Town Council adheres to mask mandate, approves new Zoning Board members

Ezra Maille
Black Mountain News
Black Mountain Mayor Larry Harris agreed to follow the county's recommendation of extending the mask mandate through the end of November on Oct. 27.

The Black Mountain Town Council discussed the mayor's decision to follow the county mask mandate and approved two vacancies on the Zoning Board of Adjustment at the first council meeting of the new year on Jan. 10. 

"As most of you probably know, last week the county extended the current mask mandate," said Mayor Larry Harris. "We just need to continue to try to do our best to get vaccinated, wear a mask and be careful."

Set to expire on Jan. 3, Buncombe County extended the mask mandate to Feb. 16, according to town officials. 

Although the town doesn't have to follow the county mandate, Harris said keeping with county ordinances avoids confusion with conflicting messages. The mayor and other council members expressed the need for the town to do its part, especially with the spread of the new omicron variant of COVID-19. 

"I think it's the prudent thing to do," said Vice Mayor Ryan Stone, who thanked the mayor and the town manager for continuing to monitor COVID-19 numbers in the area. 

Harris said a citizen had previously requested that Town Council include a discussion of the mask mandate should it be renewed. No members of the public made comments at the meeting. 

The council also approved the applications of Larry Pearlman and Lauren Dodgin, the only two applicants, to fill the two vacancies on the Zoning Board of Adjustment. According to town officials, due to the board's small numbers, it hasn't been able to meet a quorum to hold session. 

With the two applicants approved, the board can now continue to meet.