Category: Town News

PRESS RELEASE: WEAVERVILLE POLICE CHIEF ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

Weaverville, November 6, 2018 – Weaverville’s Town Manager Selena Coffey has announced that Police Chief Alan Wyatt has submitted his notice of retirement effective January 1, 2019. Chief Wyatt, who has worked with the Weaverville Police Department for almost 16 years in the positions of Officer, Sergeant, Detective and Assistant Chief, was promoted to Police Chief in December 2017.  Wyatt is a Veteran of the United States Air Force where he served 10 years as a Security Specialist and Mobility Officer. His law enforcement experience also includes serving as a Police Officer for the Mars Hill Police Department for 4 years and with Mars Hill College Campus Security for approximately 4 years.

“In my 20 years in local government, I have worked with some exemplary law enforcement professionals – I count Chief Wyatt among the top.” Town Manager Coffey stated. “I wish him well and am confident he will enjoy his retirement while spending time with his wife, kids, grandkids and church family.”

 

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New Community Center Project Summary Available Online

Overview

The former Lake Louise Community Center, also known as the “Clubhouse” was a 2,778 s.f. building originally built in 1942 with an addition constructed in 1955. After the opening of the new Town Hall in 2000, the Town conducted a number of studies on renovating the former Community Center but building code issues and ADA compliance issues made this unfeasible.  On August 21, 2017, Town Council voted unanimously that the proceeds from the Eller Cove Watershed conservation easement be designated for the construction of a new community center. The former community center was demolished in December 2017. Land of Sky Regional Council completed the Weaverville Parks & Recreation Master Plan, which was approved by Town Council on March 19, 2018. The Master Plan was predicated upon a parks and recreation needs assessment survey conducted in October 2017 where 95% of the survey respondents indicated that they would like to see a new community center constructed with space for community activities.

Excerpts from the 2018 Parks & Recreation Master Plan[i]:

Approximately 95 percent of survey respondents indicated that they would like to have indoor recreation space for adult and children’s activities such as fitness, yoga, martial arts and health classes.

The majority of respondents indicated that they would support the renovation or new construction of the community center.

Town Council gave direction to staff to engage and architectural firm to develop conceptual plans for a new community center in 2018. The conceptual plan calls for the construction of a new 6,645 s.f. community center that includes space for multi-purpose rooms, restrooms, kitchen facilities, space for the Dry Ridge Museum and activity and recreation space.

Stakeholders

The following table outlines the stakeholders who may benefit from the construction of a new community center at Lake Louise:

Individual Benefits Balanced Individual/Community Benefits Community Benefits
·  Private/semi-private classes: ·  Leased space: (regular meeting space) for nonprofits / intergovernmental agencies ·   Town-sponsored events: Veterans Day, Memorial Day, 9/11 Observances, etc.
·  Rentals-private/commercial ·   Social clubs: Book clubs, bridge, Girl/Boy Scouts, etc. ·   Community-wide events: Art Safari, Tailgate markets, etc.
·  Museum visitors ·   Civic clubs: Kiwanis, Rotary, Lions, etc. ·   Classes/programs: Recreational and fitness, health, educational, financial, etc.
·  Organized parties: birthdays, retirements, weddings, etc. ·   Specialized activities/events: WBA meetings, AA meetings, HOA meetings, etc. ·   Health services: Wellness clinics, blood drives, medical screenings, etc.

Estimated Start-Up Expenses:

  • FY 2018 budgeted expenses for site development: $550,000
  • Estimated construction cost: $1,610,000
    • Estimate above does not include furniture, fixtures and equipment (FF&E) and fees for architectural and engineering (mechanical, electrical, plumbing and structural services of approximately 8% of project cost.

