Volunteers Wanted for Hendersonville Board of AdjustmentThe Hendersonville City Council needs a citizen volunteer for its Hendersonville Board of Adjustment.  The City believes that the best way to make living in the community better for everyone is to have its residents be an integral part of its daily operations.  Volunteering for one of its boards and commissions is probably the best way you can do this.  As part of the Hendersonville Board of Adjustment, some of your duties will involve:

  • Listening to and deciding on appeals from administrative officials regarding enforcement of the Zoning or Subdivision Ordinances as well as reviewing orders, requirements, decisions and determinations brought to the Board by an administrative official.
  • Listening to and deciding on Zoning Ordinance variance requests.
  • Interpreting the Official Zoning map and passing along any questions regarding disputes of lot lines or district boundaries to Zoning Ordinance administrators.
  • Reviewing and issuing conditional use permits in regards to Zoning Ordinance rules and regulations.
  • Entering (at a reasonable time) and examining private property to survey said property as it pertains to the official duties of the Board.
  • Making requests for public hearings by the Board on any matter under the Board’s jurisdiction when needed.

Members of the Hendersonville Board of Adjustment meet at the Operations Center (305 Williams Street) at 1:30pm on the second Tuesday of the month to discuss matters brought before the Board.  Currently, the Board has one vacant alternate position available for a a Hendersonville resident.  If you’re interested in applying for the position, please fill out an application and hand it in to the Hendersonville City Hall.

Being a volunteer on a city board or commission enables you to help create a better living environment for the community.  Follow your passion and find a board that fits, whether it be the Hendersonville Board of Adjustment or another city commission.  The City always welcomes input from its residents to make living in Hendersonville even that much better.

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally published on my Western North Carolina real estate blog here: http://rich-cooke.com/2012/03/08/volunteers-wanted-for-hendersonville-board-of-adjustment/.

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Free Motorcycle Safety Classes in HendersonvilleOne of the things I love most about living in Western North Carolina is the amazingly beautiful scenery we get to enjoy every day.  A nice drive on a Saturday afternoon lets you see this natural beauty up close.  This is especially true if you’re a motorcycle enthusiast.  That’s why the police and sheriff’s departments are offering free motorcycle safety classes in Hendersonville.

On March 10, 2012 and March 16, 2012, the Henderson County Sheriff’s Department and the Hendersonville Police Department will be offering motorcyclists an education in cycle safety, rules of the road and techniques to improve your skills on your bike.  Whether your “hog” is a heavy duty Harley Davidson or a sweet little moped that helps you tool around town, you’re sure to learn something at the class.  The Sheriff’s Department will be conducting the March 10th class while the Hendersonville Police Department will conduct the March 16th class.

Included in your free training will be:

  • Motorcycle Control – accelerating, braking and clutch as well as how to make your ride smoother.
  • Hazard Management – recognizing, avoiding and reacting to hazards you may encounter.
  • Cornering – assessing the angle of a curve and how to approach and complete in a safe manner.
  • Overtaking
  • Roadcraft – using your mirrors and turn signals effectively as well as your attitude on the road.

In the morning, Hendersonville drivers will be inside the classroom going over basic information.  Then, students will be paired up with instructors when they head out for a short ride around a special course to assess their skills and see what they’ve learned.  After lunch, students will head back into the classroom for feedback from their instructors.  Drivers will then be paired up again with their instructors to drive around a larger course (approximately 75 minutes).  All students will then head back into the classroom to again receive feedback on their ride from their instructors as well as answer any final questions.

While the class is absolutely free, you will be required to have the following before you will be allowed to participate:

  • Legal Motorcycle Endorsement
  • Motorcycle Registration
  • Motorcycle Insurance
  • Proper DOT-Approved Helmet
  • Proper Footwear (rises above the ankle for protection)
  • Long Sleeve Shirt and Pants (no shorts or T-shirts allowed)
  • Full Fingered Gloves
  • Eye Protection

If you’re interested in attending one of the free motorcycle safety classes in Hendersonville next month, please contact Lt. Mike Vesely either via phone at 828-697-3025 or via email at mvesely@cityofhendersonville.org.  Again, these classes are absolutely free.  What better way to learn about motorcycle safety than from a Henderson County police officer?  They know what they’re talking about!

