Commissioners consider exploding targets, property sales, fire districts

By Vicki Hyatt | Apr 09, 2014

Proposed changes in fire districts within the county will bring about 100 properties into a paying district where service is now free, and transfer other properties into a more accessible district, saving the homeowners hundreds of dollars.

County Fire Marshall Johnny Glance later said properties in the Eagles Nest and Howell Mill road area would be placed in districts and would continue to receive fire protection from the town of Waynesville.

There are about 60 properties in the Eagles Nest area which would be required to pay for service under the arrangement, and 43 properties in the Howell Mill road district. The Waynesville fire service charge is currently 6 cents per $100 of property valuation.

Other changes will adjust district boundaries so homeowners will be able to receive a lower insurance rate because their district boundary was shifted closer to a fire station.

Glance said homes beyond 5 and 6 miles are considered Class 10, or properties without fire protection. The difference from being in a Class 10 and a Class 5 can bring significant savings in the form of a reduced homeowner insurance policy.

“The savings vary according to the value of their home, but someone owning an average-size home would save $1,000 a year, a lot more than they would in fire taxes,” Glance said.

District adjustments would specifically help property owners in the Avalon development that is now in the Crabtree fire district, but would shift to the Junaluska district.

Those along Waynesville Mountain will be shifted from the Lake Logan to the Waynesville district under the plan, and property in the Utah Mountain area that currently in the Crabtree district would move to the Jonathan Creek district.

The Haywood County commissioners set a public hearing on the changes at at 5:30 p.m. Monday, May 19, in the courtroom of the historic courthouse.

In other business, Commission Chairman Mark Swanger said he had received numerous complaints about noise in the Clyde area coming from the use of exploding targets.

When just one target is used, it is not much of a problem, said Commissioner Mike Sorrells. It is when several targets are packed together that the explosions become a problem for neighbors.

The county will look into the issue to see if there are ordinances applicable to the situation.

During a work session, the board also asked Ira Dove, the interim county manager, to look into options for selling three county properties — the former hospital that’s been vacant for several years and was most recently occupied by the social services department; the Annex II building which as been vacated except by the board of elections, which won’t move to a renovated building on Elmwood Way until after the election, and a home at 50 Henson Drive that was once used for emergency children’s housing.

Dove reported that contacted the top three commercial real estate businesses in the county and secured bids from them for handling the property sales.

Realty World’s proposal offered to reduce the standard 10 percent commission to 6.5 percent, and to 5 percent if they acted as a dual agent.

The board voted to offer a 6-month contract to sell the properties, with Commissioners Kevin Ensley and Kirk Kirkpatrick abstaining due to a working relationship with the agency.