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Originally published: 2012-08-16 12:27:51
Last modified: 2012-08-16 12:27:51

Banner Elk Town Council passes alternative energy ordinance

Jamie Shell / (

Following multiple months of discussion and a public hearing on the matter, Banner Elk Town Council passed an alternative energy ordinance amendment to its zoning ordinance at its monthly meeting on Monday, Aug. 13, at Banner Elk Town Hall.

The ordinance describes definitions of solar and wind forms of alternate energy, as well as terms related to the field, and lists application and collection system requirements for each form. The ordinance also details a timetable for completion or decommission of alternative energy conversion projects.

In other zoning business, council held a public hearing and later moved to rezone property belonging to George Meyer located at Banner Manor Mini Storage from residential R2 classification to commercial C2 classification. 

Town manager Rick Owen addressed council regarding the assessment of the town’s stormwater vault project and needs. Owen reported that Derek Goddard with Blue Ridge Environmental Consultants was scheduled to speak to council, but was unable to attend. Owen recommended that council revisit the issue at its September meeting when Goddard could attend and give a more detailed discussion and answer specific questions regarding the work.

Owen discussed the Dogwood Stormwater Project that had been visited in previous council meetings. Owen, as well as councilman Alan Bolick, discussed the issue of stormwater flooding taking place in the Dogwood and Crooked Creek areas in town and of the need for the problem to be alleviated before it results in damage to residences there. Council moved to work on a design to secure necessary permits and hire BRMC to conduct the project due to its ongoing positive relationship with the company and satisfaction with previous projects completed by the group for Town of Banner Elk.

In other news and notes:

• Tax Assessor Cheryl Buchanan submitted a report of the activities regarding tax collection for the 2011 tax year. Buchanan explained the report is per statutory requirement, and council moved to approve the tax settlement statement and other required reports, as well as approved that the collector not collect minimal taxes for the next tax year. Council also passed a resolution directing the tax collector to collect taxes for the year 2012.

• Three Peaks USA Bike Ride asked council for a letter of support to hold its ride through a portion of Banner Elk. Owen reported that Banner Elk Police Chief Bill Burleson expressed the department’s willingness to assist and provide safety and other support for the ride as it travels on Turnpike Road and Highway 194. Council approved to provide a letter of support for race organizers to provide to NCDOT as protocol for holding its event.

• Council opted to not take action in reference to posting additional speed limit signs or adjusting limits within town borders. Owen advised council that he had a number of conversations with town police, counsel and NCDOT officials, and concluded that the process to make speed limit changes and posting the signs was a “near impossible process.” Mayor Brenda Lyerly expressed concern regarding motorists traveling Mill Pond Road at high rates of speed given the dangers of a sharp curve on the road, and the desire to see a speed limit sign posted on the road.

• Council moved to hold a public hearing at its September meeting for the purpose of adopting an ordinance to set a speed limit of 20 miles per hour on Silver Springs Road.

• Owen reported that he had received three quotes for a new table for council chambers. Council moved to direct Owen to use his discretion to select the quote for the project. Owen added that Shaw Carpet is replacing the new carpet recently installed in chambers due to defects.

The September meeting of Banner Elk Town Council will occur at 6 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 10, at Banner Elk Town Hall.