Mayor on Duty

The Highlands Town Board meeting is tonight at 7 p.m. It will be held at the Highlands Conference Center next to the ball field. The agenda is very light.

Because we have only a few business items, I have placed a discussion of VRBO and vacation rentals on the agenda.  Here is an update on where the process stands.

First, there is no proposed ordinance at this point. The land use committee has not met to consider the issue. The town staff and myself have been doing research on Air B&B and VRBO.  We have looked at what actions other communities have taken around the state and country. Our planner has also studied related materials from the N.C. School of Government. 

At tonight’s meeting our town manager and planner will present an informational report.  They will review what other towns have implemented as Air B&B and VRBO ordinances.  There are a wide range of options. They will also review what is legally permit able. Our town attorney will provide feedback.

VRBO and Air B&B was the topic of my last community coffee. Members of the board and I want more public feedback before the staff and public works committee grapples with the issue. Tonight’s meeting will provide time for public comment. 

Here is my plan. Prior to the meeting folks wishing to make brief comments, 5 minutes or less, should see me and signup on a list. After the staff and board discusses the iss

The project will look a quasi-public hearing. I will not recognize multiple impromptu responses from the audience. So, if anyone wants to weigh in on the issue, be sure to see me and signup before the meeting begins.

Also, folks have already contacted me about their view on VRBO and Air B&B. If a citizen is uncomfortable about making a public comment, please know I or the Board of Commissioners can be contacted in a confidential, nonpublic manner. It is a fundamental principle of a constitutional republic that citizens can confidentially express their views about an issue.

This concept brings me to my next topic. I recently came to my desk and found a letter with no return address. I opened it to discover the letter was unsigned and from a person from out of town. The letter stated they drove up Sunset Rock Road and were upset that it was not maintained better.

A sign placed at the trailhead of Sunset Rock warning motorist to drive the road at their own risk.

I would have been happy to respond privately to the person. Since I do not know their name, I will do it publicly. The board reviewed this issue last year and discovered Sunset was not a Town road, and for the Town to continue graveling the road was not good environment policy. The sign pictured below was placed at the beginning of the road to warn motorist. I wish the anonymous writer would have read and comprehended the sign.

  • Town of Highlands Mayor Pat Taylor

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