What’s new on the plateau

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Patrick Taylor – Highlands Mayor

The agenda for tonight’s [Thursday] July meeting of the Highlands Town Board of Commissioners is full. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Highlands Conference Center next to the ball field. The first item on the agenda will be the public comment period.

There will also be an introduction of the physicians of the newly opened Blue Ridge Health Clinic. Robin Tindall, the director of the Highlands Cashiers Health Foundation, will make the introductions. The health foundation has invested several million dollars to set up the clinic and staff it with these primary care doctors.

On the agenda is a public hearing to change the zoning of a property on 4th Street from B-3 to R-1. Following the public hearing the board will take action on this zoning request.

Another item on the agenda will be an update on the 3rd Street sidewalk proposal that was made at a previous meeting. The proposal requests the demolition and removal of the sidewalk which is connected to the corner building on 3rd and Main Street . The space would then be converted to additional B-1 parking spaces.  At the initial meeting, questions emerged as to whether the sidewalk was owned by the building owner or by the town.  A surveyor has been retained to establish the property line where the sidewalk is located. The original agreement from Jan. 8, 1986, will be available for this meeting. The surveyor report will be reviewed by the board. I anticipate a decision thereafter.

A subdivision preliminary and final plat approval request will also be on the agenda. The proposed 10.39 acre tract is located on Holt Circle. The request is to subdivide it into two lots.

The board will also review the Clay/Macon County Hazard Mitigation Plan.  This intergovernmental, cooperative plan is required in order to receive federal emergency disaster funds.  For instance, Macon County could receive federal support in the event of a major mudslide, winter storm, wildfire or hurricane. Local government entities in the participating counties have to periodically review, update and approve their plan.

Jake Petrosky of Stewart Consultants will update and share with the board the most current draft of the Highlands Community Plan.  The board will then begin to   review the draft and make a final decision at later meetings.  Even with this update, revisions to the draft may be made as the planning board and others continue to process information and complete their final reviews.

Josh Ward and Matt Shuler will give the board an update on the completion of the fiber optic network.  Construction has come to an end, and testing of the fiber has been going on for a number of weeks.  Third party testers are verifying that each fiber in the network is operative. Also, an inspection of the construction of the network is in process. Before Hot Wire takes over the network, third party inspectors will confirm that the network ready to operate. Josh and Matt will go over the process and procedures with the board.

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