Monday, September 27, 2010

Did you know?

Busy times. I hadn't even realized it's been a week since my last post. But baseball games and Cub Scout camping among other things have conspired to consume most of my free time.

A couple weeks ago, the town put up a 'Did You Know?' (PDF) that essentially serves as an FAQ about the proposed historic district. It's worth reading because it provides useful information, but is also a little limited as it doesn't go into too much detail.

But for those with any interest in the local historic district and especially for those who live within the proposed district, you really should read the latest full draft. Or at the very least, they should check out my post on some of the more significant aspects of this draft.

Perusing the 'Did You Know?', I noted a few of the more noteworthy questions. I've included them below with a little commentary.
Will all the houses in the District have the same Design Guidelines?

Yes. However, the Historic Preservation Commission has determined that structures built after 1945 will not undergo the same level of review as will a structure dated pre-1949.
I think some people surmised that the guidelines would only affect historic homes, but this seems to make clear that all homes will be affected. According to this document, homes constructed after 1945 won't face the same level of review, whatever that means. I don't recall the latest draft discussing two levels of review or regulations, but have an email out to Katie Ross asking for clarification to explain exactly what this means. If this information is readily available and I've just missed it, drop me a line.
Do I have to make changes to my home if I don’t want to?

Absolutely not! Inclusion in the Local Historic District does not require you to restore or fix-up your property. It does, however, ensure that alterations or additions you wish to initiate are in keeping with the special character of your property or the area per the Design Guidelines. *Contact the Planning and Community Development Department for information on Minimum Housing Code Enforcement.
This is good to know as it appears to suggest the town cannot compel you to fix or restore your property. I find this a little strange as the current draft goes to great lengths to make sure homes within the historic district look a certain way. Why give owners the potential to let their property atrophy into an eyesore if how homes look is so important?

Either way, it's good that owners apparently will not be compelled to repair aspects of their homes that don't meet the historically accurate standards required by the WHPC.
Might there be any money available to help offset the cost of a project?

The Board of Commissioners is looking into ways to assist property owners in the Local Historic District by means of a fa├žade improvement grant program and other assistance programs to help offset improvement costs.
I found this to be interesting as it seems to suggest that the costs of maintaining one's home to the WHPC-designed standards will cost more than normal home repairs.

More to come I'm sure.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Just Wing It has a web presence

I saw their ad in Sunday's Waxhaw Exchange advertising their new website.

The ad also included a 20% off coupon, so there's a little extra incentive to try them out. I wonder if a printed coupon from the web version of Sunday's Exchange would be accepted for those unfortunate enough to not receive the Exchange.

I'm not much of a wings connoisseur, so I'm wondering if any wings fans have checked them out yet and can share their thoughts. Dorothy Maloney waxed poetic about Just Wing It and The Stuffed Olive in her Sunday column, but didn't really comment on the quality of food at either place. Which is probably for the best, because I can't imagine her uttering a negative word about either place.

So, anyone eaten at these two places? Thoughts? Am I crazy for not having been to either place yet?

New Waxhaw Gazette released

Being busy with everything else going on, I forgot to mention last Friday's new issue of the Waxhaw Gazette.

John's changed his format a bit, so it's now possible to link straight to a story with a unique URL that should remain long after an issue is released, so Waxhaw bloggers everywhere are celebrating this development.

In this issue, John pines for a traffic light amidst the construction on Providence Road. As for me, I'd be happy if they could throw in that turning light at 16/75, but if you check out this site occasionally, you probably already knew that. (And since I've brought it up, NC DOT should be just about finished with the traffic counts scheduled at that intersection. I'll update when I hear anything as to the result.)

He also has an interesting piece on the history of business in America. I'm not sure I agree with everything in it, especially the part suggesting America is trending towards what Russia has become. Either way, it's worth checking out.

Waxhaw's code of ordinances

The town has placed their code of ordinances online.

It's available here.

Just a little light reading for those interested in finding out exactly what is and isn't legal in Waxhaw.

Waxhaw Exchange looking for opinionated locals

The Waxhaw Exchange is on the look out for opinionated locals.

Calling all opinionated souls

I've noticed this call for a little while now, so if you're looking to provide some balance to the Waxhaw Exchange editorial page or just want to expound upon issues of great import to Waxhaw, perhaps you should contact Alan.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A design what?

A design charrette.

The town is promoting a design charrette to help create a brand for the town of Waxhaw. Sherri Phengchard of the Waxhaw Exchange has the unlinkable story, which can be found in this issue of the Waxhaw Exchange.
Waxhaw, in collaboration with the Small Town Main Street Program, will host a design charrette Sept. 23-25 for the purpose of creating a market brand for Waxhaw and its associated organizations, specifically historic downtown Waxhaw.

