Mayor on Duty

Saturday will be the 20th anniversary of the attack on the Twin Towers, September 11, 2001. Hope everyone will take a moment as we usher in a beautiful fall weekend to and remember those innocent people who lost their lives.

I know that the short-term rental issue is a huge topic on social media and throughout the town. I have had a tremendous amount of email and communication concerning the issue. I have read and thought about all the emails both for and against short-term rentals. 

Going forward, the challenge will be how to resolve the issue for the long-term good of Highlands. 

There are many questions to be answered and difficult decisions to be made. The town will thoroughly review all ordinances related to short term rentals and consult with experts. 

Legal processes are already underway, therefore, as mayor I will limit my discussion on the matter.

I have been reluctant to respond to questions that folks have asked me on both sides of the issue. I will depend on the review process involving the staff, board, and legal experts to resolve this critical issue.

Also, the state DOT is now reworking the handicap system at key intersections in the downtown area. The curbs and sidewalk grades are being brought up to current ADA standards. 

The work will continue for several weeks and may cause some traffic and pedestrian issues. The goal is to get the work done by the start of leaf season.

Also, I recently talked with the DOT traffic engineer who has been working to change the ordinances concerning tractor trailer trucks on the Gorge Road. Soon, new signs will be erected that clearly informs truckers that trailers over 30 feet are not allowed on US 64 between Highlands and Franklin.

The current ordinances and signs are confusing to many truckers who proceed to the route with fifty-five foot trailers in tow. These new rules and signs will make it easier for the state patrol to enforce the rules and issue citations.

Will the new signs stop all 55-foot tractor trailer trucks from going on this dangerous stretch of road? Probably not, stupid behavior is always possible, but they should help reduce incidents of trucks getting stuck at the gorge.

The DOT will also be paving the lower part of Big Bear Pen from Upper Lake Road down to Chestnut. This project will improve safety on this part of the road, eliminate recurring washouts and improve the problem of sediment that accumulates on Chestnut Street. 

This part of Big Bear Pen will be slightly widened to allow cars to pass without having to pull on to the narrow shoulder or go into the ditch. This project will connect to the town paving of Upper Lake and Lower Lake Roads. The remaining upper part of Big Bear Pen, approximately one and a quarter mile, will remain unpaved.

The town paving projects for Upper and Lower Lake should begin in the coming weeks. The Bear Pen paving will be scheduled by DOT at a later date.

  • Town of Highlands Mayor Pat Taylor

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