Black Mountain to annex Brooks Cove Road property, town charter changes imminent

Ty Roush
Black Mountain News
Black Mountain Town Hall

A 16.5-acre Brooks Cove Road property will be voluntarily annexed into Black Mountain and rezoned as urban residential, the Board of Aldermen unanimously decided.

Property owner William Honeycutt, represented by Planning Board member Jesse Gardner, says the plan for the property is to build 45-50 single-family homes. Gardner, who defined himself as the project engineer, said he was prepared for either outcome of the Board of Aldermen’s Feb. 8 vote.

“We’re happy whether we stay county and develop under county guidelines, or if you guys decide to annex, I would ask that you annex what we requested, which was UR-8,” Gardner said.

An urban residential designation, or UR-8, allows for eight units per acre.

Gardner, who recused himself from the Planning Board’s approval of Honeycutt’s request, said the area would be used to develop affordable housing opportunities on Black Mountain’s western edge.

“We’re trying to build affordable communities in the Black Mountain area to provide housing both for families, seniors, first-time home buyers, all of the above,” he said.

William Honeycutt's property in relation to other nearby UR-8 plots.

The property previously sat on Buncombe County’s eastern edge in unincorporated territory. Honeycutt’s initial request to be annexed into Black Mountain noted a goal to gain access to town water.

Town manager Josh Harrold said the property would still have access to town water if the annexation vote did not pass.

“If someone wanted water, and we had the capacity and adequacy to do that, we would sell them water,” Harrold said.

Vice mayor Ryan Stone said prior to the board’s vote that it should consider “what would be more beneficial to the community overall.” Annexing the property could lead to additional town income, he said.

Stone offered his support for Honeycutt’s request as “it does make a lot of sense” to annex the property and rezone it as urban residential, though “we do have the capacity” to sell town water.

William Honeycutt's land off of Brooks Cove Road.

“We know that, as a community, we need some level of growth to maintain our low tax rates, to maintain the services for the people that we’ve got here,” Stone said. “We also know that we don’t want to interfere with the existing character of somebody’s neighborhood.”

Concerns over the size of the dead-end road, which features 17 homes, and potential traffic hazards were raised by citizen comments.

Both Owen High School head football coach Nathan Padgett and his brother, Steve, suggested that the proposed developments would not be supported by adequate stormwater infrastructure.

Gardner agreed during the Board of Alderman’s Jan. 11 meeting that while the road is “two feet short of normal,” access to town funding would allow the development of proper infrastructure to alleviate potential flooding issues.

Town attorney Ron Sneed says the board may need to consider a future proposal to establish conditional zoning, where rezoning requests would be based on what developments would occur on the property.

Sneed said developers of the property “are in no obligation to tell us” what they do with the property should it be annexed and rezoned, “and if he did tell us, he wouldn’t be locked into it.”

Town charter

The Board of Aldermen will be holding a special call meeting Feb. 18 to discuss changes to the town charter and a proposed renaming of the governing body as “town council.”

Sneed said that changes to the town charter, which “should probably be a much shorter instrument,” could be made public following a process to “pull out all of the archaic stuff.” He commented that Harrold sent him a copy of the document with two-thirds crossed out.

“We should have a much shorter charter and not end up with these conflicts with laws that we’ve dealt with in the past,” Sneed said.