August 2019

Village of Forest Hills
Council Meeting
Tuesday, August 6, 2019 – 6:00 pm
WCU Main Campus – HF Robinson Bldg., Room 540


The following members of the Council were present:

Mayor Kolleen Begley

Councilmember Niall Michelsen

Councilmember Clark Corwin

Councilmember Jerry Rice, III

Councilmember Jonathan Brooks


The following Non-Council members were Present: 

Curt Collins, Whee Market

Diane Martinez, Village Homeowner & Planning Board member


  1. Call to order:  at 6:10pm Mayor Begley called the meeting to order.  
  1. Announcements:
  • ReminderPlease silence cell phones for meeting
  • Joint Council & Planning Board Work Session for August 20th @ 6:00pm, Southwestern Commission, 125 Bonnie Lane, Sylva, NC Presentation from JM Teague Engineering on Pedestrian Advisory Shoulder idea for Village-maintained roads. 
  • Next monthly Council meeting will be held September 3rd in the meeting room of the Jackson County Rec Center, Cullowhee
  • All meeting dates/times/venues are posted on the calendar widget, on the Forest Hills website and in the Sylva Herald. 
  1. Approval of Agenda – Councilmember Rice made a motion to approve the agenda, Councilmember Michelsen seconded the motion, unanimously approved
  1. Approval of Meeting Minutes – July 9, 2019 Regular Council Meeting: Councilmember Corwin made a motion to approve the minutes; Councilmember Brooks seconded the motion, unanimously approved. 
  1. Acceptance of Financial Report & Checklist for the month of July 2019:  Councilmember Rice made a motion to accept the financial report; Councilmember Corwin seconded the motion, unanimously approved. 

    Mayor Begley ask that Stephanie ask Victor Lofquist to send the current electronic copy of the Village map for the website and that he prepare 6 hard copies of the        map for the Council. 

  1. Public Comment:  None 
  1. Reports: 
  • Mayor’s Report: (meetings, ordinance violations) Mayor Begley said that the she, Jack Brown, and Tim Eckard met with Marley Cunningham, the property manager of Prospect Western, and asked that she include the Village “welcome letter” along with their information going to new residents.  Mayor Begley said that she toured the Assembly Building where the downstairs space has been designated for Forest Hills use for meetings and community events.

    Mayor Begley said she received information on the census at the joint meeting with the County and posted that information on the website.

    Mayor Begley discussed the Litter Letter Project idea as a potential project for WCU students to assist with and engaged the help of Tim Eckert who will contact the        director of the WCU Eco Cats. 

  • Roads:  Councilmember Rice said that he drove the loop and didn’t see any new issues.  Mayor Begley said the paving maintenance has not been scheduled due to their rain delays, but she will meet with the contractor to get the contract signed and ask for an update of when the paving will be done.  She already met with Tim Green to review the ditch pulling necessary to be done before the paving project begins. 
  • RPO/TAC: Councilmember Michelsen said that there has not been much activity, but they are starting to get geared up regarding transportation priorities for the county at the next meeting on September 16th
  • Planning Board: Councilmember Corwin asked what the Planning Board should bring forward for the joint meeting.  Mayor Begley suggested they continue focusing on the task of opportunities available to the Village to acquire some green space in the valley property currently for sale and the potential for a 55 + community developer.  Diane Martinez reported on the Planning Board task of gathering information and sources available to fund a potential acquisition of green space in the valley property for sale in Forest Hills.  Diane reported that she contacted Amy Whisnant at the NCLM, Rose Bauguess at the Southwestern Commission, and Jim Kosta at the Highlands Biological Station about land acquisition options.  She said that the Village will need to define intended use of the land, noting that it is not considered a large tract of land.  Diane was informed that it would be more beneficial if it were the full tract of land to be considered.  Diane said that an appraisal may be the first step in looking at a Land Trust or Conservation Easement.  She recommended having someone come to an upcoming meeting to speak on the differences between the two.  Also noted was a stream on the property that feeds into the Tuckaseigee and Sharon Taylor at Mainstream said a river conservation easement might be possible.  Diane noted that any use with an educational component would be beneficial.  She said that sources recommend the Village apply for multiple grants to maximize funding for potential land acquisition.  Diane reported that she also obtained contact information for some appraisers. Mayor Begley said that she would contact the owner of the valley property and let him know that they may need access to the property and that the Village is continuing explore several funding options for the potential to acquire green space in Forest Hills.  Diane has also been exploring grant options and said that most of the grants she reviewed have submission dates in the spring of 2020. 

