Paving of Cullasaja Road began yesterday. The road will be closed to through traffic until the end of the week. Through traffic will be also be stopped when Hickory Hill and Oak Lane are paved upon the completion of Cullasaja.
The radar activated signs directing trucks away for the Gorge Road will be installed at the first of November. The installation of camera that will photo truck violators will follow at a later date.
The old water tank on Satulah Road is gone and the new tank is fully operational.
Repaving of Satulah will be done this spring. The new water line on Split Rail is also completed and repaving of Split Rail will also be done in early spring.
If you see crews attaching lines on our utility poles, they are more than likely workers for JB & L, the contractor building the fiber optic network. The estimated completion is sometime in April.
In the next couple of weeks, the Land Use committee will meet to begin reviewing the short-term rental issue. The date of the first meeting is TBA. Feel free to call town hall at 828.526.2118 for the scheduled time.
The bear resistant commercial toters have arrived. Our staff will soon assemble the wheels and then deploy the toters. The toters have an imprinted town logo to deter theft. Our public works staff will be working with merchants who use dumpsters located on public right of way in transitioning to the mobile toters. Businesses who want to continue using a dumpster can have them relocated on their property at a site where the garbage truck can access the dumpster.
Next week I, along with staff and Commissioner Brian Stiehler, will be meeting with NCDOT staff concerning several possible projects around town. The projects are small improvements initiatives, not major road projects. We want to look at improving several intersections and adding sidewalks to the main corridors. The challenge will be securing approval and funding from DOT. That’s not an easy and fast process. It may take years to see a project, even a small one, completed.
At the time of this writing, there is a growing concern about the lack of rain and resulting fire danger. State forest officials are concerned that conditions are approaching the ones that created the wildfires in the fall of 2016. While there is no current fire ban in effect here, we could go to that status very soon. As we enter fall, fire officials encourage residents to make sure leaves and vegetation are cleared well away for buildings. A wildfire sweeping through a residential area can be devastating, as Gatlinburg residents tragically discovered in the fall of 2016.
Some may ask what concerns the mayor, town manager and staff during this last part of the year. My answer is a major hurricane off the gulf coast of Florida that usually heads here, or an unpredicted winter storm like Highlands experienced last December. Both can be devastating to critical infrastructure.
- Town of Highlands Mayor Pat Taylor