Massie: Library site still to be decided

The best location for a new library in Jackson County appears to be up for discussion once more — with the idea of renovating and adding on to the vacant historic courthouse downtown back on the table.

Consultant will lead public planning process for library

What would you like to see in your new library?

Two studies, two takes on moratorium’s effects

When County Commissioner Will Shelton gave up time on his farm and with his four young children to run for political office in Jackson County last year, he made a pledge to voters to address the uncontrolled growth sweeping the county.

Planning office, advisory board to decide who keeps working

Jackson County planner Linda Cable has more than 60 applications on her desk from developers who hope the moratorium won’t apply to them.

Compromise eases moratorium’s chill

Jackson County commissioners approved a five-month moratorium on new subdivisions in a 4 to 1 vote last week, but not without tacking on a compromise measure that will give developers caught in the lurch a way out.

What commissioners said

Chairman Brian McMahan, lone “no” vote

“I’ve thought long and hard about this process. I thought about what will the moratorium accomplish? What would the consequences potentially be? It’s not really going to stop anything. There will be more houses built in the months to come. To say we are going to stop all development, that’s not what’s going to happen. All it is going to do is put a halt for five months. Then I had to weigh ‘What’s the consequences?’ We don’t really know what’s going to happen. If there’s a chance it could put somebody out of work, then I don’t think I could support it. I don’t want to take any chances. Let’s just ride this ship on out and adopt a good ordinance in a couple months.”

Commissioner Tom Massie, “yes” vote

“Despite what some people have said this is not an action this board is undertaking lightly or irresponsibly or anything else. What we do know not only from the public hearings but the hundreds and hundreds of emails, letters and phone calls, is the majority of citizens in Jackson County are agreed on a few things. They want people to continue to work. They want the building to continue to start. But they want responsible development and they also want standards. They want to protect the natural resources. They also want adequate time for the planning board to come up with thoughtful, responsible subdivision standards. I think this is as good a compromise we can come up with in Jackson County.”

Commissioner Mark Jones, “yes” vote

“I have builders and contractors on both sides of this fence. Not only has it been a divisive matter, but it even has in my own district. It has caused quite a lot of pressure on commissioners to come up with a compromise to avoid some of the hardship cases we have heard about.”

Commissioner Joe Cowan, “yes” vote

“Our job is to balance the competing interests as best we can. We did not have our minds made up because we have come up with a significant number of what I call compromises. I would like to thank this board for keeping an open mind. We have something now that nobody is going to lose any jobs from. Development can continue under the agreement yet we can meet our goal of high standards.”

Commissioner William Shelton, “yes” vote

“One word comes to mind and that’s sustainability. How do we balance what is happening in this county? It’s been stated that this area, the Appalachian Region, is the number one area for development over the next how many years. One phrase I hear more than any other is ‘We’ve got to do something. We’ve got to do something.’ The question is what do we do?

I’ve put more thought into this than anything in my life. I have heard these people afraid for their careers loud and clear. (The compromise) will give developers an opportunity to continue with these properties and developments and address the issue of job loss, which is questionable to me to begin with.”

Moratorium debate reveals deep rift in Jackson

The debate over a proposed moratorium on new subdivisions in Jackson County is divided into two main camps: those who claim an economic downturn will result and those who feel protecting the mountains from unsavory development is critical to the county’s future.

Crowded, contentious hearing remains civil

More than 1,300 people crowded into the public hearing last week over a proposed moratorium on new subdivisions in Jackson County.

Emotions build in run-up to moratorium hearing

Frenzy surrounding a proposed moratorium on new subdivisions in Jackson County reached a fever pitch in the run-up to a public hearing on the issue Tuesday night.

Moratorium will preserve building industry, not destroy it

The Jackson County commissioners should move forward with their temporary subdivision moratorium, notwithstanding all the concerns that have been raised about this proposal.

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