BANNER ELK — Banner Elk Town Council was scheduled to hear a presentation by Avery County Manager Phillip Barrier, Jr. during its regularly scheduled meeting, but circumstances called Barrier away from attendance at the meeting. Instead, Barrier asked town attorney Four Eggers, who was present for two previous presentations by Barrier of the plan at government meetings, to present on his behalf.
Eggers noted that though the town of Banner Elk has implemented a strategic plan, Barrier and the county are working to establish a countywide five-year strategic plan, adding that the purpose of the plan is for the county to seek input toward ways in which it can further develop and grow in that projected time frame. “In other words, what should Avery County’s visions and goals be? How do we achieve these goals? What should the purpose of Avery County Government be?” Barrier wrote in a survey provided to the council.
Eggers noted that Barrier is excited about the endeavor on behalf of the county, and has utilized the slogan “Together we are Avery County” during presentations, adding that the strategic plan is a rolling project, but that Barrier would like to have surveys completed by government leaders and county residents wishing to provide input within the next several weeks to couple of months, and that more information is available at the county’s website.
Town Manager Rick Owen brought to the council a loan proposal in order to carry through with the purchase of budgeted equipment, including a replacement pickup truck and a compact Bobcat excavator for the town. The proposal selected was from Highlands Union Bank in the amount of $100,000 at 3.7-percent interest over four years. Following a period of discussion, the council unanimously approved the request by 4-0 vote. Councilman David Lecka, an employee of Highlands Union Bank, recused himself from the vote.
In other news and notes:
- Following a period of public hearing, council approved an ordinance amendment dealing with reasonable accommodations. The call for public hearing came during the January meeting for a zoning ordinance text amendment by town attorney Four Eggers. The amendment was explained by Eggers as primarily a procedural matter which gives the town an investigative tool and helps the Board of Adjustment’s position in making
- a determination as to zoning scenarios related to the Americans with Disabilities Act. According to a quote from Eggers listed in literature provided to the council at that time, “It is not the intent of the Ordinance to enforce federal law, nor is it an attempt to codify federal law on these subjects into our zoning ordinances. Instead, the proposed Ordinance is an acknowledgement that we are required to follow these federal laws as they apply to our zoning ordinance and provide an internal mechanism for addressing these issues rather than an aggrieved party filing suit in federal court to obtain the relief they are requesting.”
- Council agreed to hold a pair of public hearings at its March meeting. One hearing is called to consider an ordinance amendment in relation to the town’s Pedestrian Plan, following a recommendation by the Planning Board to change the references in the ordinance referring to the more outdated Master Streetscape Plan from 1999 to the more updated and comprehensive Pedestrian Plan, approved in 2009. The other public hearing was scheduled for March regarding the consideration of a non-contiguous annexation request of property owned by resident William Burns, who is planning development of the property and would like the benefit of receiving water and sewer services in front of the property.
- Council approved renewing its auditing services contract with CPA Misty Watson for the 2018-19 fiscal year at the same rate as last year’s audit.
- Councilman Allen Bolick reported that the fifth annual Historic Banner Elk School Golf Classic will be held on Monday, Sept. 23, at Beech Mountain Club. He noted that Lodges at Eagles Nest will again be the primary sponsor for the event, that the organizers are still seeking additional sponsorships and that the player fees will remain the same as last year’s event.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the Banner Elk Town Council will take place at 6 p.m. on Monday, March 11, at Banner Elk Town Hall.