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Western North Carolina real estate blog here: http://rich-cooke.com/2012/02/16/free-motorcycle-safety-classes-in-hendersonville/.

Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Come to Hendersonville NCOn Wednesday, February 8, 2012, the City of Hendersonville NC officially unveiled two new electric vehicle charging stations at a ribbon-cutting ceremony.  In an effort to reduce America’s reliance on foreign oil as well as maintaining the natural beauty that Western North Carolina offers, the City of Hendersonville has partnered with the Land of Sky Clean Vehicles Coalition’s Electric Vehicles Committee to make using alternative fuels a viable option for Hendersonville citizens.  These two charging stations are only the beginning.

Typically, owners of completely electrical vehicles (such as the Nissan Leaf and Smart ED) or hybrids (such as the Chevy Volt, Ford Escape Hybrid or Toyta Prius Hybrid) charge their vehicles at home because charging stations are hard to come by.  The installation of the two new electric vehicle charging stations at the Dogwood Parking lot in downtown Hendersonville extends the areas these electric vehicles can travel by eliminating the worry of not having enough of a charge to get back home.  It is the City of Hendersonville’s goal to bring clean fuel alternatives to areas where its citizens work, dine, shop, learn and play.

These electric vehicle charging stations in downtown Hendersonville are only one step in a larger plan to create an entire public charging station network in the Asheville area.  The LSCVC’s Electric Vehicle Committee is working with other communities in the area to determine which locations would benefit the most from charging station installation.  In addition to downtown Hendersonville, there are currently electric vehicle charging stations available in downtown Asheville, Black Mountain, Haywood Community College (in Clyde) and Montreat as well as the office of the Land of Sky Regional Council in Asheville.  Plug-in electrical vehicle (PEV) owners can benefit from Duke Energy’s incentive program for installing a charging station in their homes.

Bringing electric vehicle charging stations to Hendersonville NC is yet another step in bringing the city into the modern era while maintaining the natural beauty of the Western North Carolina lifestyle.  If you’re interested in buying a Hendersonville home, please contact me now.  I can help you find the Western North Carolina home of your dreams today.

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Western North Carolina real estate blog here: http://rich-cooke.com/2012/02/09/electric-vehicle-charging-stations-come-to-hendersonville-nc/.

Save Money and Energy This WinterThe warm summer days are behind us.  Western North Carolina in the fall is absoutely breath-taking.  Soon, however, the leaves will fall from the trees and the cold reality of winter will set in.  With the price of natural gas and propane going up, it is important to cut costs as well as energy loss wherever you can.  Since not everyone can afford to go completely green (ie solar or wind powered), we have to find other ways to cope.  If you want to save money and energy this winter, I’ve got a few suggestions for you.

Shop around.  There may be more than one company available in your area to provide natural gas, propane or even electricity to your Hendersonville home.  Ask each company for their rates and compare them to what you are paying now.  Also, check with your current provider to see if they have programs available that you may qualify for.  It never hurts to ask and you may be surprised at the savings you can find.

Insulation.  This can be a relatively inexpensive way to keep you warm during the cold winter weather.  Check the insulation in your attic and walls, especially if you are in an older Hendersonville home.  You may need to add or replace what is currently there to get the most bang for your buck.  Look into purchasing insulated curtains for your windows as well.  These can help keep cold air out and warm air in.

Look for Leaks.  Windows and exterior doors are notorious places for cold air to creep in.  Sometimes, simple caulking or weatherstripping can do the trick.  However, if your windows are especially worn and in need of replacement, buy energy-efficient replacements.  You may even be eligible for a tax credit by doing so.  Storm windows and doors are also great forces against the elements.

