June 2019

Village of Forest Hills
Work Session
Tuesday, June 4, 2019 – 6:00 pm
WCU Health and Human Sciences Bldg., Room 204


The following members of the Council were present:

Mayor Kolleen Begley

Councilmember Niall Michelsen

Councilmember Clark Corwin

Councilmember Jonathan Brooks


The following Council members were absent: 

Councilmember Jerry Rice, III


The following Non-Council members were Present: 

Stephanie Gibson, Clerk

Michelle Garashi-Ellick, Great Smokies Health Foundation and local BlueZones committee

Rick Cardona, Presenter – Future Land Use ideas and other suggestions to the Council from residents of Forest Hills

Village Residents and Property Owners


  1. Call to order:  at 6:00pm Mayor Begley called the work session to order.  Mayor Begley introduced the Council and expressed her appreciation for the residents in attendance. 
  1. BlueZones.com project summary:  Michelle Garashi-Ellick of Great Smokies Health Foundation and local BlueZones committee gave an overview of BlueZones Project, she noted that the benefits are the project is a well-being improvement initiative designed to help make healthier choices easier by encouraging changes to communities that lead to healthier options.  They have a community-wide approach, working with Worksites, Schools, Restaurants, Faith-Based Communities, Grocery Stores, Community Policy, and Individuals.  You can find out more information from the project’s Facebook page, email or website at BlueZones.com.  Michelle provided handouts and invited anyone interested to a Blue Zones Community Presentation that will be held on Monday, June 10, 2019 at the Highlands Performing Arts Center.
  1. Future Land Use ideas and other suggestions to the Councilfrom residents of Forest Hills:  Mayor Begley provided an overview of the Zoning Map vs. the Future Land Use Map and noted that the Future Land Use Map was put into place about 5 yrs. ago along with the Guiding Land Use Plan and Vision Statement in order to guide any future changes proposed.  The Mixed-Use Zoning Ordinance was put in place so Forest Hills could have some control over what would be allowed in such developments. She noted that mixed use is not the same as high density, it doesn’t have to be student housing.  Conditional Zoning was adopted so that Forest Hills could have discussions with potential future developers regarding and proposed development ideas. These are municipal mechanisms/vehicles for zoning protections.

Mayor Begley said that neither the Zoning nor Future Land Use Map shows there could be any consideration to any further changes in any other ETJ zones.  She said the Future Land Use Map can be left as is or the Council can discuss changing or updating it and/or any ordinances.

Rick Cardona provided slides and presented feedback from Village residents from a homeowner’s meeting held as a follow up to the petition and discussion about Future Land Use ideas.  Mayor Begley asked Rick if any Council or Planning Board members had any input on ideas in the presentation and Rick said they did not.  Rick stated that he would like transparency, he said that residents discussed their concerns and the group discussed possible revision suggestions to Council.  The consensus from the residents are that they want the Council to keep the property known as the “Valley” as R-1, single family residential.  Also, they would like for Zoning of R-1 to be updated to reflect 1-acre requirements.  Rick said that the suggested initiatives for communicating more effectively with residents are robocall system, social media, electronic signage in the village, and canvasing public records to update mailing lists.  He stated that the Village officials need to do more to engage residents.

Mayor Begley noted that many of the ideas mentioned have been discussed previously at open meetings.  Debbie Rowland said that she doesn’t go on the website and many residents don’t even have email.  Councilmember Corwin said that in order to have electronic signs the ordinances would have to be changed but they can be changed to allow exceptions.  Debbie said she would like to see signage or flyers throughout the Village to see.  She suggested Residence Communication meetings. Mayor Begley agreed that a Village Facebook page may be a good idea.  Rick mentioned Mike Poston’s discussion at the previous Council meeting regarding a consistency statement.  Mayor Begley said that the Developer’s meeting held was Chris Green’s meeting, not a Forest Hills meeting, and noted that there have been multiple plan ideas presented over the past several years, but they had not been complete. Homeowner Debbie Rowland asked about the “Valley” staying R-1, Mayor Begley said that the current R-1 zoning for the “Valley” isn’t required to be changed.  Councilmember Corwin said that R-1 is for single-family homes only and that the property owner requested deannexation from the Village to State representatives a few years ago prompting the Council to update ordinances and put the further proper municipal procedures in place.  Mayor Begley and Councilmember Corwin met with the State representatives at the time (Joe Sam Queen and Jim Davis) to prevent deannexation.  Mayor Begley said the Council is open to considering grants or other steps to potentially acquire some of the land for open space, but more information is needed.

Rick submitted a petition signed by 100 area residents in support of leaving the Valley zoned as R-1, Council noted that there are approximately 110-125 households and 365 residents in the Village boundaries.

Dan Perlmutter said he feels that the Residents Communications Committee is a good idea, he feels Council should discuss this idea further.  Councilmember Brooks said that he has opinions as a Council member and as a resident but that there were too many variables regarding a Residents Communications Committee to consider and suggested he meet with the interested residents to get more information to discuss at the next Council meeting.


