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People who live and work in Cullowhee are being invited to share their opinions on growth and planning with a task force that is trying to crystallize a collective vision for the college-centric community.

fr movietheaterWhen Cherokee Phoenix Theatres on the Qualla Boundary closes on All Hallows’ Eve, it will only have two movie screens. When it reopens the following morning, as if by some magic, the number of screens will have multiplied.

fr retentionrateThey made it a top priority, but Western Carolina University administrators were still a bit surprised when they learned they succeeded in raising the freshmen retention rate by a significant margin.

The commercial corridor of the Canton exit off Interstate 40 has been in a vice grip for several years due to a maxed out sewer line.

The Macon County planning board signaled its intent this month to loosen rules on development in floodplains. 

Adam Cartwright walked a thin line on the way back to his home in Cullowhee. He hugged the side of Ledbetter Road, feet on the white paint, and frequently stepping off the pavement onto the scrubby grass if he heard a car approaching.

Cullowhee community activists have finally made headway in a push to create a community land-use plan to regulate growth and development in the area.

Jackson County commissioners will discuss two sets of proposed planning regulations at an upcoming workshop at 2 p.m. on June 17 in the county’s Justice and Administration Building.

One of the items being considered is a new ordinance that was written addressing groundwater recharge in the county. 

Regulations previously existed as part of a larger ordinance but have been separated out into their own draft ordinance. The recharge ordinance addresses issues like requiring impervious surfaces for development to ensure precipitation can be re-absorbed by the ground.

The other item on the agenda is a set of proposed changes to a section of the county’s subdivision ordinance that dictates how much of a development must be left in open space. The proposed changes are generally less stringent than what the county currently has on the books.

Although the changes have been approved by the county’s planning board, any changes to the laws must be passed by commissioners. The drafts of these ordinances were completed last fall, but commissioners have not taken them up until now. A public hearing on the proposed changes could be held as early as the commission’s second meeting in July and voted on that same day. 

out frA mountainside in Macon County once destined for a housing development is now destined to be a community forest area comparable to the arboretum in Asheville.

The Hall Mountain Tract is a 108-acre swath of land overlooking the Cowee mound — a sacred Cherokee site — and the Little Tennessee River. Local conservationists and Eastern Band of Cherokee Tribal members have been pushing hard since 2005 to save the site from becoming a large subdivision.

Jackson County Planning Board members discussed axing part of the steep slope rules aimed at protecting mountain viewsheds.

The viewshed provisions stipulate new mountainside construction should  not be readily visible from public right of ways or public lands.

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