BEECH MOUNTAIN — The town of Beech Mountain approved a 15-year comprehensive plan at its Nov. 12 town council meeting that outlines goals for the town as it expects to grow through 2035.
“The plan was developed by the (Beech Mountain) planning board and planning staff starting in February 2018, with input and participation from the public and staff members from various departments,” the action item stated.
The plan can be used as a guiding document as the town applies for grants and financing for infrastructure projects in the future.
The plan states that the town is likely to grow from its current population of 322 full-time residents, as estimated by the U.S. Census in 2017, to between 355 and 500 by 2030. Seasonal or second-home residents are also expected to grow from approximately 5,100 currently to between 5,500 and 7,800 in 2030.
Under the land use section, the town set the goals of encouraging land use that “maintains the quaint mountain-town character,” respects natural resources and wildlife habitat in new development, focuses development toward existing commercial and residential areas, targets public investment to preferred infill and redevelopment areas, prioritizes recreational land use and develops a plan for the future land use of Westerly Hills and Buckeye Hills West.
To protect and continually enhance the character of the town, the plan calls for straightening zoning regulations, strategies and enforcement, as well as creating small area plans to best utilize town properties.
Goals for transportation include improving access in and out of Beech Mountain. Buckeye Creek Road, a dirt road that connects to the back of the town, is mentioned as potentially being improved, as well as creating other egress points on the mountain. Currently, Beech Mountain Parkway is the only paved road for residents to leave the mountain. Another idea put forth is to develop a plan to make golf carts a viable means of transportation around town.
Along with setting water and sewer, as well as public safety goals and sustainability goals, part of the plan includes invigorating the town’s economy with ideas such as creating pedestrian walk-ability projects and creating more tourist opportunities outside of winter.
Having an interconnected trail network to link parks, neighborhoods and communities is a goal of the plan. Currently, the town has a dozen different trails.
The 15-year plan is suggested to be revised every five to seven years.
In other news from Beech Mountain Town Council, the council adopted the $5.2 million public works facility project.
“The project consists of constructing a 12,000-square-foot pre-engineered metal building with three vehicle maintenance bays, one wash bay, offices, a 2,000-square-foot pre-engineered metal building for salt storage, a solid waste recycling center consisting of one container shelter, two compactors with shelters and a cardboard baling shelter with attendant office, along with various site improvements including 1,453 linear feet of street construction,” the bid package for the contract states.
Beech Mountain Town Manager Tim Holloman told the council on June 11 that the project is financed by a sales tax increase and said the town has a reserve of $400,000.