Board adopts zoning, 135-unit project possible

By Clint Parker

Weaverville – Town Council held two hearings and handled the monthly agenda at the last regular monthly meeting on Monday evening (Oct. 21), which included a call for a dog park.

The first of the two hearings was a request to rezone a piece of property along Merrimon Ave consisting of a little over 11 acres from I-1 industrial to R-12 residential. The zoning board recommended the change by a 4-1 vote.
The property is owned by Dale Lewis White, who addressed the board during the hearing asking for the change, saying she had not had any interest in the property with the industrial zoning, but as part of her retirement plan, she requested that the board make the change. The potential property buyers were also present and spoke in favor.

“We believe this property to be better served to be R-12 than I-1,” said Tom Jones with the engineering firm hired by the developer, who was the first to address the board. Jones cited the lack of interest under the current zoning as a reason and the interest they have under the proposed change. “This property being an odd shape just does not lend itself well to industrial use.”
Several community members were concerned about the building density since there are only nine-plus acres available for construction but the developer can calculate the units based on the entire parcel.

Resident Tom Clouse, who lives close to Lake Louise, spoke to the council about the number of cars that would be added to Merrimon Avenue traffic if such a development were built, and thought a traffic study should be conducted. “That is something that needs to be considered,” he said.

Another resident voicing concern over the project being zoned R-12, which would allow for 12 units per acre was Rhonda McKenna. She asked the council, “Can’t we do anything less than that?” She also articulated concern over trees being included in the project.

The council later in the meeting voted to rezone the property to the R-12, which will allow up to 135 units to be built on the tract of land.
In the other hearing of the night, no one chose to give any comment on a piece of property on Monticello Road that was asked to be annexed and rezoned as R-12. Council later in the meeting passed the request.
During public comment, several people spoke in favor of a dog park in one or several of the town’s established parks or properties. Town Manager Selena Coffey, after being asked by Mayor Al Root, pulled her information on such a park from the manager’s report and presented her recommendation not to allow a dog park in any of the town’s parks or properties (see article page 10 for a more in-depth report on the dog park discussion).

Under the consent agenda, town council heard and passed the monthly tax report, a tax release, a road closure of Main Street for the Christmas Parade on December 7th, approval of a planning and zoning voting rule, and a budget amendment accepting a $6,600 distribution from the ABC Store for law enforcement and alcohol education.

Pulled from the consent agenda was the approval of a new cell tower lease agreement. The town currently has an annual income of $16,413 from the tower next to the public works facility, which is leased to US Cellular. Under the new five-year agreement with a five-year renewal pulled from the agenda, the town would get an increase of nearly $6,000 per year, making the new annual revenue from the city $22,251.36. Questions as to the going rate for such leases gave the council pause to pass it, and it was tabled until staff had more answers.

In the manager’s report, Coffey updated the council on the Lake Louise Community Center project, saying that the design was set to go to bid on Tuesday, November 5th. A Veterans Day program that was usually held outside would be held in the town hall’s community room on November 11th at 11 am.

In other action from the board, the council voted to move forward on the waterline extension project by issuing a resolution supporting an application to the Local Government Commission (LGC) for its approval of town’s water revenue bonds and notes in an estimated amount of not more than $2.8 million. The board also heard a quarterly finance report and planning report before going into a closed session.

Editor’s note: Rhonda McKenna, who spoke during the hearing, is the wife of Councilman Jeff McKenna.

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