Trick or Treat on Square cancelled

  • (Lorrie Ross• Clay County Progress) Mayor Harry Baughn, left, and Hayesville Town Council Chairman Joe Slaton sit several feet apart to maintain social distancing
    (Lorrie Ross• Clay County Progress) Mayor Harry Baughn, left, and Hayesville Town Council Chairman Joe Slaton sit several feet apart to maintain social distancing

The Hayesville Town Council voted to cancel Trick or Treat Around the Square per the recommendation of Hayesville Mayor Harry Baughn. “I personally cannot see any way under the governor’s restrictions we can have Trick Or Treat Around the Square,” Baughn said. “I bring it up to see if you all have any other ideas. There may still be churches which have Trunk or Treat and some neighborhoods may have kids go house to house. We can’t stop that. Parents have already told me their kids are picking out costumes, but we have so many hundreds of kids.” Councilman Will Penland said his own kids love Trick or Treat. “I hate it, but I agree.” Councilman Austin Hedden said he does not think it can happen either.

The main item of business for the Monday, Sept. 14 meeting were changes the councilmen approved to zoning ordinances which may bring an animal shelter and veterinary office closer to reality. The approved changes added veterinary hospital as Permitted Use and kennels as Special Use in C-2 and C-3 districts, both per Clay County Animal Control Ordinances. The kennel application will actually be an animal shelter. A public hearing was held prior to the meeting, but there was no public comment against the changes.

The council was not approving the businesses; they only approved the zoning changes which make the businesses possible at the proposed locations. The veterinarian has purchased the former Clay County Chamber of Commerce building on Business 64, adjacent to Best Lil' Ice Cream Parlor. According to Zoning Administrator George Schaaf, conversion of the building into a veterinary office is underway. “She has already begun because she was given the OK to go ahead since we have a broad base thing saying offices,” he explained.

Steve Covey, owner of Creekside Plaza, had applied for the special use permit for an animal shelter on land adjacent to the back of the plaza parking lot. Covey said the shelter will not be for dogs; therefore, the county will probably grant a special use for the property “We are just the landlord. This is a cat shelter that is actually already in operation in another location, but she is just looking to move,” he said. “All cats will come from Clay County.” Covey said the shelter manager operates the cat shelter in other buildings he owns. “We are happy with the way she operates, but the building she has is not adequate,” he continued.

“The new building will be about the same size, but we are trying to give her some floor drains and other things she needs. It will be a much better building for what she does and it is all privately funded. It is not open to the public. There will be some spaying and neutering to try to reduce that population, but no adoptions or anything like that.” Baughn said, “We have way too many feral cats here.” Schaaf said most cats come from the county’s animal control officer. “Having these falling under county animal control ordinances means we don’t have any supervision of them,” Schaaf added. “It is all the county.” Changes to property zoning were also approved to move forward to a public hearing. Both the land where the shelter will be and part of the Blue Ridge Mountain EMC substation have remained R-1, residential zoning. Creekside Plaza and the ABC Store are currently zoned C-1. The proposal is to change everything to C-2.

Baughn explained the next item of business. “The planning and zoning board has been working hard on some text amendments to the zoning book,” he said. “If you approve their recommendations, it will go to public hearing.” Some changes were to be compliant with county standards while others were to update wording. Schaaf said the P&Z board had been working on some of these for a year but had consolidated them for one advertisement and one hearing. “It is good to clean it up so there is no misunderstanding,” Schaaf said. For Section 641, outdated wording will be deleted and add: “Promote the future development within the business districts to service a vibrant nucleus for Clay County residents and visitors, offering information, goods and services, dining and family entertainment.” Other main changes were: • Make childcare a special use rather than listed as special use and permitted use.

• Delete public parks under permitted uses and leave them under special use.

• Commercial storage buildings are under special uses.

Town Clerk Susan Morgan explained some of the items on the town’s balance sheet, as well as the profit and loss statement. A street repair in question was to build a curb to protect a homeowner’s yard from being flooded. “We will need more curbing at some point,” Baughn added. A DOT engineer had pointed out some places where erosion will need to be addressed soon. Some lights owned by the town are being converted to LED, which was another expense. Additional expenses included some dues and subscriptions.

During the zoning administrator report, Schaaf said both the planning and zoning board and the board of adjustment are fully staffed. “We should always be on the lookout for potential new candidates because things change,” he said. In the mayor's report, Baughn said he has been replacing Christmas lights with LEDs when he has time. Cleaning and underbrush clearing needs to be done behind town hall below the sidewalk. Blue Ridge Mountain EMC will have all the holiday lighting they hang converted to LEDs with plugins in time to be hung around Thanksgiving.

During public comment, Sandy Zimmerman said the annual Trash to Treasure sale had begun in the former Matthew’s Mexican Store in Blair Creek Plaza on Highway 69. “The good news is people have been cleaning out while they are stuck at home so we had great donations and we have already made what we did for the whole sale last year,” she smiled. “We may get to stay into October if we have enough volunteers and merchandise. The owners of the center said we are a blessing.” Zimmerman said proper social distancing measures are in place for volunteers and customers. She also said Historic Hayesville, Inc, is working with the Beal Center and CCCRA to hold Small Business Saturday, but on a small scale. That event is always the Saturday after Thanksgiving. “Also, the holidays are closer than you think,” she added. “We don’t know the status of holiday events like the Christmas parade, but we are going to work together to decorate and make the town cheery and bright.”

Currently the Hayesville Christmas Parade is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5. Whether it will go on as planned depends on the status of the pandemic, according to parade chairman Becky Long, publisher of the Clay County Progress which sponsors the annual event. Hayesville Town Council meets at Hayesville Town Hall at 5:30 p.m. the second Monday of each month. To enforce social distancing, all meetings held at Hayesville Town Hall only allow 10 people to attend. This includes town council, the planning and zoning committee and the board of adjustment meetings. Anyone who wants to attend one of these meetings should notify Hayesville Town Hall prior to the meeting so a virtual connection may be arranged.