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Susan Ervin, long-time member of the Macon County Planning Board, to commissioners:

I would like to speak still in support of reinstating Al Slagle to the planning board and against appointing anyone, ever to the planning board or any other board, who is actively opposed to the missions and procedures of that board. People who oppose land-use regulation and actively work against it, no matter how reasonable, moderate and needed it is, will be a detriment to this board. Al Slagle, on the other hand, has worked hard to develop reasonable, moderate and much-needed standards for slope development. I would also ask that you include the planning board in decisions about who its members will be.

You would not put someone on the library board who wants to end public support for libraries or someone on the EDC who opposes all government participation in economic development. It’s been said that we need diversity of opinion on the board. As far as representing the interests of development, quite a few planning board members are involved financially in some aspect of development, building and real estate, so the interests of that industry are well represented. If you want more diversity, we could use the knowledge of an engineer, architect, community organizer, someone in health services or social services or land conservation, a biologist, forester, hydrologist, outdoor recreation worker, cultural or natural historian, wildlife manager.

It’s time for us to support the needs and rights of the landowner and homeowner, of the community, of the environment, and of future generations rather than the short-term profits of some developers who want no controls and no accountability.

Too many times we’ve unconditionally supported the rights of developers only to be left with substandard development and empty lots that now threaten our local economy, environment and safety. On Thursday night, the courtroom was filled with people who wanted to express their support for planning, for Al Slagle and slope-development standards, and against inappropriate appointments to the board.

We ask now and in the future you build a stronger planning board, rather than weakening it. You will earn the respect and gratitude of many good people in the process. Thank you for your consideration.

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