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Director Stahl urges quick action on road to expansion.

The county's landfill expansion plan gained ground Monday night when the town of Franklin unanimously voted to approve the county's re-zoning request for two properties located on Pannell Lane.

The two parcels of land, when combined total about 22.9 acres, and are located at 198 and 256 Pannell Lane. The county purchased the properties, which were zoned as residential properties, with the intention of expanding the county's current landfill, which is nearing capacity. The expansion is expected to add 40 years to the life of the landfill.

Franklin's Board of Aldermen unanimously voted to follow the town's planning board recommendation to approve the zoning request. The planning board noted in their recommendation that spot zoning was not an issue with the petition as the parcels are bordered by the Macon County landfill, which is already zoned for industrial use. The Little Tennessee River abuts to parcel two, 256 Pannell Lane, to the north.


The residents of Macon County may soon have a noise ordinance to adhere to. After commissioners tasked the Macon County Planning Board with deciding the feasibility of a potential noise ordinance, Matt Mason, county planner and member of the planning board, informed the board Tuesday night that a noise ordinance is something that the county should pursue.

Earlier this year, several residents spoke to commissioners with noise complaints regarding altercations with their neighbors. In the complaints spoken during public comment periods, several residents told commissioners about deliberate, malicious acts that involved confrontation with loud, unruly neighbors. Law enforcement was unable to mitigate the situation because there is no law about being too loud on your own property, even if it disturbs others.


After holding the position as County Manager for nearly a year, Derek Roland was offered a formal contract for employment during the November board meeting of the County Commissioners.

The vote, which was unanimous, was intended to give Roland a little extra job security. Until last month, Roland was working basically on a month to month basis and had been since he replaced long-time County Manager Jack Horton last December.

The suggestion to offer Roland the contract was made by Commissioner Jim Tate, who said that he wanted to ensure Roland and the county understands the exceptional job Roland has done since being hired.

“A year ago when we were considering who to hire as our next county manager, one of the selling points about you was the fact you were the only applicant who didn’t request a contract for employment,” said Commissioner Tate. “You were extremely confident in your abilities, your desires and your works to be the county manager of Macon County; it was very impressive that it was more to you than just the money. And the fact that Roland's was asking considerably less that what the other applicants were asking for."

The board of commissioners unanimously agreed with Tate and praised Roland for the work he has done for the citizens of Macon County in the past year. “When we hired you, you were thrown immediately into the fire and handled it all with style and class,” said Roland “You didn’t handle the job any differently than the way we had expected. We are thankful and grateful for your efforts, and we as board would like to reward you for your efforts and offer you an employment agreement contract.”

In addition to outlining Roland’s annual salary of $100,000, the contract states that Roland must remain a permanent resident of the county unless otherwise approved by the board. Roland’s contract also stated that he will be granted an annual travel allowance of $6,000.

Roland began working for the county in March of 2009 when he was hired as the county planner. After serving as county planner for three years, in March 2012, Roland made the transition to town planner to replace long-time planner Mike Grubermann. Roland served as the planner for the town of Franklin until last December when he rejoined the county payroll. Roland earned a B.S. Degree in Business Administration and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Western Carolina University.

Beginning next July, Macon County residents can expect to see on average a 14.8 percent decrease in their property value due to the 2015 tax revaluation. The change in value, which varies based on type of property as well as location within Macon County, will bring Macon County to a .33 millage rate per $100 in Macon County. As it stands right now, at .27 millage rate per $100, Macon County has the lowest property tax rate in the state. The increase will result in Macon County now being the 5th lowest in the state.

Property tax rates need to produce about $25 million annually in order for the county to maintain a revenue neutral budget and be able to provide the current level of services to citizens.


Children were on their best behavior as Santa Claus was spotted all over town this past weekend at the Winter Wonderland celebration in downtown Franklin as well as at the annual Franklin Christmas Parade on Sunday.

Next Saturday will feature a Gingerbread Competition at Town Hall and the second night of Winter Wonderland from 5 to 8 p.m.



Across North Carolina Monday morning, newly-elected government officials took their Oaths of Office. Macon County’s ceremonies kicked off Monday morning at the courthouse with the swearing in of Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland. Holland, who will be serving his fourth term as sheriff, was sworn in with the help of his wife Marci, and their two children.

"I'm honored to be given the opportunity by the citizens of Macon County to continue serving as Sheriff. The only guarantee I will make to the citizens of Macon County is that they will continue to get the very best of all of us at the MCSO and we will remain committed to making a difference. I am proud of our accomplishments during my 12 years as sheriff but I realize there is still more work to be done..."


Legitimacy of organizations top list of concerns.

On Monday night the Franklin Board of Aldermen held its monthly meeting at Town Hall. With a short agenda and no one signed up to participate in the public session, the board members got down to business and quickly moved through the items of discussion.

Town attorney John Henning Jr. addressed the possibility of passing an ordinance that would regulate the actions of solicitors that function in the roadways and intersections around town. For at least a couple of years now, there has been concern from citizens and town officials alike about the presence of various groups collecting money from motorists in Franklin.


Earlier this month, the United States Forest Service released a proposed management plan that includes opening up 700,000 acres of the Pisgah-Nantahala National Forests for timber management.

By designating the additional forest service lands for timber management, the door would be open for additional logging as well as other gaming and recreational opportunities.

The plan has drawn both opposition and support, with the Macon County Commissioners proclaiming their support of the endeavor. Earlier this year, the Board of Commissioners voted to pass a resolution against designating additional areas of the Nantahala National Forest as wilderness areas.


Over the last few months, Drake Enterprises has organized card creating events to help generate holiday cards for the American Red Cross’ Holiday Mail for Heroes program.

From having a booth at PumpkinFest, to partnering with Franklin-area schools, and even getting Drake employees in on the fun, Drake Enterprises has worked with the community for months to create fun, festive cards of thanks and support to be sent to members of the military for the holidays.

The cards, which will be sent to service members, veterans, and military members recovering in the hospital, will be sent during the holidays in hopes of providing a little bit of joy for our men and women in the military.


The Macon County Planning Board met last Thursday to consider whether a noise ordinance is needed in the county. After hearing some complaints from members of the public – some of them brought to tears in their pleas – the commissioners tasked the planning board with making the decision.

In the first meeting upon taking up their new task, members of the public turned out to discuss issues they had with neighbors. One in particular stressed how close her and her family were to just calling it quits all together.

“My husband came to me the other night and said 'this is it, we have to list the house,” she said about the late night noises that are regularly produced by her neighbor.


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