Estimated Operational Expenses:

  • Estimated annual staffing and operational expenses: $80,000
    • May include utilities, maintenance, security, internet and phone connectivity
    • Additional expenses may be necessary based on the scope and utilization of the facility
    • Personnel:
    • Includes annual wages and benefits for one full-time position to provide administrative oversight for all programs and activities including scheduling for use of facility and monitor facility maintenance

Potential Revenue Sources

  • Upon completion of construction, staff recommends the development of a fee schedule that balances encouragement of use with costs of operation.
  • Proposed fees per the following:
    • Variable user and rental fees for residents versus non-residents, as well as non-profit activities versus for-profit activities
    • Cleaning fees for group events
    • Weekday versus weekend fees
    • Refundable deposits when there are no damages to facility
    • Non-refundable deposits for alcohol, animals, others to be determined
    • Solicitation of donations and grants, particularly for museum expenses

[i] Weaverville 2018 Parks & Recreation Master Plan, www.weavervillenc.org

This information and a project timeline may be downloaded.

What about Weaverville’s Water: Fact Sheet regarding the Weaverville Water System

“I’ve heard that the Town is expanding its water system. Is this true?”
Yes. The Town routinely expands its water system with the construction of water lines. The most recent proposed project involves the construction of a water line along Clark’s Chapel Road and Ollie WeaverRoad in order to provide for redundancy and improve water quality within the system.

“Why does the Town need to expand its water system?”
Water system infrastructure projects require long-term planning. In fact, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) requires the Town to be actively planning for an expansion at the point that water usage reaches 80% of capacity and taking action to expand the capacity of the water treatment plant at the point that the plant reaches 90% capacity. As of September 2018, the Town is at approximately 70% capacity, including actual usage and commitments, and routinely receives new water commitment applications.

 “Is the Ivy River sufficient as a water resource?”
Yes. DEQ has determined that the Ivy River can support up to a 4.0 million gallon per day safe withdrawal by the Town and has permitted that amount of water.

“What amount of water can the Town’s water treatment plant currently process?”
1.5 million gallons per day of the 4.0 million permitted.

“Can the water treatment plant be expanded?”
Yes. The water treatment plant was designed and built to be expanded as the system and its customer base grows. A DEQ permit is in place to allow an expansion of up to 4.0 million gallons per day of withdrawal, which will allow the doubling of the current plant capacity.

“Why doesn’t the Town buy water from the City of Asheville instead of expanding its system?”
Town leaders are protective of the Town and its water needs and wish to make decisions independent of Asheville’s decisions regarding its water system. Purchasing water from Asheville would result in uncertain water charges, capacity and availability over the long-term.

“Do Town residents’ tax dollars go to support the water system?”
No.  The water system is a public enterprise fund and must be self-supporting. This means that the water rates must be calculated to cover the operating expenses of the water system. General tax dollars are not used for operating expenses for the water system.

“How is new development paying into the existing water system?”
Water System Development Fees are assessed for all new development and represent a new water customer’s “buy-in” to the system. The amount is based on a recent study by an engineering firm and Town Council has elected to maximize these fees to closely align with that full “buy-in”cost.

In addition, developers are required to construct water lines at their own expense that are ultimately added to the Town’s water system infrastructure – thus saving the Town from the cost of constructing needed water lines.

“Are water rates the only revenues to support the water system expansion?”
No. In addition to water charges based on actual usage, other fees and charges include: system development fees, availability/commitment fees, and other fees as established by Town Council.

“How are water rates calculated?”
Water rates are set by Town Council each year with the adoption of its budget and annual fee schedule. In setting the water rates Town Council is guided by water rate studies that are performed periodically by engineering firms which look at the operational costs and anticipated revenues based on current and projected customers.

“Do Town residents pay the same water rates as those who live outside Town limits?”
No. The Town is allowed to charge different rates for out-of-town water customers. It has been a longstanding policy of the Town to charge out-of-town water customers double water rates.

“Why are existing water system customers paying for the water treatment plant expansion when developers are building outside the Town’s limits?”
An expansion of the water treatment plant is already necessary to meet the anticipated growth within the current Town limits. Offering water to outside customers helps to spread the capital and operating costs over a greater number of users which keeps the water rates more reasonable.

“Why should people who live in town limits have to pay for the waterline expansion?”
The current project for constructing a waterline west of the I-26 is primarily to provide a looped system to current in-town customers in the event a waterline fails. Looped systems also increase water quality within the whole water system.

