Town Council reviews zoning ordinance changes, Owen Pool remains closed

Ty Roush
Black Mountain News
Black Mountain will review adjustments to its zoning ordinances during a June 14 meeting.

Town Council will review state-mandated changes to the Black Mountain Code of Ordinances during a June 14 meeting. The governing body reviewed all changes to its zoning ordinances during a May 27 special call meeting.

Black Mountain-based attorney Anna Stearns, who works alongside town attorney Ron Sneed, presented all changes to council members.

All changes and revisions are required by Chapter 160D of the North Carolina General Statutes, which requires county governments to consolidate city and county land use ordinances.

All current zoning and uses listed by current standards will not change under Chapter 160D, only the application process for conditional zoning requests.

“Your first reaction is that there’s a lot of changes and it’s real complicated for people, but the real objective … is that it makes it simpler for the (conditional permit) applicant,” Mayor Larry Harris said. “Because it’s simpler for the applicant, it makes it simpler for the town to process it as well.”

The statute also requires Black Mountain to implement definitions for conflicts of interest within the town’s committees and boards. Conflicts are defined as when “the decision-maker has ‘a close familial, business, or other associational relationship’ with the applicant or other person subject to the decision.”

“That’s everybody in town,” council member Pam King joked.

 If the town does not adopt changes to work alongside the statute before it is adopted by the state July 1, “we might have a lot of fun figuring out what that means,” Stearns said.

Stearns added that various redundancies were removed in addition to the replacement of “Town Council” for “Board of Alderman” and the replacement of “Board of Adjustment” for “Zoning Board of Adjustment.”

More revisions were required to realign definitions, like “building” or “dwelling,” that may conflict with definitions defined by the state, which is a “pretty broad mandate since they define things differently in different places,” Stearns said.

The town will hold a public hearing to finalize and adopt all revisions.

Owen Pool to remain closed

Owen Pool is the only Buncombe County Recreation Services pool to remain closed, BCRS says.

Of the five public pools operated by Buncombe County Recreation Services, Owen Pool is the only one to not open May 29. The county states on its website that the pool will open at a later date “in the summer following repairs to extend its lifetime usability.”

Director of BCRS Peyton O’Conner did not respond to a Black Mountain News inquiry regarding the repairs.