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North Fork Road rezoning proposal postponed, waste removal service 'getting better'

Ty Roush
Black Mountain News
Black Mountain transition from Republic Services to Waste Pro before an Aug. 10, 2020, decision to develop its own waste removal service.

BLACK MOUNTAIN - A vote to rezone property on North Fork Road was postponed until November following an Oct. 12 decision by the Board of Aldermen. 

The board discussed whether 324 N. Fork Road would be rezoned from CR-1 to TR-4 from the road to the middle of the nearby creek and from CR-1 to SR-2 on the east side of the road. 

Alderman Ryan Stone motioned to deny the request, noting that “increasing the density” of the area “would be irresponsible.”

“Looking at this zoning district, I, for one, am uncomfortable having, all-encompassed by CR-1, these two parcels split into two different zoning districts,” Stone said.

Stone’s motion failed with a 1-4 vote following mayor Larry Harris’ approval for the request.

Sam Decker's North Fork Road property and the proposed split rezoning map.

A decision to rezone the property from CR-1, a designation for “conservation residential districts” and the lowest allotted density, entirely to TR-4, a designation for “town residential districts” and a higher allotted density, was proposed to the Planning Board by property owner Sam Decker.

Decker said that the town rezoned his property from TR-4 to CR-1 in 2010 without his knowledge and hoped that his property would be rezoned in the hopes of selling the property for its highest value in the future.

Following an initial split-decision by the Planning Board, it later voted in favor of a split rezoning proposal for the west and east side of the road.

Issues with rezoning the area are complicated by the slope of the property, planning director Jessica Trotman said, adding that the town’s stormwater ordinance “may come into play depending on the intensity of the development that occurs.”

The ordinance states that the town must “protect, maintain and enhance public health, safety, environmental and general welfare by establishing minimum requirements and procedures to control the adverse effects of” stormwater runoff.

Increasing the density of the property would negate the town’s efforts to control runoff, Stone said.

“I think 10 years ago as they were doing this plan, that board intended for this to be a limited-use area to prevent runoff where we have spent a lot of money into the creek that runs through the golf course,” he said. “I think increasing the density would be irresponsible in that respect.”

Vice mayor Maggie Tuttle motioned in favor of rezoning the entire property as TR-4. She later retracted her motion after learning that adjacent property owners were against rezoning Decker’s property.

After minutes of silence, the board approved a motion to postpone its discussion to its Nov. 9 meeting. Harris said that postponing the discussion would provide the aldermen time to learn more about the area and the potential effects of the rezoning.

Town Manager Josh Harrold said that the town is planning to run a survey about stormwater infrastructure to learn how residents feel about it.

Sanitation improving over time

Public works director Jamey Matthews said that he was impressed by his department’s efforts working with the town’s new waste removal program.

Matthews said that his department averaged 190 calls per day after the town’s Aug. 10 decision to move to a new solid waste removal system.

“We’re still busy,” he said. “We figure that we took 4,000 calls in one of these meetings in a month. That’s a lot.”

The new trash ordinance outlines new guidelines for the removal of waste, including the prohibition of solid waste, including littering, with the exception of landfilling. An added back-door service was added to aid the physically disabled, including weekly and biweekly recycling pickups.

Residential trash collection was limited to six bags or two cans per week.

Despite initial problems getting started, Matthews says that he is “totally with the direction that it’s going and I only see it getting better.”

Matthews clarified that if residents were able to fit more than six bags into the two cans it wouldn’t count against them.

“If you can get eight bags in those two cans, we don’t give you a size on the cans,” he said.

Matthews said he recommends residents purchase 96-gallon trashcans, though he said that the truck would be able to lift cans that were smaller. 

Additional information regarding the recommended cans will be posted online by the public works office in the future.

Stacy Ayers, Rob Austin honored

The board recognized police Sgt. Stacy Ayers and Maj. Rob Austin for 27-plus years and 12-plus years, respectively, with the Black Mountain Police Department.

The pair were awarded “the badge worn or carried by them during their service with the municipality” and their service sidearm.

“The folks that put themselves in danger to do their jobs for us, it’s just a special thing,” Harris said. “It’s very special to have them here tonight. … We appreciate them very much.”

After both Ayers and Austin were honored by the board, it later approved a plan for BMPD to use $88,000 of forfeiture funds to purchase two new patrol vehicles.

BMPD noted that it “has an immediate need for patrol vehicles due to the continued repairs and safety concerns regarding the older vehicles in the fleet,” with no patrol vehicles in its 2021 budget because of the ongoing pandemic.

The total amount includes “everything required to get (the vehicles) road-ready.”

Forfeiture funds are a sum of money acquired by the police department in the seizure of the property from criminal activity. Use of the funds is approved by the U.S. Department of Justice.