“What would a water treatment plant expansion cost?”
If the Town goes forward with an expansion of the water treatment plant the capital project is expected to be around $6 million. This is in addition to the $3 million proposed for the construction of water lines along Clarks Chapel Road and Ollie Weaver Road.

“How much will my water rates increase if the water treatment plant is expanded?”
To maintain the fiscal health of the water system, it is expected that water rates will continue to be increased annually. The annual increase will likely be an average of 4% over each preceding year for the next 8 years.

“How would a water treatment plant expansion be paid for?”
In order to minimize the financial impact on water rates, this capital project would likely be financed with long-term revenue bonds.

“Who regulates the water system?”
North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is the regulating authority for all public water systems. All operations and capital projects related to the water system are heavily regulated and monitored by this agency.

 

September 2018

Printable copy of this fact sheet can be downloaded here:

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Proposed Community Center Building Request for Qualifications for Architectural Services

TOWN OF WEAVERVILLE

The Town of Weaverville proposes to construct a new Community Center building on the former Community Center site, located at 62 Lakeshore Drive above Lake Louise Park. A conceptual plan has been developed for a 6,600 SF building with 1,200 SF of covered porches (see attached drawing). The Town intends to use town funds for the construction of this building. The Town is now seeking professional architectural services for the design, permitting, bidding, construction inspection and contract administration for this project.  The Town would like to complete the project by mid-2020.

The Town is requesting qualification packages from interested architectural firms, and each package will be reviewed and rated on a 100 point scale based on a variety of criteria including the following:

  1. Firm experience on similar public projects (40 points)
  2. Available personnel by name, title, longevity, and public project experience (10 points)
  3. Client references, at least 3 with contact information (10 points)
  4. Familiarity with Weaverville and surrounding area (10 points)
  5. Description of the firm’s typical design, permitting, bidding, administration and inspection process, including public involvement (30 points)

Proposals shall be limited to 20 pages (not including front or back covers, table of contents, and cover letter).  Proposals shall be clearly marked to indicate the project title.

Interested firms should submit three (3) copies of their Statement of Qualifications, in hard copy, by 12:00 pm on Monday, October 1, 2018 to the attention of:

Selena Coffey, Town Manager
Town of Weaverville
30 South Main Street
Weaverville, NC 28787

After review and rating of each proposal, the top three (3) firms will be interviewed by a staff committee and a firm will be selected. Upon approval of the architect selection by Town Council, which is anticipated in mid-October, a professional services agreement will be negotiated.

Information concerning the project or the proposal package should be requested by email to Town Manager Selena Coffey at [email protected] or Public Works Director Dale Pennell at [email protected]  .

Download RFQ and schematic here: 

Declaration of State of Emergency: Hurricane Florence

PUBLIC NOTICE

As of 12:00 PM (noon) today (09.13.18) the Town of Weaverville will begin operating under a declared State of Emergency along with Buncombe County and all other municipalities within the County.

What does this mean? It means that we may close or evacuate any area of the Town in order to preserve human life and property. In the unlikely event you are given an evacuation order you will be given information on where to go to seek shelter and assistance in getting there if required.

While Hurricane Florence has weakened significantly it remains a powerful -and potentially deadly- storm. We encourage you to make necessary plans and take all precautionary measures to keep you and your family safe during the impending weather.

You may review the Declaration in its entirety here.

Request for Qualifications for Engineering Services: USDA-Funded Water System Improvement Project

The Town of Weaverville (Town) is seeking funding from USDA for a water system improvement project described as the installation of approximately 17,600 LF of 12-inch DIP water lines on Clarks Chapel Road and Ollie Weaver Road, from the intersection of Clarks Chapel Road and Old Mars Hill Highway to an existing water line near the intersection of Ollie Weaver Road and Monticello Road.  The Town is seeking USDA funds to finance up to 100% of the total project related expenses.  The Town is seeking professional engineering services for two phases of the project:  Phase 1 being the preparation of a Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) and Environmental Report (ER) (if required) in according to USDA guidelines to support the USDA application process. Phase I must be completed in a compressed timeline that allows for the complete application package which includes PER and applicable ER within 5 weeks of notification to proceed.  If funding is approved, Phase II will consist of final design, approval, bidding, construction inspection and contract administration through the final certification on the project. 