    Diane will continue to work on the next steps and see if the different organization’s reps can attend the next Planning Board meeting.  Mayor Begley noted that the        Parks & Recreation Trust Fund (PARTF) gives grants for green space, the cap is 500K.  Rose Baugess suggested to Diane to look into Private Mitigation Bankers that        provide funding.  Councilmember Brooks said that he feels an easement with an educational initiative would be the most likely to be accepted.

    There is a joint meeting of the Planning Board and Council on September 16, 2019, and Diane will line up any representatives to speak on the different options              discussed.  Mayor Begley asked if deemed necessary that Diane arrange to have an appraisal completed by the next meeting.  Mayor Begley also suggested divvying      up the gathering of information on the different options to each of the Planning Board members.  Councilmember Corwin made a motion to approve up to $2,000.00      for an appraisal of the Valley, Councilmember Rice seconded the motion, unanimously approved. 

  • Village Safety: Councilmember Brooks said that there were no 911 calls and that patrol reported no instances.  Mayor Begley said that she spoke with Sergeant James about extra patrol time during the weekend of August 11th and August 18th since students will be returning to campus for school to begin on August 19th
  1. Unfinished Business:   
  • Land acquisition funding options:  Mayor Begley said that she would contact the owner of the valley for permission for an appraiser to access his property.   
  • Roads paving maintenance update:  Mayor Begley 
  • Patrol contract:  Councilmember Corwin said that Attorney Anthony Fox gave him a contract template that had been written for another municipality.  Councilmember Brooks will review the contract and create a draft of what is applicable to the Village.  Councilmember Brooks and Councilmember Corwin agreed to work on a draft copy and have Attorney Fox review it.  Councilmember Brooks said that he would prepare and distribute a draft to the Council before the next meeting.  Mayor Begley said that she will ask Anthony to review and respond before the next Council meeting. 
  1. New Business:  
  • Curt Collins: Evening market – Curt Collins spoke to the Council about holding an evening farmer’s market once a month with food, entertainment, produce, and potential animals, etc.  He said that he is currently applying for grants to help fund the farmer’s market for the spring.  The idea for the monthly night market would be a social event on a weeknight from 6-9pm.  He said that he would like to a trial run of the evening market in October if the Village Green Space in the Prospect Western area is ready by then.  Councilmember Corwin suggested revisiting the idea at the next Council meeting so the councilmembers could see the completed Village Green Space first.  Councilmember Brooks asked Curt to provide a written proposal that included a visual diagram of the event space.
  • Signage needed:  Mayor Begley discussed a suggestion from the Ordinance Administrator, Ken Dickert, about adding an additional No Parking sign for the roadside area in the Village near the loop North Country Club/South Country Club loop.  Councilmember Rice made a motion to approve the purchase of an additional sign for up to $25, Councilmember Corwin seconded the motion, unanimously approved.
  • Entrance sign:  Mayor Begley noted that the entrance sign was fading, the materials used were supposed to be fade resistant for 15+ years.  She said that the company, Sign Werks, that created the sign is now out of business.  Mayor Begley will check on quotes for having the sign repainted.                                           

   10. Additional Public Comment: David Shapiro voiced concern about noise with entertainment for the evening market idea and suggested the possibility of               demonstrations designed to involve children such as making homemade ice cream to have a sort of “happy hour” for kids. 

  David Shapiro said that he has a friend who is a spider expert that might be able to provide input on endangered species.  He said that would be a possible resource      for Diane Martinez to follow up on. David said that he appreciated Mayor Begley’s remark about getting things done and that nothing is a pipe dream.  He shared that    cars are still not stopping at the stop sign near his home and asked that patrol pay special attention to that area. 

  Dan Perlmutter stated that Dan Patillo is involved in wetlands and might be another good resource for Diane Martinez to follow up on.

  11.  Adjourn: At 8:00pm, Councilmember Brooks made a motion to adjourn; Councilmember Rice seconded the motion, unanimously approved.