The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners:
• Passed a new outdoor lighting ordinance designed to minimize light pollution and improve energy efficiency in unincorporated areas of the county. Commissioners amended a draft of the ordinance that had been recommended by the Planning Board, incorporating stronger measures recommended by the Sierra Club and other local environmental advocacy groups in to the final version. The amended ordinance passed 4-1, with Commissioner Carol Peterson casting the only vote against it. She said she supported the original version of the ordinance that had been recommended by the Planning Board, without the revisions.
• Unanimously approved a pair of grant applications for over $900,000 in state and federal funding that, if secured, would go to Mountain Mobility, the county's transportation system. The grants would require roughly $166,000 in matching local funds.
• Unanimously approved a new "wellness incentive" designed to encourage county employees to measure and improve their blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass and blood sugar levels.
• Appointed three new members to the Planning Board: Bud Sales, Jim Young and Catherine Martin. They also reappointed six current members: Josh Holmes, Joe Sechler, Tom Alexander, Greg Phillips, Bernie Kessel and Michelle Pace Wood.
• Heard a report by Tom Rhodes, economic services program administrator, on the county's poverty prevention and management programs. He emphasized the county's success working with outside partners such as ABCCM. He also noted that the renovations are almost complete at the Health and Human Services building on Coxe Ave. in downtown Asheville and said the improved facility will greatly help streamline operations.
Photos by Bill Rhodes