By Abi Cole
Weaverville – Nearly 80 attendees joined the Town Council of Weaverville at a virtual meeting held on Wednesday, May 20. Many citizens that joined the call were predominantly invested in the discussion of public street commitment applications. Commissioners undertook the meeting that lasted nearly three hours.
A consent agenda was first approved, greenlighting the development of a subdivision plat, the monthly tax report and an audit contract for the town that included implementing programs to detect fraud.
Three public street commitment applications were submitted by residents and businesses for the Town of Weaverville to acquire private roads and make them public. If public, the Town of Weaverville bears the responsibility to maintain and fix the streets. While Weaver Village Way was petitioned to be public by Aldi, petitions for a collection of streets in Reems Creek Village, Reems Creek Villas, and the Creekside Village were spearheaded by fervent homeowners.
Weaverville Mayor Al Root noted that it was unlikely for the three roads petitioned in Reems Creek Village to be approved as public, saying that he is “Expecting significant skepticism that if they were to be examined would meet town standards.” This is partly due to the private gate on Governor Thompson Terrace that prohibits public entry into the neighborhood by way of Hamburg Mountain Road. Commissioners affirmed that without the removal of this gate, the Reems Creek Village roads will likely never be acquired by the town and was voted down.
Contrarily, the private Garrison Branch Road of Creekside Village was allowed to begin the path to becoming public. Creekside Village Residents occupied the entire eighteen minutes of public comments with letters that they had mailed into the Town Council. “The Town of Weaverville would be placing the undue and onerous burden on the residents of Creekside, many of whom are retired if it does not incorporate the Creekside development into road maintenance… This is an equivalent of taxation without representation, and it is a taxation without receiving equitable services that other property owners are entitled to,” said resident William Swartz in a submitted public comment, read to the commissioners.
Creekside Village is a finished development of approximately 155 homes pending approval to be included in the town’s public roads. “For new development, developers must declare whether they want their streets to be private or public at the outset of the project,” said the Town of Weaverville in a January press release. Creekside Village developer Serrus Capital Partners failed to alert Weaverville of a desire for the roads to be public at the dawn of the project, raising the possibility that the street was not constructed to Town standards. This jeopardizes its inclusion in Weaverville’s 20 miles of public town streets.
Weaverville Councilmembers voted unanimously on Thursday, May 2, to proceed forward with an inspection of the Garrison Branch Road in the next three months at the cost of the homeowners. The homeowners will then have a six-month window to fix any problems found with the road before it is acquired by the city.
In another issue before the council, the board held a conditional zoning request hearing before the meeting on a development project on Garrison Branch Road. The final decision was held over to Wednesday night where it was approved after the developer accepted a limitation on only having two signs of 75 square feet instead of three.
Weaverville Town Manager’s monthly report reminded attendees of upcoming events or notices involving the town and its residents. The public hearing on the proposed budget for the Fiscal Year 2020-2021 will take place on Tuesday, June 9, at 6 pm. Two events have been canceled in response to COVID-19, one being the popular June Summer Music Series that usually takes place on Main Street. Three sessions of the annual Citizen’s Academy, providing the community with education on the workings of the town government, have already been canceled, but Town Manager Selena Coffey is considering conducting Academy sessions via Zoom if there is interest.
Weaverville officials have also begun working on bike/pedestrian grant applications to expand biking and pedestrian opportunities in the town. A resolution of support for the application passed Wednesday evening as the town recessed until then to allow any further comments on the two public hearings held before Monday’s regular monthly meeting.
Council members also heard quarterly reports from the police, finance and fire departments to conclude the meeting on Monday.