Mayor’s Summary of the 5/13/21 Town Commission Meeting

Hello Montreaters-

We had quite a turnout for last night’s meeting.  It was great to see everyone who came out.  We broadcasted the meeting live and also had a number of electronic attendees.  If you missed it, we recorded it and posted it to our Youtube page.  CLICK HERE to watch the recording.

Here’s a summary of tonight’s meeting:

  • A number of people spoke at the Public Forum prior to the Town Council meeting.  Town Clerk Angie Murphy read a statement from Dr. Mary Standaert in which she urged Montreat elected representatives to indicate their support or opposition to HB401 and SB349.  If passed as written: duplex, triplex and 4-plex units could be built in districts that are now zoned for single family homes.  Bob Wynne, Mari Gramling, Robert Hope, Ellen Henschen, AnnKelso Hewitt, and Clary Phipps all spoke passionately in opposition to the proposed driveway project near Wynne-Lithia Spring.  Mike Bowden and his father Jim Bowden, spoke in favor of the project, citing accessibility reasons as to why they need a driveway. 
  • I called the Town Council meeting to order with Commissioner Fouche attending by Zoom and Mayor Pro Tem Widmer was absent for the meeting.   The remaining Commissioners were all present.  We approved the minutes of the April meeting with no changes.
  • I opened the Public Hearing for the Proposed Changes to the Zoning Ordinance UpdateBill Scheu, Chair of the Planning & Zoning Commission, advised that the commission had been working on these updates for two years.  They had wonderful discussions with members of the community and recently resubmitted an amended proposal to Town Council.  Mr. Scheu advised that these changes need to be approved by July 1st.   No one came forward with any questions or concerns so I closed the Public Hearing.   
  • In my communications I encouraged everyone to receive their COVID-19 vaccination shots.  I also mentioned that we hope to open Town Hall up in the very near future.
  • Town Administrator Alex Carmichael told us that just this week the Treasury Department had issued guidance for the Federal payment as part of the Stimulus package that the Town will be receiving.  
  • We appreciated the staff’s Administrative reports and had no questions.
  • Harriss Ricks, Heath Tinsley, David Hope, Mary Rouse, Liz Bryan and Deborah Seyle spoke in opposition to the Wynne-Lithia Springs driveway proposal on tonight’s agenda.  Jere Bowden asked for the Council’s support of the driveway to allow her family easier access to the home.  Town Clerk Angie Murphy read into the record an additional 65 emailed public comments encouraging Council to vote against the Wynne-Lithia driveway proposal.  If you are interested in hearing the comments, go to the meeting recording by CLICKING HERE.  Individual synopses of the comments will also be included in the meeting minutes.
  • There was no Old Business, so we moved on to New Business of which there were six items.
  • Wade Burns spoke on behalf of the Bowden’s with regards to their Wynne-Lithia Springs driveway proposal.  After much thought and discussion Council voted unanimously to deny the easement request at Wynne-Lithia Springs 
  • Public Works Director Barry Creasman spoke to Council about upgrading the Town’s Water Meter Reading System.  Mr. Creasman advised without this upgrade Town Staff would have to manually read meters and input into the system.  Council voted unanimously to approve the purchase from Water Works Inc in the amount of $6,601.93.
  • Public Works Director Barry Creasman mentioned that he had some funds available for a paving project and after much consideration he advised Council that a portion of Missouri Road would be the best location to use paving dollars.  Council voted unanimously to approve the contract with C&T Paving in the amount of $37,669.16 to repair Missouri Road. 
  • Town Administrator Alex Carmichael advised NC League of Municipalities Group Insurance Renewal Rates were increasing nominally this year with dental rates declining and life insurance rates increasing slightly.  Council voted unanimously to approve NCLM Group Insurance Renewal at proposed rates for 2021-2022.
  • Town Administrator Alex Carmichael advised that the Property and Liability Insurance Renewal was up slightly in the amount of $21,662 because of the addition of two new public buildings.  Council voted unanimously to approve NCLM Property and Liability Insurance Renewal in the amount of $21,662 for FY 2021-2022.
  • Town Administrator Alex Carmichael advised that the NC League of Municipalities Workers Compensation Insurance Renewal had decreased from the previous year.  Council voted unanimously to approve the renewal in the amount of $13,421.95.
  • During the second Public Comment period, Anne Hayner expressed her appreciation to Council for their openness to hear public comment.  Ms. Hayner also thanked Council for their continued work on improving the audio for the community members who cannot be present at meetings. 
  • In Commissioner Communications:
  • Commissioner Jane Alexander encouraged the community to look into the proposed changes to the Zoning Ordinance Update.  She stated that there was not much participation during the evening’s Public Hearing and asked for everyone to give it a read through

If you have any questions about this meeting summary or any topic, please write me at [email protected] or call me at 704/689-2273.  Thank you.

Mayor Tim Helms on behalf of the Town Council