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Council to become majority female when new elected leaders take oath

Jennifer Hensley and Lyndsey Simpson will join the Hendersonville City Council next week. Jennifer Hensley and Lyndsey Simpson will join the Hendersonville City Council next week.

The Hendersonville City Council flips to a female majority next week when newly elected council members Jennifer Hensley and Lyndsey Simpson take the oath of office and join Mayor Barbara Volk on the dais.


Hensley edged Simpson in the council race by just 13 votes, followed by Debbie Roundtree and Steve Caraker, who was seeking a fourth term. Hensley and Simpson become the first new council members since Jeff Miller won election in 2013, defeating incumbent Jeff Collis.

The council has a heavy agenda on Dec. 5. The old council, including Caraker and mayor pro tem Ron Stephens, will take up unfinished business, including a rezoning request, a rewrite of the city's regulations on animated signs, a request to designate the Grey Hosiery Mill a local historic landmark and an order to issue $12.9 million in water and sewer bonds.

After that, the council will honor departing members Caraker and Stephens, who retired rather than seek re-election. State Rep. Chuck McGrady will administer the oath of office for Hensley and Volk will administer the oath for Simpson. Both new council members will be recognized to make remarks.

The council has other organizational meeting work as well. It must elect a mayor pro tem and appoint council members to numerous advisory boards, including several important panels that Caraker has served on: the Historic Seventh Avenue District Advisory Committee, the Water-Sewer Advisory Council, the Mills River Partnership, the Transportation Advisory Committee and the French Broad MPO. Other boards with seats to fill include the Henderson County Public Schools Facilities Committee, which is asking for a city representative for the first time; the Land of Sky Regional Council, the Local Government Committee for Cooperative Action, the Firemen's Relief Fund and the Downtown Advisory Committee.

In its regular meeting, the new council will take up:

  • A request to authorize water service to Capt. Smyth's subdivision, a new 10-lot development on Trenholm Road in the village of Flat Rock.
  • An appeal by city resident John E. Watkins of the Tree Board's denial of his request to cut down a large oak tree in his yard and partly on city right of way. Watkins and his sister, Dorothy, of 402 Williams St., are worried the oak tree could fall on their home in a storm. Watkins and T&R Specialty Services applied for permission to remove the tree, and the Tree Board said no. Instead, the board recommended that Watkins have a contractor remove large limbs. The Tree Board and the city have authority over the question because the tree is partially on the city right of way. If it were on private property, the homeowner would be free to take it out, Public Works Director Tom Wooten told the council.