Board of Aldermen vote on rezoning proposals, Tuttle reflects on final meeting

Ty Roush
Black Mountain News
Vice mayor Maggie Tuttle was first elected in 2011 before winning a reelection bid in 2015.

BLACK MOUNTAIN -- The Board of Aldermen voted on two rezoning proposals during vice mayor Maggie Tuttle's final meeting on Nov. 9. 

Tuttle motioned for the board to adopt the Planning Board's proposal to rezone 324 N. Fork Road from CR-1 to TR-4 on the property's west side and CR-1 to SR-2 on the east. Alderman Ryan Stone was the lone vote against Tuttle's motion.

This preceded a unanimous vote to deny the rezoning of 134 Sunset Drive, 6 Vance Drive and 99999 Vance Drive from TR-4 to UR-8. 

A transition from CR-1, a designation for "conservation residential districts" and the lowest allotted density, to TR-4, a designation for "town residential districts" and a higher allotted density, would allow for additional development to the 16-acre plot. Now with spot zoning, only the four-acre section to the west will be TR-4.

Denying the transition from TR-4 that is "established to allow for a variety of housing types while maintaining an overall residential character with medium density" to UR-8, which is "to promote density in the more urbanized and developable areas of town," prevents the property owners from adding additional density to an area by the interstate.

The motion to approve the Planning Board's proposal followed public comments urging aldermen to deny any rezoning efforts, citing insufficient runoff infrastructure by the property, how small towns "preserve rural buffers" on the outside of town with a more dense town center and how development in the area would divert funds from other town projects.

Additionally, comments made for the Sunset Drive and Vance Drive addresses cited diminished surrounding property values should development increase in the area, the effect of landscaping on the area and a lack of road shoulder space to expand.

Tuttle previously motioned for the board to approve property owner Sam Decker's request to rezone the entire North Fork Road property to TR-4 during its Oct. 12 meeting. After withdrawing her motion, the board voted to postpone a vote to Nov. 9.

No comment was made by any board member prior to approving the North Fork Road rezoning or before denying the Sunset Drive and Vance Drive proposal altogether.

Sanitation and solar project update

The town approved the financing for a rear-loading sanitation truck and two additional sanitation employees to better assist a transition to a new waste removal initiative.

Town manager Josh Harrold urged the town to move forward with a new truck, but noted the importance of two new employees. "I think we're OK," Harrold said, adding that the town could rent a truck while adding employees "is a gamechanger."

Harrold said he expects the new truck to be ready in three months.

This followed an update on the town moving forward with a Buncombe County project to add solar panels to county facilities. The $11.5 million project will provide approximately 47 solar installations throughout the county.

Pisgah Energy Design and Development, an Asheville-based solar energy company, is currently working on cost analysis for three Black Mountain buildings: Public Works, the Black Mountain Public Safety Building and the Carver Community Center.

Harrold said he expects the project to cost $389,000 with pay being returned in approximately 18-19 years.

'An honor and privilege'

Tuttle, who did not seek reelection in 2020, will return for the beginning of the board's Dec. 14 meeting. During that meeting, Tuttle and Jennifer Willet will be replaced by Doug Hay and Pam King.

Tuttle was first elected in 2011 before winning a 2015 reelection. Prior to the town amending its charter in 2019 to hold elections only in even-numbered years, Tuttle would have completed her term that year.

"This being my last full board meeting, I want to tell you and everyone else what an honor and privilege it's been to serve," Tuttle said. "It's kind of bittersweet, but it's time for me to focus on other things."

She says the "highlight of this service that I've had is getting to know the town staff and how this town operates, and it is unreal what they do with what they have."

Mayor Larry Harris congratulated Tuttle on her service before adding that he hopes to see her in December.

"We look forward to at least seeing you at the beginning of the next meeting," Harris said.

Tuttle said she congratulated Hay and King on their successful campaigns.

"Working with you has been my pleasure," Tuttle said. "I'm sure things will keep operating well."