Vice-Mayor’s Summary of the September 12, 2019 Town Council Meeting

Hello Montreaters,

This is Mayor Pro Tem Kent Otto writing you with a summary of our meeting last night. Mayor Helms was not able to be at the meeting, so I presided. Here’s a summary of the meeting highlights. Don’t forget that a full summary will be in the official meeting minutes in next month’s agenda packet. Public Forum questions/comments included:

  • Public Forum questions/comments included:
    • Nancy Fletcher asked about the status of the Arbor Lane bridge and lower Graybeard Trail repairs. Town Administrator, Alex Carmichael, commented that both projects are in process. An engineered design is complete on the Graybeard project and he expects construction to begin sometime in the fall. The Arbor Lane bridge is in the queue along with other Tropical Storm Alberto projects, and was recently closed for safety reasons.
    • We also talked about upcoming road paving projects, which include Kentucky, Wyck and Lookout (the unpaved portion up to the old stables.
    • Three residents (Brad Hester, Mary Nell Todd, Jean Norris) had questions and comments about the controversy over the new house at 322 Texas Road. It was noted that the August Board of Adjustment meeting to hear arguments on this subject was cancelled because parties involved, including the Town, agreed to enter into mediation. Concern was expressed that if it goes to mediation, public information would not be available and residents would not know what is happening. It was explained that although mediation is a private negotiation, allowed (and encouraged) by state statutes, the terms agreed upon by the parties would be public information since the Town is involved.
  • Alex gave a brief update on the Texas Road Bridge project, stating that we’ve received the first two engineering reports, including recommendations on what can be done to transform the bridge into a pedestrian bridge. The engineers stated the transition is indeed possible without significant work, and they made recommendations on how to proceed. We will be proceeding with next steps. Commissioner Widmer asked that other options be considered on the design to match the architecture of Montreat. Alex also gave updates on other capital projects. Healso added that more pedestrian crosswalks and signs, like those on Lookout Road, will be added on the Montreat College campus.
  • In my communication, I thanked the Town staff for their work on the many significant projects they have been working on, including the Town Hall, Public Works building, Tropical Storm Alberto projects, dead tree removal and more. We are grateful for their hard work.
  • During the Public Comment period, Martha Campbell thanked the Montreat Police Department for their work and told a story about how Officer Whitson, who has recently left the department, helped her in an incident. Martha also informed everyone that a “bearwise” presentation will be held next month, helping us in “living with the bears.” Date and time to be determined.
  • In New Business, resident Jane Alexander was unanimously elected as a new Council Member to serve the unexpired term vacated by Bill Gilliland. The unexpired term ends on December 12, 2020. Congratulate Jane if you see her around Town.
  • In Commissioner’s comments:
    • Alice Lentz reported that the North Carolina Urban Forest Council has selected the Town of Montreat as the recipient of the Tree City USA 2019 Award for the entire state of North Carolina!
    • Kitty Fouche gave a Town Hall update. The foundation slab was poured on Thursday and framing will begin next week. There is a demonstration board facing Montreat Road showing stone and color selections. We are on schedule and on budget!
  • Commissioners moved into a closed session and returned afterward to take three actions: ratifying employment offers to two new police officers and approving a resolution authorizing the Mayor to negotiate for the Town in mediation regarding the property at 322 Texas Road.

If you have any questions or comments regarding this summary, please write me at [email protected] or call me at 919/801-8618.

We appreciate your support,

Mayor Pro Tem Kent Otto on behalf of the Town Council