Oct. 3 Letters to the Editor

Fred McCormick
Black Mountain News

Urging leaders of Swannanoa Valley nonprofits to work together to find new location

This letter is written to express sincere appreciation to two of our not-for-profit organizations that provide important services to families of the Swannanoa Valley. The Children and Friends Enrichment Center offers affordable child and day care while Bounty and Soul brings fresh produce to the people via several markets held every week including one for the families at the Day Care Center.

Both organizations are hampered with current facilities that are inadequate to provide the quality and quantity of desired services to the valley. There is one available venue that has the potential to meet the current and future needs for both organizations under one massive roof - that is the former Bi-Lo store. There is safe and convenient access, ample parking, loading docks, along with plenty of open space for a garden and playground behind the building. I am sure that our town's planning and zoning staff can help with the technical details involved in this re-purposing of the old supermarket.

I urge the leaders of both organizations to look at this opportunity with a fresh lens, fully knowing that a lot of time and effort has already been spent on a location inside Veterans Park. It is very evident many citizens are passionately opposed to this concept, that the time frame is unrealistic and that not enough funds have been raised to build a new facility, let alone cover the site development and infrastructure costs.

Collaboration between two entities requires open minds, patience and humility. In this case the potential shared location could be a game changer for both organizations; vastly improving efficiency, safety, and ability to grow their scope of services.

I hope this suggestion can be accepted and considered as it is offered; simply with an intent to slow down this process and think about the greater good for our community. Thank you.

Lee Reading

Black Mountain

Problems with code enforcement

Black Mountain has codes and ordinances to provide order and protect property values.  Property owners expect town employees to enforce those codes and ordinances.  Ordinances pertaining to requirements for accessory buildings located within the 30-foot stream buffer are not being enforced. 

The accessory building in question does not meet the requirements for Section 8.2 The Phase II Stormwater Ordinance: specifically 8.2.10 General Standards A (see Black Mountain Muni Code): "All built-upon area shall be at a minimum of 30 feet landward on all sides of any surface water as measured horizontally on a line perpendicular to a vertical line marking the edge of the top of the bank..."    

The accessory structure permit applicatin should not have been granted because stormwater buffer requirements were not met. 

The 30-foot buffer requirement is also referenced in Section 4.3 Provisions Governing Lots, specifically 4.3.2 Lot Access E.  

The 30-foot surface water setback requirement was said to be vague and did not apply to the accessory building in question. The same "vague" code was applied to two recent developments in town.  The ordinance governing the 30-foot surface water buffer requirement has been applied since July 1, 2007. (See Section 8.2.7 effective date and transitional provisions)

Why is our code not being applied uniformly and equally to everyone?  

Elaine Loutzenheiser

Black Mountain