During the design charrette, a variety of local and regional designers will volunteer their assistance after hearing residents' ideas on how they want Waxhaw represented.

"It will be something that makes people recognize Waxhaw, so we can market Waxhaw, and hopefully attract people into the downtown to shop, and come to the festivals and activities," Katie Ross, Waxhaw town planner, said.

The end product will be a graphic symbol or logo that will serve to represent, identify and brand as an overall image of the downtown.
So if you want to help create the town's new logo, visit the American Legion next weekend. Per Katie Ross' email, the hours are:
There will be opportunities for the public to participate at the following times:

Thursday, September 23 6-8 pm
Friday, September 24 6-7:30 pm
Saturday, September 25 3-4 pm (final presentation)
More details (at the town's website) here (PDF).

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Historic walk scheduled this weekend

John Anderson's column in last Sunday's Observer is the gift that keeps giving (at least as far as this little Waxhaw blogger is concerned). He shares the following tidbit:
On Sept. 18 at 10 a.m., Town Commissioner Joyce Blythe will conduct a walking tour of Waxhaw's historic district.

She will be assisted by long term resident Melvin Farris. Joyce will educate and entertain participants with facts and anecdotes from the time before European settlers arrived right up to today. The tour is free and leaves from the Waxhaw United Methodist Church on the corner of McDonald and North Church Streets. Details: 704-843-2246.
This makes sense because once again I have a more pressing engagement to attend, in this case, a baseball game. Since I first heard about the historic walks that town commissioner Joyce Blythe so graciously gives, I don't believe I've had the opportunity to attend nary a one.

In fact, if I didn't know any better, I'd swear Joyce Blythe gets together with the Waxhaw Athletic Association (and occasionally the Cub Scouts) and schedules the historic walks so it's impossible for me to attend. Trying to thwart me like the owners of Maxwell's Tavern have thwarted me in the past (temporarily of course).

On a more serious note, for anyone interested in the history of Waxhaw, these sound like neat events to attend.

On a side note, I saw no reference to this historic walk on the town's Facebook page or elsewhere. So far, John's column is the only reference to it that I've seen. Not as highly advertised as past walk's if my memory serves me well.

Curtains open at Storefront Theatre this weekend

Don't forget the curtains are pulled back this weekend for the Storefront Theatre's first performance of the season, Cerulean Blues, written by the Storefront's founder Judy Simpson Cook. My question: is the Cerulean Blues anything like the Broome Street Blues? I suspect they're two totally different things.

John Anderson of the Charlotte Observer's Neighborhood section fame has the story on how the play came to be, so check it out.

Only two performances are scheduled: one on Saturday September 18th at 7.30pm and another on Sunday September 19th at 2.30pm. I imagine seating at the Museum of the Waxhaws is pretty limited, so I'd recommend getting tickets now if you want to support the local arts.

Season tickets can now be purchased for $40. See here for details and also how to be a supporter of The Storefront Theatre via donation.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ron Zimmerman's proposal

Local man Ron Zimmerman put together a proposal for the WHPC to increase the size of the historic district. While there are a number of people upset about the possibility of any local historic district being imposed upon them by the town commissioners, there are still others who think the currently proposed district is not large enough.

Katie Ross sent Ron's proposal out to those lucky enough to be on the town's WHPC email list on August 16th, but it doesn't appear to be available on the town's website.

For your viewing pleasure, here are images of the currently proposed historic district

Proposed Local Historic District Boundary in Waxhaw

and Ron Zimmerman's expanded version.

Ron Zimmerman's proposed historic district

I emailed Katie Ross about this proposal and she was unaware of any plans for the WHPC to consider Ron's proposal. But it clearly illustrates that there are some motivated individuals interested in enacting the historic district. Like I've mentioned in at least one previous post, I suspect there's many people from unaffected areas of Waxhaw who

Saturday, September 11, 2010

WHPC Minutes still unavailable

The WHPC minutes that were supposed to go live today are still unavailable. I've got an email out to Katie Ross to see if they were approved as expected.

I must say Thursday was the closest I've come to actually attending a WHPC meeting. Not because I was planning on attending, but because I was practicing baseball with my youngest at the nearby baseball fields during the meeting.

I suspect I had more fun than those who attended.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Maxwell's Tavern menu

I've been really busy this week as school, baseball, and Cub Scouts have reached full speed.

