Next Meeting: February 13th 5:30pm @ Town Hall

There will be two public hearings at our next town board meeting.  The first is on some proposed changes to our food truck ordinance.  These changes are highlighted in red in the above document.  One change allows for food trucks to be set up in town-owned parking spots.  The board or staff has to designate these spots to be used for food trucks and we do have some limitations placed on us by DOT since our Mainstreet is a state-maintained road and I don't believe they will allow food trucks in these spots.  But the town owns and rents other public spaces that could be used.  Another change removes the requirement that patrons of food-truck vendors must use a trash can provided by the food-truck vendor.  As long as the food-truck vendors themselves carry out their own trash then their patrons can use whatever trash cans they want...including public ones.  Previously the vendors had to provide trash cans for their patrons.  These changes are minor but were based on feedback we received from a food-truck vendor that had issues with these restrictions.  We have responded by lessening the restrictions or removing them entirely.

The second public hearing is also related to food trucks.  It's a change in our town code section for Licenses and Business Registration.  Since we have now proposed allowing food trucks to locate in public parking spaces there is an added fee of $25 for doing so.  I'm not sure how I feel about this one.  I'm a firm believer in a town providing public areas to be used free of charge by the community.  We provide free parking, we fund numerous parks in city limits, public restrooms, and many other facilities available free of charge.  However, should all facilities remain free of charge when they are being used for commercial purposes?  I understand the justification for wanting to charge for a business to use these public spots.  They take away from community use and become restricted for use by a business to make money.  Their use also costs the town money.  We provide power to these locations if needed and we have often times had to clean up after a vendor has used the location.  But it's not as if the $25 fee is going to really make a difference in our budget but it might serve as an undue burden on the business-owner.  We are also committed to cultivating an environment conducive to growing new businesses in town limits.  I'll be interested to hear what people have to say about this during our public hearing.

If you can't make it to either of these public hearings then feel free to provide your comments to the town board via phone, email, text message, or any other way possible.  See the contact page for more information.

Previous Meeting: January 23rd 9:00am @ Town Hall with additional Budget Meeting immediately afterwards

The agenda for this coming meeting is fairly brief.  There are two resolutions.  The first one is a resolution of support for the Center for Domestic Peace (CDP).  You can read more about the CDP by clicking here.  They are a local non-profit that serves victims of domestic violence in our area.  They operate an emergency shelter available to residents of Jackson County, have a 24 hour helpline, court advocates, child/youth advocates, provide disability services, language services, and more.  This resolution is simply an acknowledgment of their valuable role in our community and will perhaps help them secure more funding.  If you are part of an organization or non-profit that serves the Sylva area then come to a meeting and let us know about what you do.  We are approached by a lot of people seeking assistance for various issues and it's good for us to be aware of what services are available so we can direct people towards them.

The other resolution was a request by somebody in public comments and it pertains to H.R.763 which is a carbon tax house-bill.  They wanted a resolution of support added as an agenda item for possible adoption.  It would be a symbolic resolution in support of HR763 since the Town of Sylva has no authority to tax carbon.  The important take-away here is that when you have an issue you are passionate about and want to bring more attention to it then you can always come to us for a resolution request.  Numerous organizations have done this in the past (Canary Coalition, NAACP, etc).  We will listen and if it is something we feel is worthy of debate then we will add it to our agenda.  These resolutions can be helpful for a number of reasons as they not only bring attention to your cause but they can also be used to help secure funding and get grants.  If you would like to provide your input on this request then let us know!

Also, immediately following the regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday morning the Town of Sylva will hold our first budget meeting.  This is a planning session where we go over our goals for the year and is fairly preliminary.  It is open to the public and you can learn a lot about our budget in the process.  It's good for folks to attend and if you have any input on what you want to see the Town of Sylva fund this year (or not fund) then please let us know!

Results From Jan 9th Meeting

Agenda Item 2: Fee Schedule Amendment


POST-MEETING UPDATE: Fee Schedule Amendment Passed

I attended an informational session at City Lights Cafe a few months ago on recycling.  It was hosted by the county and was meant to provide information on what items can be recycled, which items can't, and what we can do to decrease the percentage of waste we produce in the county and increase the amount we recycle.  It was a great event and as I sat there and listened to people's questions and comments I realized that the town could be doing more to encourage its residents to recycle.  Someone suggested requiring landlords to provide their tenants with recycling bins if they live in city limits.  We already require landlords to provide their tenants with a trash bin for town pickup so it seemed like a good idea.  Perhaps this would increase the number of people in town limits who recycle by giving them free access to all of the facilities needed.  I asked for this to become an agenda item to be discussed by the board as a whole. 


