Thursday, February 17, 2005

Mayor Burnley Spanks Keith Honeycutt

Boone Mayor-for-Life Velma Burnley -- God bless her! -- has written a stern letter to Republican County Commissioner Keith Honeycutt, ostensibly scolding him for his offensive strut-fest and the Boone-bashing he brought to the podium last Thursday night at the Boone public hearing over the two moratoria on steep-slope and high-density development. But Mayor Burnley's anger at the first-term County Commissioner has been building over two years, since Mr. Honeycutt never passes up an opportunity to sneer publicly at Boone, especially its hated zoning regulations. Ironically, Honeycutt took advantage of a public hearing mandated by ZONING to again grand-stand against his personal demon ... i.e., any government reg that limits what a property owner can do to his own land (and hence to his neighbors).

Your comments were "ill-informed and ill-advised," scolds Burnley in her Dear Keith letter. "Frankly, I was upset and amazed" to hear you once again make "unfounded accusations" against the town relative to the disaster in the White Laurel subdivision. (The atrocity of White Laurel ... the brainchild of Ned Fowler and the Northwest Regional Housing Authority ... low-income housing built on a steep, north-facing slope ... where some six residences slide off their foundations during last summer's hurricanes.) Honeycutt's point is that since the development is in Boone's ETJ and was permitted under Boone's (hiss) zoning, Boone should bear the burden of paying for the relief of those families (and he's got a point). Mayor Burnley's point is that even though the development is in Boone's ETJ, the homeowners, however, are technically not residents of Boone (they pay no taxes there) but of the county (where they do pay their taxes), and hence Boone is prohibited by law from expending its money ... legally accurate (though not as compelling as Honeycutt's simplistic "you zoned it, you permitted it, you should own it!" argument).

'Course, Honeycutt's philosophy of government would have resulted in even more White Laurels -- and worse -- which takes a little wind out of his high dudgeon.

What's really gotten Burnley's goat is the arrogance of multiple county commissioners who feel no particular compunction for strolling out of their zone of elected responsibility into hers. And maliciously offering commentary and helpful hints about how Boone would be better off doing things the way the county does them ... which is certainly OUR model of planning for the future!

UPDATE: At last night's Boone Town Council meeting, Mayor Burnley read aloud a separate statement scolding County Commissioner Honeycutt for spreading false impressions about the town. The gloves are off!

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