problem followed.

Councilman Wallace asked the Village Attorney whether a resident is liable for damage resulting from water run-off from his/her property onto another's property?  Attorney Coward answered that the damaged party can ask for reimbursement, but if the party whose property is up hill, has taken reasonable action to divert the water in an acceptable manner, then there may be little recourse for the owner of the damaged property below.  This is because of the fact that water naturally flows downhill and in Western North Carolina, the natural terrain accommodates this fact.

A discussion of the Village's ordinance relating to sedimentation followed.  Councilman Wallace pointed out that the water flow problem of Mr. Bennett and Mr. Hydaker was not the only one in the Village.  He cited a problem shared by residents Plumer, Spell, Wallace and Corwin that arises from water flow from property above them.  Councilman Wallace suggested that an engineer be asked to make recommendations to the Council for a solution to these multiple problems.

Councilwoman Burton asked that a visual presentation showing all problem areas be made so that an overall master plan be developed to accommodate the flow of water to protect all roads and residents in the Village.  Mayor Davis volunteered to take Councilwoman Burton on a tour of the Village to point out troublesome areas to her.  Councilwoman Burton suggested that the July Council Meeting be continued within two weeks to hear reports from an engineer, Bear Track Paving Company, and Attorney Coward regarding the current road problems and their possible solutions.

Councilman Wallace asked that Mr. Bruce Plumer be given time to speak to a related water-flow problem that he and three of his neighbors are experiencing.  Mayor Davis invited Mr. Plumer to present his problem to the Council.  Mr. Plumer distributed copies of a map of his property and adjoining property to show a pattern of water flow from property above that has caused damage to his property and that of his neighbors Spell, Wallace and Corwin.  This water-flow damage has apparently resulted from development on Cave Springs Road that did not provide for appropriate diversion of the water flow.

Mayor Davis inquired of Attorney Coward whether the Council could not go to the developers of Cave Springs Road and ask them to assume responsibility for helping control the water flow from this property?  Attorney Coward responded that the Village could contact the developers, but he felt that a more productive approach would be to seek possible solutions for all Village water-flow problems from an engineer, and then try to get help to implement these recommended solutions.  Legally, if property owners, and/or developers of property above are diverting in a reasonable way, then property owners below have to bear damage incurred by the water flow.

I discussion regarding the intent of the Village to address water-flow problems that effect residents followed.  Council members agreed that the Village has a responsibility to its residents to seek solutions to these problems and attempt to implement them.

Councilwoman Burton made a motion that the Council get an engineer's perspective and cost estimation plan, and Bear Claw's Paving Company's plan and estimation to be presented at a continuation of this Council Meeting on July 25, 2005.  Jim Wallace seconded this motion.  A discussion among Council members regarding the specifics of this motion followed.

Mayor Davis called for a vote on the motion that was before the Council.  The motion to contact Victor Loftquist, engineer, and Bear Claw Paving Company and continue this meeting on July 25, 2005, passed.

Councilwoman Burton moved that this meeting not be adjourned, but recessed, and continued on July 25.  Councilman Iobst seconded this motion which passed.  Councilwoman Burton will check on the facility to conduct the meeting on July 25, and Mayor Davis will see that the notice is placed in the Sylva Herald.

Mayor Davis invited Ken and Linda Dickert to speak to the Council.  They expressed their interest in the activity of the Village.  Mrs. Dickert suggested that minutes be E-mailed to residents.  A discussion followed about how to communicate with residents and encourage them to participate more actively in Village affairs.  It was decided that Linda Dickert would prepare an article for the Fall Village Newsletter asking residents if they would like to share their E-mail addresses in order to receive Village communications.

Mayor Davis called for Old Business.  The first item was Police Reports which included a report for the month of May.  No police activity was reported during the month of June.  Mayor Davis reported that the Kappa Alpha House is now vacant.  Police are in the Village on Thursday nights from 11:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. Friday, and on either Friday or Saturday night similarly depending on schedules of policeman.  Dispatch can be called at 586-1911 to learn if a policeman is on duty in the Village.  A discussion of police protection followed.  Mayor Davis has requested that policemen note those residences that are repeatedly reported for disturbances so that landlords may be notified of these offenders.

Councilwoman Burton suggested that a log of dates and hours of Village patrol be made available to the Village by the Sheriff's office.  This documentation will assure Village residents of the fiscal responsibility of the Council.

Councilman Rossano noted that three DUI's were issues in the Village during May.  This seemed noteworthy.  A discussion of means of controlling alcoholic beverage consumption by minors followed.

Mayor Davis asked Councilman Wallace for a report of the status of road petitions.  Councilman Wallace apologized for his not having contacted the Department of Transportation.  Wallace promised that he will have a report on road petitions by July 25.

Mayor Davis announced that he had received the resignation of Jane Masias as co-clerk for the Village.  She has carpal tunnel syndrome and is physically unable to do this task.  Mayor Davis questioned whether his sister could legally serve in this capacity.  A discussion followed.  Attorney Coward was asked for a legal opinion regarding two people who are related serving the Council as staff simultaneously.  Attorney Coward said that he saw no problem with Mayor Davis' sister serving as a clerk.

Mayor Davis asked if there was additional old or new business.  Councilman Iobst noted the absence of Mr. James Epply.

Mayor Davis called for a motion to recess this meeting.  Councilman Iobst moved that this meeting be recessed until Monday, July 25, 2005 at 7:00 p.m. when it will be reconvened at the University Inn.  Councilman Wallace seconded this motion which passed.
Respectfully submitted by
Evelyn Rooks-Weir, Assistant Clerk