Qualifications packages must be submitted in hard copy by 12:00pm on August 15, 2018 to the attention of:

Selena Coffey, Town Manager
PO Box 338
30 South Main Street
Weaverville, NC  28787

Please limit your proposals to 20 pages (not including front or back covers, table of contents and cover letter) and the proposals should be clearly marked to indicate the project title.

Interested firms should submit three (3) copies of their Statement of Qualifications, including:

  • Description of engineering services provided on previous projects with comparable scope and complexity.
  • Listing of specific personnel who would serve on the firm’s project team with names and titles.
  • References from at least three (3) owners for which engineering services were provided on similar projects.
  • Familiarity with the project and surrounding area.
  • Description of relevant experience with the water system improvement projects and USDA-funded projects.
  • Discussion of team availability.
  • Proposed project timeline.

Awards will be made to the responsible and qualified firm whose qualifications are aligned with the Town’s  project and strategic objectives and adherence with the anticipated project timeline.  The Town reserves the right to accept a firm that is most advantageous to the Town.

Information concerning the project or the proposal package, should be requested in writing through an email request to Town Manager Selena Coffey at [email protected]

Publication Date: August 7, 2018

Press Release from Buncombe County Government: Flooding Can Present a Public Health Risk for Residents and Businesses

Flooding Can Present a Public Health Risk for Residents and Businesses

 

For Immediate Release

HHS Media Coordinator
[email protected] or 828.775.1321

May 31, 2018

Buncombe County, N.C. – Flooding and standing water can expose the public to infectious diseases, chemical hazards and injuries both during and after a weather event. Buncombe County Health and Human Services wants residents and businesses to be aware of steps that we can all take to reduce injury and illness due to flooding. Proper assessment of wells and septic systems, as well as cleaning and moisture removal, remain key to eliminating threats to the public’s health.

Water Supply and Septic Systems:
Flood water can contaminate and damage water and septic systems. Bacteria, viruses, or other pathogenic organisms are often present in surface water and can pose a threat to the health of the public if consumed. If well and septic systems are compromised, residents and businesses must ensure that these system are safe prior to use for any purpose.

If there is a disruption of utilities during a weather-related event, food service establishments are required to contact Buncombe County Environmental Health at (828) 250-5016. If you experience a loss of power, loss of water, loss of water pressure, and/or flooding, your establishment will require an inspection prior to resuming food preparation.

Citizens who use well water need to take precautions as flood water can contaminate private wells and septic systems. If the well head was covered by flood waters, it should be tested by public health officials, even if the pump still works. While the water may look and smell safe, call Buncombe County Environmental Health at (828) 250-5016 to be sure.

Citizens who use a municipal water supply should contact their water provider for details regarding any boil water advisories. We also encourage residents to follow local news media for updates and advisories.

After a flood, the safe disposal of septic wastewater is essential in protecting human health. It is important to keep children and pets away from sewage or wastewater affected areas.

Signs indicating that your septic system is in distress:

  • Drains in the house will flow slowly
  • Toilets drain slowly or sound strange when flushed
  • Water may back up into floor drains in the basement

Do not use or flush your toilet, take a shower, use sinks, wash clothing or put any water down any drain until you know that the septic tank and associated sewer pipes are intact. Have the septic system professionally inspected and serviced.

Cleaning and Mold:
Flood cleanup involves cleaners, disinfectants, and pesticides. Mixing household cleaners and disinfectants, such as bleach and ammonia, can produce dangerous, toxic fumes. If you are using these cleaning agents, be sure to open windows and reduce your exposure as much as possible while allowing for plenty of time to air out the room. If it’s safe to use electricity, use fans to keep the air circulating.

