Before the Senate is a bill, S 949, introduced on May 30th, that seeks to effectively eliminate all zoning around Boone, NC, and on which you will be expected to vote soon.
Because this bill is presented as LOCAL, there exists the danger that it may be given supportive votes by busy colleagues who are "less than conversant" with the specifics of the bill.
It is for this reason that I write, so that each of you will be sufficiently familiar with this bill prior to your vote, and will not unknowingly align yourselves with what is already being discussed as corruption.
Watauga County is represented by Dan Soucek, a freshman senator, who, bless his heart, has apparently taken some bad advice. He is the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 949.
Mr. Soucek, it has become apparent, relies overly much on the backing of a small clutch of developers in Boone who are and have long been openly intent on overturning the local ordinance that prevents high-density development of the viewshed. High-density development means apartment complexes. A word unfamiliar to many but easily understood, viewshed refers to the view that is shared by everyone, and specifically to the steep, forested hills that surround Boone. The viewshed is the reason tourists visit the Boone area and the viewshed is an asset that cannot ever be replaced. Disturbing it is just a bad idea and everybody knows it. It is bad for business, bad for tourists, bad for the future of Boone. The obviousness of this makes it very hard to accept that Senator Soucek actually understands the impact of what he is proposing or worse, that he does understand the damage to be done and would still continue with his proposal of Bill S 949.
This cadre of commercial developers has already been rebuffed by the voters in Boone and Watauga County, twice. One developer openly funded the campaigns of four candidates for the Boone Town Council in an effort to railroad his positions, but failed, as only one of his candidates was chosen. Now, in what must be a very expensive effort to circumvent the electorate that opposes them, these guys appear to have underwritten a state senatorial campaign as well. It is a shame to see young Senator Soucek put in such a challenging ethical position at this stage of his career, but there he is, seemingly representing the interests of a very few businessmen at the expense of and against the wishes of a majority of residents, as expressed through their votes.
The bill, S 949, was certainly not discussed as it should have been with the residents of the affected areas, among which I count myself, and does not have any degree of local support beyond those who might profit directly from its passage. The voters of Watauga County have made it clear that they do not want this kind of development, and yet here is this bill before you, asking that a persistently greedy few be allowed to spoil the landscape.
Senator, I along with many others ask that you pay close attention to this bill so that when we see your vote we may trust that it represents your informed position.
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