March 2006

 Village of Forest Hills
 March Council Meeting
March 6, 2006, University Inn, 7:00 P.M.


Present were: Mayor Jim Davis; Councilwoman Sue Burton; Councilmen Joe Rossano and Jim Wallace; Attorney Andy Buckner; Finance Officer Jim Weir; Economic Development Commission representative Irene Hooper; Planning Board Members Tricia Davis and Herman Lieberman; Radio 680 WRGC Representative Charlie Bouder; Assistant Clerk Evelyn Rooks-Weir; and Resident  Charlie Burton.


Mayor Davis called the meeting to order at approximately 7:00 p.m. with a brief invocation.


February minutes were unavailable for consideration at this time.  Mayor Davis asked for a motion to delay corrections and/or approval of the February minutes until the next meeting of the council.  Councilman Jim Wallace so moved and Councilman Joe Rossano seconded this motion.  Motion passed.


Jim Weir, Finance Officer, was asked by Mayor Davis to present the report of the Village financial activity during the month of February.  Hard copies of this report had been distributed to Council members before the meeting was called to order.  He called Council members attention to two significant items on this report.  The first of these was that on March 3, 2006, the Village received eighteen thousand, three-hundred and ninety-five dollars ($18,395) from the county for Ad Valorem Taxes; the second item was that the expenditures for the Summit litigation during February was three thousand, four-hundred and thirty-four dollars ($3,434), bringing the total spent on this item to fourteen thousand, one-hundred and eight-seven dollars ($14, 187).  Jim Weir noted that Councilman Rossano has indicated that expenditures for this item are nearly completed.  A discussion of available Village funds followed.  Jim Weir stated that the Village has approximately seventy thousand dollars ($70,000) at present and expenditures, at this point in the fiscal year, are as anticipated.  The financial report was accepted by the Council.


Councilwoman Sue Burton moved that Evelyn Rooks-Weir be reappointed, assistant clerk.  Councilman Jim Wallace seconded this motion.  Motion passed.


Mayor Jim Davis noted that the position of Mayor Pro Tem is vacant and needs to be filled.  Mayor Davis asked that Councilman Jim Wallace be asked to fill this position.  Councilwoman Sue Burton stated that she did believe that the Mayor was allowed to make such a recommendation.  She objected to this recommendation due to the outcome of a recent mayoral election.  Mayor Davis asked for an opinion from the attorney who was unable to render a decision at this time.  Mayor Davis asked that this item be tabled until a later date.


Mayor Davis asked for a report from the Jackson County Economic Development Commission representative, Irene Hooper.  Before giving her report, Mrs. Hooper told the Council that as Ambassador of Good Will, she and the Mayor had sent from the Village, an arrangement of flowers to express condolences to the family of Clarence Pressley at the time of his recent death.  Mrs. Hooper reported that the EDC is functioning at this time and the group hopes that the County will rejoin them in the near future.  She was not sure whether the County had been formally invited to rejoin the group, but the EDC has discussed this issue.  Mrs. Hooper reported that when the records are returned to EDC from the County, they will be audited.  Business lady Chris Matheson is a new member of EDC, and Thomas McClure of the Airport Authority is returning to the group.  The EDC has contracted with the Buxton Company of Charlotte to conduct a study, the results of which will be made available to the public at a hearing.  The purpose of this study is to promote business in Jackson County.


Herman Lieberman was asked if he had anything to report from the Planning Board.  He did not.


Councilwoman Burton was asked if she had a report from the Village/WCU Liaison Committee She did not have any activity to report.


Mayor Davis noted that Councilman Wallace had requested that the April Council meeting be held the second Monday instead of the first as scheduled.  Councilman Rossano moved that the April Council Meeting be changed to the second Monday (April 10, 2006).  Councilwoman Burton seconded this motion which passed.  Councilman Wallace was asked to get the
 announcement of this change of meeting date to the Sylva Herald for publication.