Mold after a flood can cause serious problems and quick action must be taken to control moisture. If you have a mold problem at home, wash it off hard surfaces with detergent and water, and dry completely. Be sure to get rid of the excess water or moisture and fix leaky plumbing or other sources of water.

Other steps to protect yourself and others include practicing good hygiene after contact with flood waters. Wash your hands often. Do not allow children to play in flood water areas or with toys that have been contaminated by flood water and have not yet been disinfected.

If you have questions or need to schedule an inspection, please contact the Buncombe County Environmental Health Department at (828) 250-5016 or visit our office located at 30 Valley Street, Asheville NC 28801. You can also send us an email at: [email protected]. More information at www.buncombecounty.org/eh.

 

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Water System Development Fees

Article 8 of Chapter 162A entitled “System Development Fees” was enacted and signed into law on July 20, 2017, with an effective date of October 1, 2017. This new law provides clear authority for municipalities, and others, to charge water/sewer system development fees as long as procedures and conditions are complied with before July 1, 2018.

WHAT IS A SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT FEE?

A system development fee includes any charge or assessment imposed on new development to recoup costs of existing facilities which serve such new development. This includes fees to pay for costs the Town already incurred for the construction of the facilities and infrastructure used to treat and deliver potable water to new development.

WHAT PROCEDURES MUST THE TOWN FOLLOW TO SET THIS FEE?

There are five steps that the Town must follow in order to comply with the procedural requirements to establish a water system development fee:

Step 1: Supporting Analysis Preparation

Step 2: Fee Calculation

Step 3: 45-Day Public Comment Period

Step 4: Public Hearing

Step 5: Town Adoption

Step 6: Publication of Adopted Fee


HOW IS THE SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT FEE CALCULATED?

SUPPORTING ANALYSIS AND FEE CALCULATION

A supporting analysis must be undertaken by a qualified professional firm to determine the maximum system development fee that the Town can charge new development for water system development fees. The Town engaged the firm of WR-Martin, a management consulting firm out of Asheville, North Carolina, to perform this work. That analysis has been completed and the WR-Martin System Development Fee Report was presented to Town Council on April 16, 2018, and is now available for public inspection at Town Hall and on the Town’s website.

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE WR-MARTIN SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT FEE REPORT

The report contains the calculations used to establish the maximum water system development fee that the Town could set for new development. It should be noted that the Town can set system development fees that are lower than the maximum fee calculated in the report.

 HOW CAN I SUBMIT A COMMENT?

 45-DAY PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD

Town Council and WR-Martin request the public’s input on the system development fees as established in the WR-Martin System Development Fee Report. Comments can be made via email to [email protected] from April 17, 2018 through June 1, 2018.  Comments received after June 1, 2018 may not be taken into consideration when the final draft of the report is completed by WR-Martin.

TO MAKE A COMMENT PLEASE SEND AN EMAIL TO: [email protected]

IF YOU WISH TO MAKE A COMMENT AND DO NOT HAVE ACCESS TO EMAIL PLEASE COME BY TOWN HALL AND SOMEONE CAN ASSIST YOU.

PUBLIC HEARING

The Town has scheduled a public hearing on the WR-Martin System Development Fee Report and water system development fees for the Town of Weaverville to be held in Council Chambers at Town Hall, 30 South Main Street, Weaverville, NC, on June 4, 2018, at 6 p.m., or as soon thereafter as Council can reach the matter.  This public is requested to attend the public hearing and submit comments during the hearing.

WHEN WILL TOWN COUNCIL ADOPT A SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT FEE?

Town Council anticipates taking action to establish water system development fees at its regular meeting on June 18, 2018. Any system development fee adopted by Town Council will be effective on July 1, 2018, and will be published, along with other fees, on the Town’s Fee Schedule.

Town issues response to Buncombe County Commissioners joint statement regarding racial bias and excessive use of force

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Weaverville, April 9, 2018 – The Town Manager and Police Chief, with the endorsement of Mayor Al Root, release this response to Buncombe County Commissioners’ Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Al Whitesides and Ellen Frost joint statement regarding racial bias and police use of force.

