The Transylvania Times -

By Mark Todd
Staff Writer 

County Wants City Help

 

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Transylvania County commissioners want the City of Brevard to share in the cost of fixing drainage problems in and around the public safety complex.

County Manager Artie Wilson initially asked the board during its regular meeting Monday for permission to go out and seek bids for the project, which is estimated to cost $178,000.

The project would take water that now overflows to the east side of the safety complex and onto Morris Road and nearby properties during heavy rains and move it west to Lamb's Creek.

Wilson said the county wants to be "a good neighbor." Commissioners agreed but noted that the entire area is inside the city limits and that the city has already received funds from the county in connection with the project for sidewalks that have yet to be built.

It was suggested that the city participate in the cost of the work.

The drainage improvements conform to the standards of the city's Unified Development Ordinance (UDO).

"I don't think the county should bear the brunt of this alone," Commissioner Kelvin Phillips said.

At the very least, the subject should be discussed, commissioners decided.

An initial motion to authorize staff to go out for bids was made by Chairman Mike Hawkins and seconded by Commissioner Daryle Hogsed. The motion failed 3 to 2, with Commissioners Larry Chapman, Kelvin Phillips and Jason Chappell voting against it.

The second motion was to communicate and review the issue with the city and put forth a proposal to share the costs of resolving the storm water issue.

This motion was made by Phillips and seconded by Chappell.

Chappell expressed concern about only dealing with the backside of the property, which drains to the Goodson property North of the complex.

The motion passed 4 to 1, with Chapman voting against it.

All the board members are unhappy about the way the drainage system has worked since the safety complex has opened.

Wilson's proposal is to work with a couple of nearby property owners, including The Oaks, a convalescent center, to obtain easements and work on the issue.

During a recent downpour, he said, there was water on Morris Road, Wilson said.

Wilson said this improvement would be essential to any future expansion on the site.

The county has discussed the possibility of someday building a new judicial complex just east of the safety complex and west of Brevard Community Church.

Economic Development

The city and the UDO faced criticism during a discussion about economic development. Commissioners unanimously accepted an annual report on the work done to implement the county's Economic Development Strategic Plan. They said staff and volunteers who serve on the county's Economic Development Advisory Board (EDAB) are to be commended for their hard work to develop jobs and expand the local economy.

However, Chapman and Phillips said they continue to hear complaints from members of the community and business people who feel both Brevard and Transylvania County are not "business friendly."

The county lacks sufficient available sites that could easily be developed for commercial or industrial activity, and the city's UDO is too restrictive, according to a number of people who have communicated with those commissioners, they said.

Bill Towler, EDAB chairman, and commissioners said they stand ready to do all they can to help change that perception and encourage economic development.

Hogsed, a frequent critic of what he believes to be overly restrictive city policies, said he had heard that the city is planning to prepare its own economic development plan.

"That's great. I'd love to know what they'd allow in the city limits," he said.

 
 

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