Councilman Wallace indicated that he wished to present three items related to the zoning code.  Mayor Davis noted that this might effect the date set for the public hearings for the Land Use Plan proposed by the Planning Board.  The first item presented by Councilman Wallace is a change in the storm water drainage ordinance.  This change relates to the proposed Land Use Plan.  The second item concerns the ordinance relating to parking spaces.  This ordinance needs to be clarified.  The third item concerns the zoning of the Hooper property adjacent to NC 107.  This is the property in the NW corner of the intersection of North Country Club Drive and NC 107.  The Planning Board recommended that the zoning of this property be changed from R-1, its current zoning status, to institutional development.  Currently the Village ordinances do not include a category or description for institutional development.  To accommodate this Planning Board recommendation, Councilman Wallace proposed that the zoning ordinance for that parcel of land be changed from R-1 to Professional Offices/Buildings.  Councilman Wallace discussed some possible problems related to Institutional Zoning that his proposed Professional Office/Buildings Zoning would preclude.  He suggested including restrictions that would require all buildings be designed and landscaped similarly as a typical residence in the Village.  He would also restrict all exterior lighting to be landscape lighting and require parking in the back of the building.  A discussion relating to these three items followed.


Councilwoman Burton moved that the report that was previously presented by the Planning Board be accepted with the exception of the zoning for the Hooper property located in the NW corner of the North Country Club Drive and NC 107.  She also wished to commend the Planning Board for an excellent plan presented.  Included in this motion was the request that the Plan Board make the minor change regarding the zoning category for the Hooper property, and be prepared for a Public Hearing at the next Council Meeting which is scheduled for April 10, 2006.  Councilman Rossano seconded this motion.  After considerable discussion, Councilwoman Burton withdrew this motion and Councilman Rossano withdrew the second.


Mayor Davis instructed Councilman Wallace to ask the Planning Board Chair to make minor changes in their proposed land use plan and be prepared to present it at a Public Hearing on April 10, 2006 at the scheduled Village Council Meeting.  Councilwoman Burton moved that a Public Hearing to examine the proposed Land Use Plan be conducted at the Council Meeting on April 10, 2006.  Councilman Rossano seconded this motion which passed.


Mayor Davis noted that Conrad Burrell is in his last term as DOT representative for our District.  Mr. Burrell feels that he should go to Raleigh and petition for a northern by-pass from the Cullowhee Valley School area on NC 107 to HWY 74 east.  Mr. Burrell has asked that each municipality pass a resolution stating that they are in favor of such a by-pass.  Then Mr. Burell will arrange for the mayors of municipalities in Jackson County to accompany him to Raleigh to present this case.  If no action is taken, there is little hope for curtailing problems that will arise from the commercial development on NC 107.  A motion to support a resolution developed by DOT proposing a by-pass from NC 107 to Hwy. 74 was made by Councilman Wallace and seconded by Councilman Rossano.  Motion passed by a two to one vote.


Mayor Davis noted that item seven on the agenda was tabled until the following meeting of the Council.


Old business addressed by Mayor Davis included the placement of traffic signs in the Village.  He asked that Councilpersons consider placement of traffic signs in the Village.  A discussion of needed signs followed.  It was proposed that a map of the Village be provided at the upcoming Public Hearing for residents to suggest locations where traffic signs are needed.


A discussion of right-of-way needed for the state to develop and maintain the roads of the Village was conducted.  Two meetings  were proposed where residents can discuss with DOT representatives the issue of right-of-way. Councilman Wallace stated that Councilman Iobst has compiled a list of mailing addresses of property owners in the Village so that all property owners can be contacted and notified of these meetings.


Mayor Davis stated that the next item on the agenda was the report from the attorney in Raleigh regarding the Summit litigation.  Mayor Davis asked Attorney Buckner regarding the Council’s need to go into a closed session for this report.  Attorney Buckner did not recommend a closed session at this time.  Apparently a decision has been made by the appellant court regarding this case, but no public announcement of what this decision is has been made.


All business being completed, Mayor Davis asked for a motion to adjourn.  Councilman Rossano so moved and Councilwoman Burton seconded the motion.  Motion passed.


Respectfully submitted by
Evelyn Rooks-Weir, Assistant Clerk