Weaverville – An application request for Weaverville water for a proposed Reems Creek Road multi-family housing development, just outside the town limits, set in motion a lengthy discussion about the need to revise certain town zoning codes at the Jan. 25 Weaverville Town Council meeting. Initially, the application was set for rejection as advised by Public Works Director Tony Laughter but, after the discussion, council approved the request conditionally. Laughter wasn’t present at the meeting due to illness, but offered his thoughts on the project via speakerphone. Chris Day, representing Asheville’s civil design engineering firm Civil Design Concepts, requested that council approve the extension of the Weaverville water line to the proposed development with 532 units at 212,800 gallons of water per day. Councilman Doug Dearth asked for clarification regarding the rejection of the application. Town Manager Selena Coffey, reading from Laughter’s recommendations answered, “The water is available along Reems Creek Road; there is an 8-inch main that runs along the road. A water line extension would be required for this project.” Coffey further explained Weaverville did have the capacity for the extension; however, the development’s location outside of town limits was, according to Coffey, Laughter’s reasoning behind his recommended rejection. Read more...
The question of possible annexation generated a discussion between Day and council regarding current inconsistencies between the Buncombe County building and zoning ordinances and those for the town of Weaverville. The development’s layout is currently designed according to county ordinances. Weighing both sides of the argument, Dearth lent his thoughts, “You can take the position that we are in the water business and the more water we sell at twice the going rate is a good thing.” As Dearth continued, however, he expressed his concern over existing zoning codes in Weaverville. He voiced his opinion that the situation with the Reems Creek development would continue to be a problem in the future with other developments until the zoning ordinance problem was resolved. “The problem we have with this development is the problem we will have in perpetuity unless we take another look at our zoning codes,” Dearth said. “The two issues are density in multifamily housing; our rules are eight to an acre, while the county rule is 12 to an acre.” According to Dearth, the other problem facing potential developments like the one in Reems Creek, has to do with building codes for egress. “The county isn’t going to change their rules,” said Dearth. He continued stressing the need to revise current town codes to accommodate the county codes. “Why are we being so precious with our regulations when they don’t match the county and they will inhibit the natural growth of the town?” he added. After further discussion, which included Laughter’s comments via speakerphone, council voted to approve the proposed request for the extension of a Weaverville water line for the Reems Creek development under the condition of future annexation of the property and the revision of building and zoning codes in question. Laughter was in agreement as long as the conditions were in place. The council vote was unanimous.
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NBHS – North Buncombe High School Athletic Director Barry Owens was back at work Tuesday, Jan. 26, after receiving a “leave with pay” follow ing a physical altercation with a student at a NBHS basketball game Jan. 15. After an investigation into the incident, Principal Jack Evans said the school was able to resolve the situation. “We talked to parents and some individuals who were attending that night,” said Evans. When asked if further disciplinary action was taken against Owens, Evans would not comment. “We are hoping we can settle back into normal very quickly,” he said, “but, the snow has made that difficult.” Read more...
According to sources, the student, allegedly, jumped down from the bleachers and started to run onto the court during the Jan. 15 game. The student was stopped by Owens and shoved back. The student, then, according to sources, tried to run outside the court and was, again, allegedly, shoved by Owens and backed up against the wall and spoken to harshly by Owens. “Anytime we have an incident involving personnel and a student, we have a policy of issuing a “leave with pay” until the investigation is completed,” Evans told the Tribune Jan. 18. The incident led to a Saturday, Jan. 16, meeting at North Buncombe High School and the meeting reportedly ended with Owen’s paid, forced leave of absence.
Buncombe County - A massive winter storm passed through the area, causing chaos throughout the county. Aside from closing down the schools, Buncombe County Government also closed at 10 a.m., as heavy snow began to fall throughout the region. According to the Weaverville Police Department’s Administrative Assistant Kim Buckner, “Believe it or not, we only had two accidents. One was on US-25 and one had to be transported to the hospital. The other accident involved four vehicles on Hamburg Mountain Road. That was the only thing we had. One with two cars and the other with four cars.” Weaverville Police also took it a step further by preemptively ensuring that people would be safe during the storm. Via their “NEXTDOOR” social media page, which the police department uses to keep town residents updated with police activities, the department made a post about helping disabled and elderly neighbors with shoveling snow. In addition, Weaverville Police Chief Greg Stephens stated that “Kim Buckner, [Weaverville Police] Administrative Assistant, made several calls to some of our senior citizens well in advance of the storm to make sure everyone had food, heat and shelter. Read more...
Meanwhile in Woodfin, “We only investigated two crashes during that time period. We had a couple of stranded motorists and abandoned vehicles. I think we did pretty good,” said Woodfin Police Lieutenant Mike Dykes. Woodfin Fire Department averaged 6 to 10 calls throughout the storm. The first night of the storm, Woodfin Firefighter Chris Dorsey noted that of the eight calls they had, six of them were cancelled en route. The two remaining, both of which were traffic accidents on future I-26, he said, were minor. According to the National Weather Service, on Jan. 22, the day the storm began, a record-setting 13.4 inches of snow fell in Asheville, leaving behind a snow depth of 6 inches. By Jan. 24, the NWS reported 10 inches of snow in Asheville. Dr. Christopher Hennon, chair of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at UNC-Asheville, shared additional data that was collected from the storm. “Mt. Mitchell reported 66 inches of snow. The highest totals in populated areas in Buncombe County were in the southwestern portion, where up to 14 inches fell. The far northern parts of the county generally reported 4-6 inches.” He continued, “It seemed that the snow accumulations increased the closer you were to Asheville. The extreme northwestern part of Buncombe County (just south of Sandy Mush) received about 14 inches of snow. Lennon added that snows like this are not exactly common. “Not annually, but big snows are not too rare for Asheville. Every 5 years, on average, Asheville can expect a snowfall of at least 9 inches. Every 10 years on average, Asheville will get a snowfall event of at least 11.5 inches. The airport measured about 14” for this past storm, so it was definitely a big one that will not come around too often.”
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