December 2017


Village of Forest Hills

Council Meeting Minutes

December 5, 2017

6:00 P.M. @Jackson County Rec Center, Cullowhee NC


The Council meeting for the Village of Forest Hills was held at the Jackson County Rec Center, Cullowhee, NC at 6:00pm on December 5, 2017. 

The following members of the Council were present:

Mayor Kolleen Begley

Councilmember Carl Hooper

Councilmember Clark Corwin

Councilmember Sharon Stovall 

Councilmember Niall Michelsen


The following Non-Council members were present:

Stephanie Gibson, Clerk

Mike Byers, WCU Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance

Todd Collins, Village Homeowner and WCU Professor

Josh Freeman, J.M. Teague Engineering and Planning


Work Session

  1. Call to order: Mayor Begley called the meeting to order at 6:00 pm. 
  • Mike Byers, Broadband: Mike Byers, Vice Chancellor of Administration and Finance for Western Carolina University.  Discussion: Jackson County’s Broadband Commission. Requests are being made for proposals from high speed internet companies with the potential for use of WCU Electric power poles infrastructure to be used.  The University will not profit from the use and not handle any billing; they will coordinate with the company chosen.  Councilmember Corwin asked Mike what the Village could do to help.  Mike said that whoever the provider may be, it would be likely they would offer service to the Village.  Discussion about this being a potential new service offered to residents. 
  • Housing: Mike stated that the University is reviewing housing stats and where students will reside on campus as well as in the community with current enrollment projections.  He noted that over 19,000 applications were received and about 7,000 -8,000 were admitted and probably 2,500 – 3,000 were incoming freshman.  Mike said the University is unsure of how NC Promise will affect future enrollment.  An RFP was launched last week regarding proposals for property use and ideas for how housing might be built and what it would look like if the university decided to use the Millennial property for housing.

     Mayor Begley asked Mike about the potential of WCU working with DOT to create a future walking bridge over Hwy.107 from Forest Hills to the Ramsey Center to assist with safety and parking issues.   Mike said WCU supports safety but that it would not be a priority for DOT over other areas that students live; he said the University has a list of safety priorities.  He suggested researching a potential tunnel in the future, which would be less cost and more use.

     Mayor Begley asked about the parking garage status at the University and Mike said an architect has been hired and they are looking at alternate sites and the most cost effective options. He said that it will be designed in the next year and most likely start in 16-18 months. 

  1. Dr. Todd Collins, Graduate Student Projects: Dr. Todd Collins, WCU Professor, attended the meeting to discuss graduate students assisting the Village with research regarding a potential shared administrator, surveys, and a cost/benefit analysis of services. Mayor Begley asked Dr. Collins if he would attend the February meeting to further clarify these projects.

Council Meeting

  1. Call to order: Mayor Begley called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm. 
  2. Announcements:
  • Reminder – please silence cell phones for meeting
  • Next month’s meeting will be Tuesday, January 2nd and will be an advertised public hearing if an expected development application is submitted.
  • Ethics requirement reminder – all elected officials need to complete within 12 mos. of the date of their election.
  • The Essentials of Municipal Government conference is in Asheville February 22-23. 

     3.  Swearing in councilmembers: Ann Melton swore in Mayor Begley for another 2-year term. Clark Corwin, Carl Hooper, and Sharon Stovall were sworn in for another 4-year term. 

     4.  Approval of Agenda: Councilmember Corwin made a motion to approve the agenda; Councilmember Hooper seconded the motion, unanimously approved. 

     5.  Approval of Meeting Minutes:  November 8, 2017 Regular Council Meeting, – Councilmember Hooper made a motion to accept the November Council Meeting Minutes; Councilmember Corwin seconded the motion, unanimously accepted. 

  1. Acceptance of Financial Report for November, 2017: Councilmember Michelsen made a motion to accept the Financial Report for November; Councilmember Hooper seconded the motion, unanimously accepted. 
  2. Audit Report - Bronwyn Burleson: Bronwyn Burleson of Burleson and Early provided a summary of the Fiscal Year 2016-2017 audit report and will provide bound copies of the report to Council once accepted by the LGC.   
  3. Public Comment / Public Hearing - to amend the Zoning Ordinance and the Firearms regulations:   Mayor Begley opened the hearing; no public was present so the hearing was closed. 
  4. Vote:  Josh provided handouts outlining the amendments proposed to the Zoning Ordinance and to the Firearms regulations, noting that the changes are consistent with the General Statutes. .  The Planning Board reviewed the proposed amendments and recommended approval.  

     Councilmember Corwin made a motion to amend the Zoning Ordinance to clean up and standardize the use of certain terms throughout the zoning ordinance and to amend Section 3.8 (mixed use district) to 1) Provide the Village Council with the authority to permit deviations from certain provisions of the Village Mixed Use District standards in certain circumstances and 2)  To require additional information from applicants who may propose the establishment of a new Village Mixed Use zoning district, Councilmember Michelsen seconded the motion, unanimously approved. 

     Josh stated that in the Firearms regulations, the Village is not required to allow target practice or hunting. The changes repeal those two practices. 

     Councilmember Hooper made a motion to amend the firearms regulations to repeal section 5.2, subsection b (hunting) & subsection c (target practice) in the Code of Ordinances in order to prohibit the discharge of firearms within the corporate limits of the Village of Forest Hills, except in defense of person or property, Councilmember Corwin seconded the motion, unanimously approved.

    10. Reports:

          Mayor’s Report:  Mayor Begley shared the revised development plan from Ashley Hill of Cloverleaf Development Group, LLC and said that he indicated that he will be ready to formally submit the plan to Jackson County next week.

Two 15mph speed limit signs have been ordered and Green’s Excavating did ditch pulling in the Village except for Caves Springs, he will have to have those blown out.

Mayor Begley said that the paving contract needs to be reviewed because some areas of the road have not been resurfaced.

         Safety & RPO:  Councilmember Hooper said that an officer dealt with one domestic disturbance but there was not a report received. He said that he was not able to attend the last RPO meeting.

        Planning Board:  Councilmember Corwin said that Josh had updated the amendments and code of ordinances and the Planning Board recommended approval.

       Neighborhood Watch: Councilmember Stovall said she had signs ordered but she said the officer did not feel that meetings would be well attended.  She suggested setting up the meeting for after the holidays

       Roads:  Councilman Michelsen made suggestions of where to place the 2 new 15mph speed limit signs for NCC and SCC, Council agreed.  Mayor Begley asked Councilmember Michelsen to meet with the contractor who will install the signs to show where to place them.

     11. Unfinished Business: Mayor Begley asked Councilmember Stovall and Councilmember Hooper to invite Sheriff’s reps to the January meeting to discuss Neighborhood Watch program and a safety strategy for the Village.

     12. New Business:

Organizational Meeting

     Carl Hooper made a motion to reappoint Clark Corwin as Mayor Protem, Sharon Stovall seconded the motion, unanimously approved. Clark Corwin made a motion to reappoint Ken Dickert as Ordinance Administrator, Carl Hooper seconded the motion, unanimously approved.  Clark Corwin made a motion to reappoint Stephanie Gibson as Finance Officer and Clerk, Carl Hooper seconded the motion, unanimously approved.  Goals for this term to be moved to January’s meeting agenda. 

     13. Adjourn: At 8:50 pm, Councilmember Corwin made a motion to adjourn; Councilmember Stovall seconded the motion, unanimously approved.