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Ask Matt ... where the sidewalk (clearing) ends

City clears sidewalks downtown and in the Historic Seventh Avenue District. City clears sidewalks downtown and in the Historic Seventh Avenue District.

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Q. What is the City’s policy on snow removal for downtown sidewalks?

After a snowstorm, the city crews scrape the sidewalks in the downtown business district and also in the Historic Seventh Avenue District. That’s as far as they go. No other sidewalks in the City get this attention nor is sand or ice melt applied on other sidewalks. The downtown and 7th Avenue areas are singled out because district property owners pay additional taxes that are used to provide the extra service. Hendersonville has an ordinance that requires businesses and homeowners to clean the sidewalks in front of their property but according to City officials, that policy is not presently enforced.
OK, if you don’t hang around downtown Hendersonville after a major snow event, here’s what typically happens. City public works crews, using both a John Deere tractor with a front-mounted blade and a Kubota tractor with a front bucket, start moving snow. The Kubota is small enough to maneuver around the benches, trees, planters and, yes, the mountain fountain too. The larger John Deere clears the parking lots and side streets. For a major snow event, the City brings in even larger equipment to remove the snow that was pushed up in the parking spaces and haul it off to a vacant lot. After that, it just melts, but you knew that.

Q. I read where some abandoned North Carolina landfills are being used as solar farms. Has our County looked into putting solar panels on the Stoney Mountain landfill?

Yes, the County has considered it but has not pursued it. Here’s why. North Carolina law requires that after a solid waste landfill is closed, it must be capped with a protective layer of soil and grass. This cap actually requires a good deal of maintenance, particularly for our Stoney Mountain site which is about 20 years old – relatively young for a closed landfill.
Henderson County Engineer Marcus Jones explained that there is still “seepage” from decomposing trash in the ground. This liquid, also known as leachate, must be drained and the way to do that is to bore holes down into the decomposing trash itself. So mounting solar panels in close proximity to one another on the side of the landfill could hinder draining the leachate and complicate landfill maintenance.
For the record, North Carolina has 675 closed landfills and the one that Charlotte is leasing to a solar farm company is 30 years older than ours. So perhaps one day when there is no risk of seepage we may have solar panels on the mountain side but for now it’s wait and see.

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Send questions to Askmattm@gmail.com.