That item is not on the agenda yet (still waiting...) but there is a proposed amendment to the fee schedule which, I'm guessing, is being made to help accommodate this potential future change to our ordinance.  I'll have to wait to hear from staff as to their thinking on this but it seems like it is to make purchasing and maintaining recycling bins easier.  Previously, you only had the option of purchasing an entire set of recycling bins from the town.  This included the blue bin for glass/plastic and the brown bin for paper and also included two lids.  So the change to the fee schedule is to provide for the purchasing of a single blue or brown container or a single lid.  Really nothing major here but the reason why it is on the agenda is a little more interesting.

If you would like to weigh in on whether or not Sylva should require landlords to provide recycling bins for their tenants then feel free to send me a message on my Facebook page, through the contact form on this website, by emailing me at, or calling/texting me at 828-399-1462.  Also, if you have any other ideas for how the town could help encourage recycling then don't hesitate to let me know.  If the board does agree to change the ordinances to require this then there will be a public hearing during which you can also voice your opinion.  There's also ALWAYS a public comment period before every meeting. 


Also, I would like to remind people that recycling pickup for town residents is FREE.  All you need to do is place your recycling in a bin at the end of your driveway on the same day that trash is picked up.  Please separate your glass and plastic from paper and place them in two different bins, blue for the glass and plastic, and brown for the paper.  You can purchase these bins at town hall for $30 (or a number of other places).  I'm also very impressed that you just read four whole paragraphs on perhaps the most mundane change to a fee schedule possible.  Thanks.

Agenda Item 4: Planning Board Appointment


This agenda item is more important.  We have two vacant seats on the Sylva Planning Board.  The Sylva Planning Board is an advisory board to the Sylva Town Board that weighs in on very important decisions that impact ordinances, zoning, land use, development, and many other significant issues.  It's not often that we have two vacant seats on this board.  We have received four applications: Alan Brown, Geoffrey Hirsch, Luther Jones, and Melissa Madrona.  You can view these applications at the bottom of the agenda attached above.  If you would like to apply for this position it is not too late!  Fill out your application and email it in before the meeting, or even better bring it to the meeting!  If you would like to provide your opinion on who you would like to see on the Sylva Planning Board then feel free to let me know.

Meeting Results from 11/14/2019 5:30pm @ Town Hall
Agenda Item #1: TWSA Board Appointment
Earlier this year we appointed Mick McCardle, owner of LuLu's Restaurant, to the TWSA Board of Directors.  Since he was appointed mid-term his seat is up already.  He has been an excellent member of that board and expressed interest in remaining on the board.  We voted unanimously to reappoint him to a three-year term on the board.  If you are interested in applying for the next vacancy on the TWSA board of directors (the Town of Sylva has three appointments to the board) then fill out the application available on the Town of Sylva website by clicking here.
Agenda Item #2: Railroad Avenue Traffic Pattern
Now that Nantahala Brewery has opened at the intersection of Grindstaff Cove and Railroad Avenue a potentially dangerous situation has arisen at the crosswalk there.  Vehicles pulling out of Railroad Avenue and turning right onto Grindstaff Cove Rd are looking left to see if cars are coming and then turning right into a crosswalk.  This is a bad situation and one we try to avoid at all crosswalks in town.  Furthermore, turning left out of Grindstaff Cove Rd is a difficult turn to make given the volume of traffic at the intersection.  DOT did a traffic study to help us determine how we should address the issue.  The board voted unanimously to change Railroad Avenue to one way going East.  It will be for a trial period to see if any unforeseen difficulties arise and we can always change it back or come up with a different solution.
Agenda Item #3: First Baptist Church Parking Lot
The First Baptist Church located downtown owns the parking lot that is between Humanite and Landis Street.  For years now this parking lot has been available for free use by anybody who needs it.  The church approached the Town of Sylva asking for us to pay for its continued public use.  The Town Board felt that we had an interest in keeping the lot open as a public lot for our community.  However, the church wanted a price much higher than the board was willing to pay, especially midway through our budget cycle after all our funds were already allocated.  We counter-offered but they rejected our offer and posted a sign saying they were going to close the lot off from public use.  Jeannette Evans, John Wurmuth, Mary Gelbaugh, and I approached the church and asked to meet with them to discuss the lot.  We met and in the end the church agreed to rent it to us for the price the town originally offered.  This ensured that the lot remained open for public use until our next budget cycle.  The Town of Sylva agreed to rent the lot with 4 votes for and 1 vote against (Harold Hensley).
The closed session was stricken from the agenda since we reached an agreement regarding the lot rental during open session.

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