Top 5 Highlights from Waynesville board meetingRestrooms, sewers, and festivals, oh my!
In one form or another there was a lot of talk about restroom business this week in Waynesville's board meeting, some of which was serious business, the other, fodder for a few good laughs.
Here are the top 5 highlights from the meeting:
1. Despite full support from the board and community members, Hazelwood's planned new restroom facility almost failed to get off the ground when the town was unable to issue itself a building permit due to flood plain building regulations.
The parking lot where the public restroom is to be built is in the floodplain. Any new building in that area would require the foundation that is at least 3 feet above ground, meaning the building would have to sit about 4 feet higher than it's neighbors, which town leaders feared would it a eyesore in historic downtown Hazelwood.
For a time, while the Aldermen discussed the issue, it seemed as if the project was in jeopardy. All came to the consensus that the project should move forward. As a compromise, they agreed to move the building to the back of the lot, where it won't stick out so much and disguise the height with landscaping.
Although the dilemma of where to position the restroom was a serious one, it was also the cause of some humor in the board room as Alderman Leroy Roberson cracked the joke, "If anyone asks where the restrooms are in Hazelwood, just tell them to look up."
2. Toilet trouble came up again as the board addressed a serious concern by Waynesville resident David Boulay, whose private sewer line at 152 Broadview Street is causing quite a stink in his neighborhood.
The line, which was installed when the house was built in the'50s, is shared by other nearby properties and is not part of the town maintained system.
Trouble arose recently when the manhole began to overflow, spilling raw sewage into his yard.
Alderman Gary Caldwell visited the property to see the mess for himself. "This is just unacceptable," he said. "There are kids living in this house, and we can't just leave it like this."
Because the sewer line is private, Boulay was requesting to have the town take it over and replace the line with 6-inch pipe to bring it up to code.
Because the line is shared by several nearby homes, Mayor Gavin Brown suggested contacting the other affected homeowners immediately to see if a resolution could be agreed upon.
"If they can't work something out, then we'll step in and get it fixed. This is a public health concern," he agreed.
3. The search is on for a new town attorney. Town Manager Rob Hites outlined his plan to advertise the open position to qualified candidates who are members of the Haywood Bar Association. The decision was made to limit the search if possible to Haywood residents who have experience in local courts and know the town well, in hopes of finding a long-term match.
The plan is to send emails to candidates who meet the criteria and are not already public servants, such as judges, inviting them to submit their application. The deadline to apply was set to May 3. By the end of May the board hopes to invite finalists for interviews, with the intention of selecting someone by mid-June.
Long-time Town Attorney Woody Griffin retired last month.
4. Gearing up for festival season, the town unanimously approved the event schedule through the end of the year. Popular annual events like The Whole Bloomin' Thing, The Appalachian Lifestyle Festival, the Mountain Street Dances, Folkmoot and many others were included. The only major annual event not included on the list was the Apple Festival, whose application had not been received in time to be included.
New this year is the event, Rally USA, a scavenger hunt/road race that will kick off on Main Street, sponsored by the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority.
5. Following a closed session, the board elected to move forward with plans to purchase property adjacent to the Recreation Center, on the opposite side of Richland Creek. The property is owned by Scotty Shulhofer, who has allowed the town to use the property off of Woodland Drive for recreation and law enforcement purposes for many years. The 10-acre property has been offered to the town at a cost of $8,021 per acre, pending an official survey.
If the purchase goes through, the town could use the property to expand the Rec Center's offering and as a potential route for greenway expansion.
The board voted unanimously to move forward with the survey as a first step toward purchasing the land.