Mayor’s Summary of 6/13/19 Town Commission Meeting

Mayor’s Summary of the June 13th, 2019 Town Council Meeting

Hello Fellow Montreaters,

We had a great turnout for the “Welcome Back to Montreat” reception and the June Council meeting. We appreciate all who came. Here are the highlights:

  • Welcome Back Reception:
    • We had a good size crowd attend a lovely reception as a kick-off to the summer season in Montreat. Cookies, brownies, and great conversation was enjoyed by all
  • Public Forum questions/comments included:
    • Resident Sally Stancil expressed concerns about traffic noise and speeding in and around the gate
    • Resident Clair Frist shared how much she was enjoying the newly paved Frist Road
    • Resident Martha Campbell spoke on behalf of the Landcare Committee, who had been able to reprint educational materials on landscaping with native plants with the financial support of the Town. She also announced that the NC Zoo will loan a Hellbender costume for a guest appearance in the 4th of July parade
    • Clair Frist led a standing ovation for the Commission over this week’s Town Hall groundbreaking ceremony
  • The Council Meeting began with 3 Public Hearings:
    • The first public hearing was on a request from Bill Sibley to close a portion of Right-of Way at 109 Virginia Road. Mr. Sibley presented on the history of Montreat rights-of-way and the specifics of the effected properties. Janet Hunter Oots represented the owners of the ajoining property who supported the request.  Joe Standaert raised concerns about the Town’s right to close the right-of-way without MRA consent and the precedent that closing it would set. Mike Bagley, representing requesting property owners, addressed how NC statutes conclusively vested property to adjoining property owners when rights-of-way are closed, and the authority of local governments to do so. Mary Standaert discussed the need to retain rights-of-way for future needs and their present merit as greenspace. Mike Begley discussed the mandate of hearing right-of-way closure requests on a case-by-case basis.
    • The second public hearing was on a request by Ms. Haney to close a portion of Right-of-Way at 163 Texas Road Extension. Again, representing the requesting property owner, Mike Begley presented history and survey details at the end of Texas Road Extension. Acting as the Owner’s Representative, Jim Carlyle addressed the relationship between the right-of-way and the Haney property. Becky Strickland, a neighboring property owner, shared her lingering concerns over the possibility of an unsightly building being constructed. Chad Peddler, the General Contractor for the project, discussed the existing house, the reconstruction plans, and the buildable footprint.
    • The third public hearing was on the annual budget. Alex Carmichael presented a combined General Fund and Water Fund budget of $2,370,357, 14.12% less than the previous year. Martha Campbell spoke as a member of the Tree Board and supported the budgeted $300 for an organizational membership to the American Chestnut Foundation.
  • In my comments, I thanked everyone who attended the Town Hall Ground Breaking Ceremony, and all those who contributed to making it happen.
  • During the Administrator’s Comments, Alex shared that the North Carolina General Assembly had approved our request to reschedule the local election cycle to synchronize with Black Mountain, Asheville, and other parts of the County.
  • During the Public Comment period:
    • Mary Standaert recognized the anniversaries of Allied invasions in Europe and emphasized her family’s and Montreat’s connections through veterans who served in those campaigns.
    • Tom Frist thanked the previous and current Commission for their public service
    • Mary Standaert voiced her concern and regret over the extension of the Commissioner’s terms through the election cycle change passed by the General Assembly
  • In Commissioner’s comments, Kent Otto thanked previous and current mayors, commissioners, and staff for all the years of work was required to build a Town Hall. Bill Gilliland thanked Tom Widmer and Kitty Fouche for leading the Town Hall project. Alice Lentz echoed those thanks and discussed her concern with using tax dollars for dues to membership organizations. Alice also shared information about the Backpack program available through Landcare. Kitty Fouche shared that Tom Widmer couldn’t be there because he was greeting his new grandchild in Chattanooga, and that Alice would be greeting her new grandchild next week.

These are the highlights. Of course, official minutes of the meeting will be available in next month’s Agenda packet. If you have any questions or comments on these or any other matters, write me at [email protected] or call me at 828/669-3852.

We appreciate your support,

Mayor Tim Helms on behalf of the Town Council

The following actions were taken by the Council:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

  • Approved the 2019/2020 Annual Town Budget
  • Approved a Budget Amendments for the current year to address additional needs for professional services, previously authorized capital projects, Landcare revenues and expenses related to fundraising, expenses related to Tropical Storm Alberto repairs, and Urban Forestry Grant expenses
  • Approved the petition to close public right-of-way at 109/111 Virginian Road
  • Approved the petition to close public right-of-way at 163 Texas Road Extension