Additional ways to stay warm during cold Hendersonville winter months are to use extra blankets and wear warm clothing while indoors.  Add an extra blanket at night or put on a wool sweater instead of turning up the thermostat to help keep your costs down.  Follow these tips to save money and energy this winter.

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my Active Rain blog here: http://activerain.com/blogsview/2532533/save-money-and-energy-this-winter.

City of Hendersonville Shred DayAs you may be aware of, the threat of identity theft can be a big and expensive problem.  If you throw out your old bank and credit card statements without ripping them to unrecognizable shreds, it’s like throwing out an invitation for identity thieves to steal your information.  Make sure your documents are shredded in a secure manner by attending the City of Hendersonville‘s Shred Day on Wednesday, September 21st

Every Hendersonville citizen is allowed to bring up to two boxes (50 lbs total) of old checks, credit card and bank statements, payroll stubs, old tax returns, medical forms and any other financial statements to the Grey Hosiery Mill Building (301 4th Ave E) from 10am to 12pm for shredding.  The American Security Shredding truck will set up shop in the Grey Hosiery Mill Building’s parking lot.  You can simply drop your documents off or stay and watch them get properly and securely shredded.

You need to protect your credit wherever you can, especially if you are considering making a major purchase like a home in Hendersonville or anywhere else.  The best offense on identity theft is a good defense.  To protect yourself from possible identity theft in the future, follow these general rules:

1. Put your trash out on the curb the day of trash pickup.  Once it is on the street, your trash is public domain.  Anyone can come by to go through it. 

2. Always shred financial papers, credit card receipts, cancelled checks, etc, before throwing them away.  A diamond paper shredder will reduce your financial documents into unrecognizable and, more importantly, unusable confetti.  You may be surprised how enterprising and creative identity thieves can be.  It’s not beyond them to take the time to tape torn statements together to get the information they need.  A diamond paper shredder will make this virtually impossible.

3. Pay for all online purchases with a credit card.  Credit card companies are required by federal law to fight any unlawful purchases made with your credit card.  Debit cards and online payment services don’t necessarily offer such protection.

4. Go through your bank and credit card statements thoroughly every month.  If you recognize any purchases on your credit or debit cards that were not made by you (no matter how small the purchase), report it immediately.  Some thieves will make a few small purchases to check that the information they stole is valid before they start to really tear into your credit.

5. Check your credit report from all three agencies: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian).  Legally, you are entitled to one free report from each agency every 12 months.  It’s a good idea to ask for a different credit report every four months so that there isn’t such a big lapse in time between checking.  Not all credit purchases made are reported to all three agencies.  That’s why you need to go through all three.

If you believe that you may have had your credit information hijacked by an identity thief, contact the Federal Trade Commission to file a complaint.  It can be a lengthy process to straighten out your credit after someone steals your identity.  So, be patient.

Safely get rid of your old financial documents at the City of Hendersonville‘s Shred Day on Wednesday, September 21, 2011.  And follow the tips above to protect yourself from the prying eyes of identity thieves.  Protecting your credit is especially necessary when you want to buy a Hendersonville home. 

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Originally posted on my blog here: http://activerain.com/blogsview/2485168/city-of-hendersonville-shred-day.

Not to be outdone by the award-winning Asheville recycling program, the City has made recycling in Hendersonville even easier.  As of July 4, 2011, the City has begun picking up recycling bins on the same day as the regular trash collection for Hendersonville residents.  If you are unsure as to what can be placed in your blue recycling bin for pickup, here is a list you can use:

  • Recycling in HendersonvilleAluminum, Steel and Tin Products (clean pie plates, rinsed out soda cans, clean foil, etc)
  • Aerosol Cans (completely empty and without the plastic cap)
  • Books (paperbacks)
  • Cereal Boxes
  • Cartons (soda and beer)
  • Corrugated Cardboard (flattened, no bigger than 4’x3’x12″ stacks)
  • Egg Cartons
  • Envelopes (paper, manila and window)
  • Frozen Food Boxes (white inside)
  • Glass Bottles and Jars (brown, green and clear only)
  • Newspapers, Magazines, Catalogs, TV Guides and Phone Books
  • Plastic Bottles (no lids, deli containers or plastic tubs allowed)
  • Paper (office paper, construction paper, junk mail, post it notes and wrapping paper).  Shredded paper is accepted as long as it is placed in a paper bag and closed on top.
  • Toilet Paper and Paper Towel Rolls