To make up for it a pretty slow week, here's a current copy of the evolving menu at Maxwell's Tavern that John Balatsias was kind enough to send me a week or so ago. (Like I said, I've been busy.)

Page 1

Maxwell's Tavern Early Revision menu Page 1

Page 2

Maxwell's Tavern Early Revision menu Page 2

John told me that the menu has changed a few times since it was originally posted on the window, so it may have changed by now.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

State sheriffs want list of patients on painkillers

Not specifically related to Waxhaw at this time, but if North Carolina sheriffs have their way, it will. I'm not sure this is a good idea.
Sheriffs in North Carolina want access to state computer records identifying anyone with prescriptions for powerful painkillers and other controlled substances.

The state sheriff's association pushed the idea Tuesday, saying the move would help them make drug arrests and curb a growing problem of prescription drug abuse. But patient advocates say opening up people's medicine cabinets to law enforcement would deal a devastating blow to privacy rights.
Violating the privacy of a third of the state's residents to give police an easier time stymieing prescription drug abuse? No thanks.

Interview with craft-beer pioneer

Nothing Waxhaw related here, but an interesting interview with craft beer pioneer Fritz Maytag. Interview lasts about 10 minutes.

I could still envision a brewery moving into the old smokestack building, with limited release brews (Derail Ale?), weekly growler samples to local bloggers, local brews on tap in local ale houses, etc.
In fact, I fail to see a down side.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sun kinks

The Waxhaw Exchange has the story; sun kinks are to blame.
The record-breaking summer heat instigated the Waxhaw train derailment on July 8.

“The cause was identified as a sun kink. This occurs most commonly during periods of high temperatures, which can cause track to kink or buckle, (shift),” according to Carla Groleau, CSX director of corporate communications.
A Google search yields many hits including a nice bit of soothsaying from WBTV and a bunch of images of sun-kinked tracks, some more noticeable than others.

Read the whole story.

Per this earlier WBTV article, Harry Hopes, manager of hazardous materials with CSX out of Charlotte, said a camera at the front of the train would be able to see what the engineer saw.
CSX says the locomotive pulling the trains had a camera attached to it.

"We'll be able to see exactly what the locomotive engineer saw before the train derailed," said Harry Hopes, manager of hazardous materials with CSX out of Charlotte.
No word on if the camera footage from the train, which common sense suggests should show the sun kink in Waxhaw's case, will be made available.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Exchange chimes in on historic district plan


Alan Jenkins of The Waxhaw Exchange has a piece on some public opposition to the proposed historic district and the creative way they're avoiding the town's would-be punitive punishment.
A group of homeowners are protesting Waxhaw’s proposed historic district with a large banner sign which reads “Waxhaw Tea Party against local historic district. Please help!”

The banner, however, violates the town’s sign ordinance, and after a warning and a 15-day period to fix the problem, the property owner where the sign hangs can be fined $500 a day, according to a letter sent to Shell Holston.

Holston, owner of Waxhaw’s historic hotel located on North Main Street, had until today to remove the banner from her front porch.

To circumvent the problem, historic home owners hang the sign until the day the fine would kick in, and then move it to another person’s property.
Read the whole piece for all the details.

The most interesting part of the article is not what's in it (although it's definitely a great story), but what is missing. Alan Jenkins just gives the reader a vague overview of why certain owners in the proposed historic district are chafing at the town's plans. The current draft (6/30 draft) of the plan is available on the town's website and failing that, my post with the nitty-gritty of the current draft is here.

Given the specifics of what the WHPC will have control over, I'm somewhat surprised Alan didn't share some specifics of what got the subjects of his article so worked up. Perhaps space was limited? Or perhaps he was inherently agreeing with them? Or perhaps that's for another upcoming story?

Given the Waxhaw Exchange's lack of coverage of the historic district proposal to this point (is this their first article on the proposal or have I missed their earlier pieces?), it would've been nice to see a little more details. Maybe he could make it the topic of one of his weekly editorials.

* On another note, $500 dollars a day for violating the sign ordinance? Seems awfully excessive, especially in comparison to the penalty for violating the new animal ordinance, which starts at $10. Does anyone else find it interesting that the penalty for violating the speech-restricting ordinance starts at $500 while the penalty for violating the public safety ordinance starts at a mere $10 and maxes out at $50?

