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Woodfin holds first virtual town commissioners’ meeting

By Clint Parker

Woodfin – In what was another pandemic first, the Town of Woodfin held its first virtual meeting of the Town Commissioners on Tuesday night (April 14). The commissioners were joined online by 16 others, including a Woodfin Town Commissioner and a member of the news media.

With just a couple of twists to what was otherwise a regular meeting, the commissioners tackled a full agenda that lasted about an hour. The agenda included ten agenda items and public comment and a moment of silence in remembrance of the town’s longtime Town Administrator Jason Young who had passed away since the commissioners’ last meeting. Young had battled cancer for about five years.

During public comment, resident Shannon Gregg asked the board when the police officers could expect to see hazard pay for their work during the virus outbreak. “Shannon, I don’t know. We’ve been kinda waiting to see what everyone else did,” said Woodfin Mayor Jerry VeHaun adding that they would look into it.

Resident Jim Hunter sent two questions via chat: I have a variance request to put a sewer line across the unopened road on Apple Lane so that I can construct two houses. The planning and zoning group was supposed to meet 4/6/2020 to discuss but did not due to the COVID-19 situation. I need to know if I can get permission to cross that unopened road. Town Planner Michael Saunders said that they could not give consent until the town has a planning and zoning meeting.

The Woodfin Town Commissioners voted to install a guardrail along Norton Drive, because Metropolitan Sewerage District work has caused part of the road to collapse.

His second question was: I am splitting a lot into four lots and have discussed it preliminarily with Mike Saunders. I will have the survey finished on Friday of this week and need to know who will sign off on it now that Jason will no longer be able to do so. Who do I bring it to and when and how do I physically get it to them and get it back from them? Saunders said Hunter could bring it to him, which is currently only allowed by setting up a meeting since the town hall still remains closed because of the virus.

The first item on the agenda was the approval of a revised stormwater ordinance to bring the town in compliance with the state water quality guidelines. There was little discussion after the motion was made by Commissioner Debbie Giezentanner to pass the item and a roll call was taken on this (and all votes during the meeting) to ensure an accurate record was recorded of the votes. The item passed unanimously.
The board then voted to appoint resident Don Milsap to the Woodfin ABC Board to fill a vacancy that had been on that board for several months. The appointment was made unanimously.

Next, the board put in place a moratorium on new construction in the R-7 and R-10 zoning districts until the planning and zoning board could draft a new ordinance for those districts, explained Town Attorney Joe Ferikes. The moratorium only applies to new applications and not any that might be currently already approved as those are ‘grandfathered’ in, Ferikes said.
During the meeting, some online were concerned about a possible development off of Jonestown Road and sent in chat messages about it. After a long time, the town sent back this reply: Any development slated for the Jonestown Rd area would have to be approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission. It is my understanding they have not yet approved or rejected that proposal. If you need further information regarding that issue, please feel free to reach out to Planner Michael Saunders at msaunders@woodfin-nc.gov.

Items four through seven of the agenda dealt with the new Silver-Line Park. The board first heard from David Tuck of Equinox, who presented the completed plans over the conference call. “So the bid set can be sent out [for bid]…I’ve already submitted certain permits so we can get the permitting while the contractors work-up bidding the project,” said Tuck. The board approved the plan along with advertising the proposal to contractors so that bids can be received to start work on the park.

The board also approved a guardrail along Norton Drive partly due to the Metropolitan Sewerage District (MSD) replacing a line. Woodfin Town Planner Michael Saunders explained that MSD was getting bids to fix what they damaged. Some discussion ensued, including why the state was not installing the guardrail, but the commissioners passed the item.

The board’s last two items included a motion to advertise the now-vacant position of town administrator and a budget amendment.

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