There are several items that are no longer allowed to be collected in your regular Hendersonville household trash bins because they have been banned from our landfills.  These items must be recycled:

  • Aluminum Cans
  • Bottles From ABC Permitted Businesses
  • Corrugated Cardboard
  • Lead Acid Batteries
  • Oil Filters
  • Plastic Bottles
  • Used Tires
  • White Goods or Appliances
  • Wooden Pallets
  • Yard Trash (lawn clippings, shrub trimmings, etc)

Yard waste from your Hendersonville yard can be placed in an open container and set out for collection with your regular trash.  Do not bag it up and do not mix it in with your regular trash.  It is collected and ground into mulch to distribute to Hendersonville residents at a later time for free.  If you have old appliances that need to be picked up, contact the City of Hendersonville and let them know that you will be leaving them at your curbside for pickup.  Make sure to remove the doors from refrigerators and freezers for safety.

Used tires can be placed at curbside for pickup as long as they aren’t set on a rim.  They can also be brought to the Henderson County Transfer Station (828-697-4505) during normal business hours.  The transfer station will also accept lead acid batteries.  But, it’s best to return the battery to the store you bought it from.  Rechargeable batteries can also be taken to the transfer station.  Regular batteries (AAA, AA, C and D) can be thrown out with your regular household waste.

We live in a beautiful area of the country and we want to do everything we can to keep it that way.  By making it easy to recycle in Hendersonville, we are doing our part to help keep this place beautiful for our children and our children’s children.

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist

Historic Districts in HendersonvilleWestern North Carolina is very proud of its rich history.  This is evident in the loving way we have preserved the best of our past in cities all around the area.  Hendersonville is no exception.  Hendersonville’s Main Street houses several historic buildings as well as antique shops and boutiques.  The Henderson County Courthouse was completely renovated just a few years ago (2008) and City Hall (built in 1924) was recently restored to its former glory.  If you’re a history buff, you simply must visit these historic districts in Hendersonville:

Druid Hills is a residential area located across from Patton Park in Hendersonville More than 70 buildings have been preserved here.  Some of the styles of architecture you will see in this neighborhood include Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival and Craftsman Bungalows.  The community was built with plenty of open area, mature trees and winding streets. 

The Hyman Heights/Mount Royal area is another residential district located to the northeast of Five Points and consisting of more than 120 historical buildings.  Originally, this neighborhood was where most of the doctors working at Patton Hospital (Hendersonville‘s first official hospital) built their residences.  Included in the historic buildings is a Gothic Revival home named Kilarney that dates all the way back to 1858.

To the east of Five Points and Main Street is the Cold Spring Park residential area.  This was where the city’s working class people lived.  With just 37 historic homes, this is Hendersonville’s smallest historic district.

To the southwest of downtown Hendersonville is the historic residential district of Lenox Park.  This area was set up in a grid pattern that was typical of the early 1900s.  Some of the architectural styles you will see include bungalows, Queen Anne and Four Square, amongst others.

While it’s fun to look at historic Hendersonville homes, you may be interested in checking out the historic commercial districts of the city as well.  The Seventh Avenue Depot District (two blocks to the northeast of Main St) originated in the late 1800s around the city’s first depot.  The Main Street Historic District is laid out in a typical grid pattern and dates back to 1841.  The area has been restored to its turn of the century splendor.

When you come to Western North Carolina, please visit the historic districts of Hendersonville.  If you love history, architecture or both, this is definitely the place for you.  It’s easy to see why residents are so proud of Hendersonville real estate.

Rich Cooke, your Western North Carolina real estate specialist