Don’t let Cullowhee planning steal rights

To the Editor:

Historically, the citizens of Jackson County have been overwhelmingly against zoning outside the city limits. After failing to get anywhere with county-wide zoning efforts for some 20 years, our county planners finally got the proposal of community-based zoning put before our commissioners about 15 years ago. Thankfully, the proposal failed. Only one elected Jackson County commissioner has ever voted for community-based zoning.

Approximately 10 years ago, our planners started the “smart growth” approach to planning that eventually led to land-use planning ordinances and regulations that are now among the most stringent in this state. But there will never be enough ordinances and regulations for some people, so our county planner is now working hard to implement more planning for the Cullowhee community.

Are you one of the approximately 300 property owners in this proposed zoning district? We’re all supposed to call it a “planning area,” but land planning general statutes normally regulate the location and use of buildings and structures. And those last nine words could easily mean that many people could suddenly have their property rights replaced by more ordinances, regulations, fees, fines and new taxes. Do you really believe that only the people living in the huge area around Cullowhee could lose property rights? How long will it be before it spreads to your community? Do you think there wouldn’t be the probability of annexation along with taxation?

You have to wonder why the proposed area contains so many restricted subdivisions. Is the reasoning that these people don’t rely so much on property rights, and would be more inclined to vote for zoning, or maybe that they would help provide a larger tax base someday?

And what about the claimed need for this planning? The six cited reasons are so lame that they haven’t even been mentioned by the committee (of which I am a member) supposedly working on this planning. Is it not an outrage that our property taxes pay the salary of a county planner leading this attempt to steal very important rights that are essential to the ownership of that property.

At least we can be thankful that the majority of our county commissioners campaigned and won the last election on the notion that we had indeed had enough of that sort of overbearing government. There’s no way that they will let a room full of people who think they just have to control the property of others take away such basic rights. 

The people who want this zoning are well organized and good at hiding their true intentions. It’s unlikely that they will mention zoning until late in the process. Probably the best thing all Jackson County voters who value their property rights could do right now is to let our county commissioners know by phone (828.631.2295), letter (401 Grindstaff Cove Road) or email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) that we have had enough of these schemes that call for more and more ordinances and regulations. And write and/or call N.C. Sen. Jim Davis at 16 W. Jones Street, Room 2111, Raleigh, N.C., phone 919.733.5875. He seems to be for the protection of property rights.

Mike Clark


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