Town leaders were taken aback by the inclusion of our Town and other municipalities in this joint statement. We believe it to be futile to enter into any conversation when emotional enlistment, hyperbole and nebulous overstatements may be deliberately employed as the foundation for a debate. In such a framework, it seems impossible to have the open dialogues, honest assessments or collaboration across agencies as called into action by the three Commissioners. Per Weaverville Town Manager Selena Coffey and Police Chief Alan Wyatt, “We take it as a personal affront when our Town, the officers of our Police Department and the law enforcement profession are identified as a de facto element contributing to the ‘crisis in the community’. We do not deny the disturbing and discouraging realities of the August incident and the events that followed within the City of Asheville. However, we will not be coerced into taking any immediate, universal actions to address a crisis if one has not been shown to exist within our Police Department and Town”.

In direct response to the elements of the joint statement issued by the Buncombe County Commissioners, we issue the follow statements:

The Weaverville Police Department policies were reviewed and audited in the summer of 2017 by the North Carolina League of Municipalities and their report was presented to Town Council on July 17, 2017 by Tom Anderson, who is the NCLM Law Enforcement Risk Manager. In his report to Town Council, Chief Tom Anderson recognized the Weaverville Police Department for their impressive work in law enforcement and for completing the risk review process. The risk review process (a voluntary process, requested by former Chief Greg Stephens), included approximately 40 high-risk categories, including the use of force, supervisory training and pursuits. Mr. Anderson noted that he was ‘proud to say that the Weaverville Police Department exceeded many of these categories expectations’. Chief Anderson personally thanked Police Chief Greg Stephens and then Detective Alan Wyatt for their commitment through this process. The Town’s efforts in requesting and completing this voluntary risk review process are truly indicative of the Town’s and the Weaverville Police Department’s efforts to ensure the public’s safety and fair treatment and our highest professional standards. It should be noted that the NCLM’s risk review process is modeled after the industry standards and best practices as addressed in the Final Report to the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.

With regard to Buncombe County’s offer to fund training for use of force, de-escalation and implicit bias, we assert that training is always welcome within the Weaverville Police Department. However, any training conducted for the Weaverville Police Department must meet the North Carolina Department of Justice standards. We will continue to use our current training mechanisms that are in place and available regarding use of force, de-escalation and all other areas of law enforcement training.

Regarding the County’s funding of a multidisciplinary ‘Use of Force Response Team’ within county government, the Town recognizes that there may be positive impacts for some of these elements for those agencies who wish to utilize them, but do not see the need for this pilot team in the Town of Weaverville. This applies to the County’s creation of a Human Rights Commission as well. The Town of Weaverville wholeheartedly agrees that all people shall be treated with dignity and respect.

In response to Buncombe County’s proposal to fund programs to create trauma-informed responses to use of force incidents by law enforcement agencies, the Town of Weaverville emphasizes that the Weaverville Police Department already has programs in place to effectively meet these needs.

Finally, with regard to collaboration from the District Attorney’s Office in developing protocols for requesting investigative assistance from the State Bureau of Investigations, the Town notes that our Police Department’s current use of force review policy mandates the inclusion of a law enforcement officer from an external law enforcement agency as appropriate, such as, but not limited to, any investigation of an incident to determine if biased-based policing occurred. This could include the FBI, SBI, District Attorney’s office or any combination thereof. This ensures that proper, thorough and unbiased investigations are conducted.

In conclusion, we wish to inform our community that, in over 30 years, our Police Department has received zero formal complaints regarding bias or excessive use of force. The inappropriate use of force has not been tolerated in the past, nor is it now. The Police Department Oath of Office includes the promise to “respect the constitutional rights of all to liberty, equality and justice”. After our Officers take this important Oath, it becomes a matter of public trust. While we cannot predict the future or whether we will see the need to implement the tenets set forth in the Commissioners’ press release, we can assure our citizens and visitors that we will endeavor to address any perceived or tangible racial discrimination, bias or wrongful treatment in a swift and just manner.

 

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Printer-friendly version of Town press release: 

The Buncombe County Commissioners joint statement press release can be found at www.citizen-times.com.