At our inception 20 years ago, we chose to be different. Unlike other news organizations, we made the decision to provide in-depth, regional reporting free to anyone who wanted access to it. We don’t plan to change that model. Support from our readers will help us maintain and strengthen the editorial independence that is crucial to our mission to help make Western North Carolina a better place to call home. If you are able, please support The Smoky Mountain News.

The Smoky Mountain News is a wholly private corporation. Reader contributions support the journalistic mission of SMN to remain independent. Your support of SMN does not constitute a charitable donation. If you have a question about contributing to SMN, please contact us.

Macon steep-slope supporters pushing back

A new group has formed to counteract a recent landslide of opposition to steep-slope regulations in Macon County.

“We realized that there are a lot of people out there who don’t go to these meetings — and I count myself among them — and who aren’t real vocal, but who have strong feelings about these issues,” Kathy Tinsley, spokeswoman for, said Tuesday.

The new organization has created a website with information about the issue, and launched a petition to encourage Macon County residents to express support for a steep-slope ordinance.

Tinsley said six to eight people organized She expects more in the county to join as word gets out. Tinsley’s brother is Al Slagle, a planning board member. Slagle chaired the steep slope subcommittee tasked by commissioners to write a recommendations for an ordinance, a project it spent two years on.

A news release this week issued by noted the group also plans to organize petition drives, plan public events and run public-service advertisements.

The new group is not limiting itself to the slope development issue, according to Tinsley. It hopes to bring together citizens “of all walks of life and political persuasions to advocate for common sense solutions to important issues facing the county,” the news release stated.    

“Regular people have been pushed out of the process by all the heated rhetoric,” Tinsley said. “That’s a shame. We need our elected officials to move past partisan bickering and get back to serving the public interest. The only way that is going to happen is if citizens feel like they have a say in the direction of our county.” has a steep slope of its own to overcome the momentum built already by opponents of planning regulation. At the website, Macon County residents are warned they could “lose the right to build on your own land” if regulations were passed; and that such regulations would add at least $8,000 to the cost of building.


Mission of

“The Macon County Planning Board recently voted to table the slope ordinance. Many have asked how the planning board’s decision impacts our campaign to build public support for the ordinance? The simple answer is — it doesn’t. The problem still exists and the solution is still the same. Our task is to send a clear message that the people of Macon County support a slope ordinance. Period. That doesn’t change no matter what political procedures are employed.”

According to, a slope ordinance would benefit the county by:

• Protecting property rights.

• Promoting economic development.

• Supporting local business.

• Reducing the risk of catastrophe.

• Preserving our valuable resources.

Source: website.

Go to top