Legislating taste in Weaverville

Some residents just don’t like it.

Vinson Parsons, a commissioner on the Weaverville Town Council, called it “ugly as hell.”

But the town’s lawyer, Carl Loftin, told local officials that, even if people think cinderblock outbuildings and unusually shaped lots are unattractive, there’s nothing illegal about them.

Residents attended the Dec. 15 Town Council meeting to protest a 2-acre lot that had been subdivided into two 1-acre lots. One of the lots is L-shaped, wrapping around the other.

As Town Clerk Shelby Shields explained, both lots meet all the town’s legal requirements: They’re large enough, and they have at least 35 feet abutting the street.

Some residents and city officials expressed a desire to post signs alerting neighbors about variance hearings on properties, because most people don’t read legal ads. They expressed concern that more people may try to subdivide their lots, so additional homes could be built in their back yards.

However, as Shields explained, no hearing was held to discuss that particular site because it meets all the town’s zoning rules.

“Probably it’s an unconstitutional action if you start legislating taste,” attorney Loftin warned.

Town Hall architects picked

If all goes according to plan, the town of Weaverville will hire Camille-Alberice of Asheville to design its new town hall.

Four architectural firms were invited to make their pitches for the project at a special Nov. 25 meeting, including Spaceplan and Danie Johnson of Asheville, and independent architect Kyle Boone of Weaverville.

Legally, the commissioners could not name the architect that night; but a straw vote chose Camille-Alberice.

When Mayor Bett Stroud asked for a recommendation on the architects during the public meeting, Parsons responded, “I thought we had decided that.”

Stroud prodded Parsons for a nomination, and then for the reason he was making it. Parsons responded that Camille-Alberice had the most comprehensive plan.

The commissioners authorized Town Manager Mike Morgan to negotiate a price for the work.

Theoretically, the architects and the city could fail to agree on a fee. But under an unusual North Carolina law, public bodies are required to choose an architect before they talk numbers.

Slow down

Commissioners voted unanimously to lower the speed limit on Hillside Street from 35 to 25 mph.

The Weaverville Town Council meets at 7 p.m. the third Monday of every month at the Community Center, overlooking Lake Louise. The meetings are open to the public.

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