Village of Forest Hills
Council Meeting
Tuesday, June 4, 2019 – 7:00 pm
WCU Health and Human Sciences Bldg., Room 204


Council Meeting      

      1.  Call to order: at 8:05 pm Mayor Begley called the meeting to order

     2.  Announcements: 

  1. ReminderPlease silence cell phones for meeting
  2. Local elections this year – Mayor seat & 2 council seats, Jonathan and Niall, are up for reelection.  There is a window to sign up with the Jackson County Board of Elections from July 5 at noon to July 19th at noon.  Elections will be held this November. 
  3. Next monthly Council meeting will be held July 9th at the HF Robinson Bldg. on WCU main campus, Room 452.  All meeting dates/times/venues are posted on the calendar widget on the Forest Hills website in the Sylva Herald.
  1. Approval of Agenda – Councilmember Corwin made a motion to approve the agenda, Councilmember Brooks seconded the motion, unanimously approved.
  1. Approval of Meeting Minutes – May 14, 2019 Regular Council Meeting: Councilmember Michelsen made a motion to approve the minutes; Councilmember Corwin seconded the motion, unanimously approved.
  1. Public Comment/Public Hearing on Proposed Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Budget:  Mayor Begley opened the Public Hearing, there was no public comment, Mayor Begley closed the Public Hearing.  Mayor Begley reviewed the proposed budget and documentation.
  1. Vote:  Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Budget:  Councilmember Brooks made a motion to accept the proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2019-2020, Councilmember Michelsen seconded the motion, unanimously approved.
  1. Acceptance of Financial Report & Checklist for the month of May 2019:  Stephanie Gibson provided copies of the Financial Report for the Council’s review.  Councilmember Corwin made a motion to accept the financial report; Councilmember Brooks seconded the motion, unanimously approved.
  1. Reports: 
  • Mayor’s Report: (meetings, ordinance violations) Mayor Begley said that a letter was received from a property owner with rental property in the Village in response to an Ordinance Violation, she said that Attorney Fox reviewed the letter and will respond accordingly. 

Mayor Begley noted one other ordinance violation reported by the Ordinance Administrator, Ken Dickert, in reference to the noise ordinance for a barking dog in which Ken sent the first warning letter and the matter has been resolved. 

  • Roads:  Councilmember Rice was absent
  • RPO/TAC: Councilmember Michelsen said that there was a meeting and prioritization was pushed back, new priorities can be entered until the November meeting, he noted that the county will discuss priorities and then the region will put them forward.  Councilmember Michelsen said that the County received a grant for pedestrians and sidewalks, he spoke with Mike Poston and he said they are organizing a meeting and that he offered to be the representative for the Village.
  • Planning Board: Councilmember Corwin said that Planning Board members are revisiting the Land Use Plan.  He said that Jayne agreed to chair the meetings if Diane will assume the secretarial duties of the Clerk to the Planning Board.  Mayor Begley said that their Chair needs to assume the responsibility that new Planning Board members are sworn in and that expired terms are re-sworn in.  Councilmember Corwin said that in response to residents’ concerns, he asked that Mike Poston attend the next Planning Board meeting to review and provide education on the Land Use Map and guiding Land Use Plan updates.  Mayor Begley asked the board how it would be best to continue to advertise the meetings besides the newspaper and website.  Council suggested signs for roadsides/entrance area and agreed to order signage for use on further advertising future meetings. 
  • Village Safety: Councilmember Brooks said that he received reports for the last two months and that last month there were no 911 calls and that patrol made one stop - children were in the road.  This month patrol stopped someone parking on the road near The Summit and that was resolved, and there was a 911 call in response to a reported breaking and entering off Cox Farm Road.
  1. Unfinished Business:  
  • Mobile vendor space grant close-out:  Mayor Begley said that current mobile vendor, Brew Dogs, pulled out and that she will contact the County about how to go about the purchase already done for the picnic table and forfeit the remaining grant funds.  She noted that the picnic table could be moved to the Village Green Space currently under development, and another grant submittal could be applied for next year if offered.
  • Roads paving maintenance quotes:  Mayor Begley will move to the July meeting.
  • Trash Containment Project:  Councilmember Brooks said that he met with the Project Director of the Jackson County Green Energy Park and they have the materials to do the project for trash containment Litter Letter Project discussed at a prior Council meeting.  He noted that the Green Energy Park would need a formal process for disposal and that they would want the county to buy in.  Mayor Begley noted that the interest was more in something that a student could volunteer ideas for.  Mayor Begley asked if the Council was interested in pursuing the idea. Councilmember Michelsen said that he feels the project should be delayed for the time being, Council agreed.

   10. New Business:

  • Motion to approve audit contract from Burleson & Earley, P.A. for fiscal year end June 2019:  Mayor Begley presented the Audit Contract to Council.  Councilmember Corwin made a motion to approve the audit contract for fiscal year end 2019, Councilmember Brooks seconded the motion, unanimously approved.
  • Future Land Use Map & Guiding Land Use Plan updated discussion:  Planning Board will review.
  • Resident feedback on commercial space:  Mayor Begley said that the Cloverleaf property developer asked if there was any feedback to what might be supported in the small commercial area of the development underway.  She noted that feedback to date referenced a restaurant.  Mayor Begley suggested that the Council each take a section of the Village and visit residents to gather feedback that could be shared with the developer.
  • Residents Committee:  Mayor Begley asked how the members should be selected, Councilmember Brooks said that he would meet with the residents requesting this and report back next meeting. Mayor Begley will bring this forward to the July meeting.

   11. Additional Public Comment:  Nilofer Couture said that there is a wet spring near her house that is damaging the road itself and driver’s tires.  Mayor Begley said that she will ask Councilmember Rice to call the NCDOT to have this checked out.

   12. Adjourn: At 9:30pm, Councilmember Corwin made a motion to adjourn; Councilmember Brooks seconded the motion, unanimously approved.