Mayor’s Summary of the 10/14/21 Town Commission Meeting

Greetings Montreaters,

Last night we held our regular Town Commission meeting, preceded by our public forum. If you would like to see the recordings of the meetings, CLICK HERE.

I called the Public Forum to order at 6:30, and about 10 community members were present.

  • Theodosia Wade spoke first. She and her husband own property in the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ.)  The Wade’s are interested in building a home on the lot.  Mrs. Wade stated that a survey shows that Greybeard Trail goes over their lot and the water line goes down the middle of the road.  Mrs. Wade asked for assured that they will get water from the Town water line.  I told her that this subject has not even come before the Board.  The decision has not been made by the Board whether to sell water in outside of Town limits or not.  I reminded her that government moves slowly and asked for her patience. 
  • Bill Scheu first spoke about the legal vulnerability the Town could face for building a water line across the Wade’s property without an easement. However, he primarily spoke on behalf of the Planning & Zoning Commission, which has finished the proposed revisions to Septic and Sewer regulations in the General Ordinances just yesterday morning.  Mr. Scheu also discussed the process for naming members to the Comprehensive Plan Update Steering Committee.  
  • Mary Standaert suggested that I serve on the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee. She also wanted some clarification on the September 22nd Special Meeting Minutes.  She asked who the contract was with and if there were more than one contract approved.  Mr. Carmichael clarified that there was one contract, and it was with Civil Design Concepts.
  • Wade Burns invited Commissioners to come see his lots that he has staked out to mark various setbacks. He also spoke about his desire to buy Town water in the ETJ, and how long he had been working on it. I reminded him that government moves slowly and there needs to be quite a bit of conversation around this matter.
  • Mary Standaert spoke to the fact that the Town does not have any obligation to provide water to property owners in the ETJ.  She advocated for voluntary annexation in exchange for Town services. 
  • John Richardson also spoke about property he owns in the ETJ.  He purchased it in 1998 and had permits for well and septic.  Then the Council then outlawed wells and septic in the ETJ.  The Council members at that time suggested that he donate his property to greenspace. HE is glad to see that septic systems and wells will be allowed again.

At 7:00 I called the regular meeting to order, led the pledge of allegiance, and held a moment of silence. We made a few changes before adopting the agenda. Item A under New Business would be removed while Item D would be added to New Business to call for a Public Hearing on the Septic and Sewer text amendment recommended by the Planning and Zoning Commission.

After reviewing the consent agenda Town Administrator, Alex Carmichael updated us on meetings he and staff have been holding with FEMA and the NC Office of Emergency Management about damages sustained from Tropical Storm Fred. He stated that he is hopeful in the process.

During the first Public Comment period Theodosia Wade reiterated that she was hopeful that the Town will move forward with amending the ordiances to allow water and septic.  Mrs. Wade stated that her husband’s family has owned the lot since 1908 and a survey shows the road cutting through her lot as well as the underground water line.  She has been in conversation with the Town for a number of years about this matter and would like to see resolution. 

We had one item under Old Business for a Municipal Finance Software Update. The process for the update started in 2019, but bids came in significanltly so the Commission voted to defer consideration. Since that time the Town has been awarded American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, some of which can be used for the update. We moved to award the bid and approve the contract with Tyler Technologies in the amount of $80,716.

We had three items under New Business:

  • First, a Rules of Procedure Update for the Montreat Landcare Committee. Commissioner Alice Lentz presented updates to the  by-laws for Landcare. The Board approved the updates, which will go into effect in January.  
  •  The second item was an ordinance establishing a Comprehensive Plan Update Steering Committee. By motion, the Board had asked Planning and Zoning to establish the Committee. However, it came to light that the Committee had to be established by ordinance.  So we approved the first reading of the ordinance  and will hear the second reading on November 11th. 
  • The third item was to approve the scheduling of a Public Hearing on Septic and Sewer Regulations:    The Public Hearing will be at the regular Commission meeting on November 11th. Planning and Zoning has been working on updates to the General Ordinance and the public hearing will be for comments on their proposal.

During the second Public Comment Period Grace Nichols thanked Commissioner Alice Lentz, who is Commissioner to Landcare, for a definitive explanation about the proposed by-laws this evening.  Mrs. Nichols, Chair of Landcare, stated that there is more to come from Landcare in the future. 

Then I reminded everyone about Dates to Remember:

  • Board of Adjustment October 21, 2021 4:00 – 9:00 p.m. by Zoom Software and in person attendance at Graham Chapel
  • Bulk Pickup October 26, 2021 8:00 a.m. at your curb!  Remember no tires or building supplies!
  • Montreat Tree Board October 26, 2021 9:30 a.m. by Zoom Software and in person attendance at Montreat Town Hall
  • Board of Adjustment October 28, 2021 4:00 – 9:00 p.m. by Zoom Software and in person attendance at Graham Chapel
  • Montreat Landcare November 3, 2021 9:00 a.m. Allen Building
  • Planning & Zoning Commission November 11, 2021 10:30 a.m. by Zoom Software and in person attendance at Montreat Town Hall
  • Town Council November 11, 2021 7:00 p.m. by Zoom Software and in person attendance at Montreat Town Hall.  Public Forum begins at 6:30 p.m.

I adjourned the meeting at 7:41 p.m.

As I always say on behalf of the Council, your support and encouragement mean a great deal to us. Please contact any one of us if you have any questions or comments.

If you have any questions about this meeting summary, please write me at [email protected] or call me at 828/669-3852.