By Clint Parker
Weaverville – In action at Monday’s monthly meeting, the Weaverville Town Council accepted two major plans among other business during the session. One of the plans will give Weaverville a new community center at Lake Louise and the other provides the town with a new comprehensive land-use plan.
The town council voted to spend $2.5 million on the original design for the new community center at Lake Louise with a couple of changes, rather than either one of the new plans offered by the architect at the meeting. They also appointed a five-member committee to see to the details of the building rather than bring decisions back to the board.
The move came after the board voted down one of two new plans brought back to the board designed to save money by downsizing the project. Those plans took more than a month to develop by the architectural firm, Legerton Architecture and would have lowered the meeting capacity of the center from 135 people to about 85.
Council member Patrick Fitzsimmons first made the motion to accept one of the new plans offered by Legerton Architecture and his proposal received a second from council member Dottie Sherrill. The council then discussed the design, with Vice Mayor Doug Jackson and council member Andrew Nagle explaining that the savings were not worth the loss in space and capacity. The non-voting member of the board, Mayor Al Root, agreed.
Several members of the public also spoke in favor of the original design, including Lou Accornero and Thomas Veasy. Other citizens asked that the board stop “dragging their feet” and start building a new community center. When a vote was called, Fitzsimmons was the only one to vote for his motion.
Nagle then made the motion that eventually was accepted and called for using the original plan modified by taking out the planned fireplace and the sprinkler system. The action was second by Jackson and after some discussion by the board members and the public, his motion passed unanimously. The vote was met with applause from the audience. Weaverville Town Manager Selena Coffey estimates that the town has been losing $12,000 per month in rising construction costs because of the delay.
The second plan adopted by the board is the new comprehensive land-use plan, which has been under development for months. Weaverville Planner James Eller presented the plan with little fanfare but to say the task had been completed with the council’s five main priorities in mind. Weaverville Planning and Zoning Chairman Doug Theroux was on hand to add his endorsement of the document as the chair of that board.
In other items at the meeting, the board passed the consent agenda. The agenda contained the town’s year-end tax report/settlement, a budget amendment for a FEMA reimbursement ($38,137.89) and approved the closure of Main Street for the annual North Buncombe Homecoming Parade on October 11 from 4 pm until 5:30 pm.
In the town manager’s report, Coffey reported to the board that new carpet had been installed in the council meeting room, repaving of Church Street had been completed and the Fourth of July celebration went as well as could be hoped. At least two members of the community complained about the Fourth of July’s fireworks, saying they were too loud and shook their homes. Howard Dusenburg asked the town to look into a light and laser show for next year and Linda McLean also asked for an alternative to the fireworks as the loud sounds terrified her pets. She also said the sounds were harmful to area wildlife.
Coffey also mentioned that the Buncombe County Board of Elections asked to consolidate the four voting places in the Weaverville area into one, which they estimated could save the town about $2,000 per election. Questions from the council arose from that proposal, which Coffey said she would request more information from the board of elections and report back to