* And I'd like to take small issue with town planner Katie Ross's quote in the article.
“You only hear from people who aren’t in favor,” Ross said. “People tend not to get involved unless they aren’t in favor.”
I think she's leaving out a large subset of people. There's people in favor, people against, and a far greater number of people who either don't follow local politics, know nothing about the proposal or so little as to not have it on their radar. She seems to be suggesting (based on the quote provided) that all those who haven't vocally come out against the plan are tacitly agreeing to it. This seems like a rather generous assumption to make.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

New Waxhaw Gazette released

John has released the new issue of the Waxhaw Gazette today, so go check it out including his common-sense editorial on the Ground Zero Mosque story out of New York City.

If you've got a few extra minutes, go to his Editorial page for a well-spoken critique of the plans to build this mosque. In my opinion, the fact that it has gotten this far makes me think much less of New York City.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Free the moonshine! has a nice report on the arcane rules prohibiting home distilling in America.

From the article:
Jimmy Carter legalized home brewing in 1978, and that newfound freedom fueled the craft beer movement that continues to lavish beer lovers with endless choices. But in many ways, laws that govern whiskey, gin, and other distilled spirits are stuck in the 1920s.

Federal agents still raid distilleries much like they did during Prohibition, and making any amount of moonshine at home is not only illegal, it's a felony that can carry up to five years in prison. The result is a market dominated by a few big names, where would-be craftsmen are forced to hide their work.

And yet, despite the danger, America is in the midst of "moonshine renaissance," in which a new wave of hipster hobbyists has joined with old-time 'shiners to flout the law and do what they love to do.
Definitely worth checking out if only to learn a little more about moonshine.

UPDATE 9/4: Shrinking size of video so it fits into my template.

August's Crime Report

A little late as usual, but you'll be happy to know that crime has plummeted compared to the last couple months. (June & July at their respective links)

Waxhaw Crimereports August 2010

The wheels are in motion...

...regarding a potential left turning light for eastbound 75 traffic.

Scott Cole, a Division Traffic Engineer, at NC DOT has let me know they've recently scheduled counts and field observations of the traffic at the 16/75 intersection. The purpose: to see if a protected left turn lane (a left turning light without a turning lane) will benefit the overall movement of traffic at this intersection.

Per Scott, NC DOT generally recommends a turning lane if a left turning light is to be installed. A protected left turn oftentimes increases the congestion and delay at an an intersection. But he mentioned that a left turning lane is not necessarily a requirement as there have been occasions where a protected left turn was installed without adding a new turning lane.

Which is good because the town of Waxhaw is obviously protective of its small town charm. I suspect the odds of the town agreeing to wipe out enough downtown parking spaces to accommodate a left turning lane are slim to none.

Scott said the whole process would take a couple of weeks. When I get an update on the results, I'll be sure to post them here.

Anyone have any predictions as to the ultimate conclusion? If so, share them in the comments. I was originally thinking that Waxhaw would be one of the lucky exclusions to the suggested left turning lane, but now I'm wavering. I'm not sure if this is an example of me being realistic, pessimistic, or just preparing for the worst.

Don't forget First Friday

Just a reminder that tonight is First Friday if you're looking for something to do.

I didn't get a copy of the promotional flyer to share this month, but the description of this evening's events (compliments of Gavin of the STMSPPC) is available at an earlier post.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

WHPC March Minutes now available

For those of you following the new historic district proposals with interest, the March minutes (PDF) of that month's WHPC meeting are now available on the oftentimes difficult to navigate town website. My last look at the current draft of the new historic district proposal was here.

Per Katie Ross, the May, June, and July minutes should become available on the website September 10th. WHPC chairperson Denise Kuntz is set to approve them at the WHPC meeting on the evening before.

Also, per Katie, the April minutes are still being reviewed, so I'm not sure if they will go live on September 10th as well. Strange that that month has still not been approved. Who knows what kind of deep dark town secrets are being surreptitiously edited out of the minutes as we speak?

So for all those who've never attended a WHPC meeting (like me), but wished they had, the release of the minutes are the next best thing to being there. It's like watching a football game on a big HD television instead of shelling out $200 for tickets.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dairy Barn will be open by Autumn Treasures

Or so says Mark of Southsiders on his Facebook page. His post:
Finally - at what once was Cafe Fino - soon will be called "The Dairy Barn" The new owners, Greg & Jane, popped in for lunch today and introduced themselves. Their intent is to serve soft serve ice cream and other delicious confections. Look for them to open up in time for Autumn treasures.
Interesting that it's soft serve ice cream. Is there any other soft serve ice cream flavors other than vanilla, chocolate, or twist?

Either way, a little competition for the Ice Cream & Pizza Works.

Only time will tell which business ultimately receives the coveted Broome Street Blues endorsement. The game is afoot.