Woodfin votes to end aldermen at meeting

By Clint Parker

Woodfin – The Woodfin Board of Aldermen met Tuesday evening (Feb. 18) and voted to do away with aldermen from the town’s board. In a unanimous vote, the board voted to end the use of the title of its town officials to something more non-gender specific. From now on, the board’s members will be known as town commissioners and the board will be known as the board of town commissioners.

The change was the first item under the new business section of the board’s agenda at the Tuesday (Feb. 18) evening’s regular monthly meeting where the discussion began with then Alderman Debbie Giezentanner leading off after Woodfin Mayor Jerry VeHaun introduced the agenda item.

“I like town commissioners, personally,” said Giezentanner, who was also pro tem mayor. She then asked the only other female member of the board, Jackie Bryson, what she thought. “I’ve never had a problem being an alderman,” said Bryson. “But I’d go with that.”

“With town commissioners?,” asked Giezentanner, who added, “I disagree with you.” Asked for further discussion, a male member of the board said, “Whatever you all want.” Another said, “We’ve been called a lot worse.” Then Alderman Jim Angel said, “Don’t make any difference.”

Then Alderman Ronnie Lunsford made the motion to change the board members’ titles to town commissioners and the term ‘mayor pro tem’ change to ‘vice mayor.’ The motion passed unanimously.

The town commissioners then took up an agenda item that would make it much easier and faster to obtain an easement for the full length of Woodfin’s Greenway project. The commissioners voted to request from the Metropolitan Sewerage District an “…easement to cross or run the length of its existing right-of-ways and easements in the vicinity of the proposed…greenway and all of the parks and related facilities…”
“MSD’s right-of-ways and easements run the full length of where our greenways are going to be,” added Mayor VeHaun. “All the way from the city limits up at Broadway. Coming down…and around the MSD plant. Then coming up, Beaverdam Creek up to New Bridge.” The motion passed.

The third agenda item, lifting a moratorium on development in R-7 and R-10 Zoning District with the intent of replacing the moratorium with an enhanced moratorium, was tabled after Town Commissioner Don Hensley wanted to see what the moratorium would be replaced with before removing what was there.

Earlier in the meeting, during the public comment forum, the commissioners heard from several residents on several issues including a development on Reed Street, which was the main topic of the Woodfin’s Planning and Zoning Board nearly three-hour meeting the night before.

Matthew Martin, a Woodfin resident, was concerned about what the developer of the property had claimed was “a done deal.” “Tonight, as a member of the Jonestown community, I just wanted to bring to my board, [and] respectfully request that this general ordinance for R-7 to R-10, that we all take our time, taking serious consideration, and if we are going to move forward with some of these developments, that we be cautious and make sure we don’t do anything we might regret later on.” Woodfin resident Nate Miller also spoke to the development, saying he did not think a high-density development was the right fit for the community.

A group of Boy Scouts from Troop 4 was also in attendance at the meeting as the scouts worked on a Community merit badge. According to Mac Salley, a den leader with the group, the troop is the oldest, continually operating troop in the area at over 100 years old.

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