Sunday, December 10, 2006


Ho boy! Watauga County gets mentioned as the negative example of what sensible people in Alleghany County DON'T want their community to become:
"If this development goes on unchecked, you're killing the goose who laid the egg," said [Milly] Richardson, 48 [a newly elected county commissioner]. She has lived in Alleghany all her life and raises cattle on a farm that has been in her family for six generations.

"If all the farms are subdivided, you're killing the beauty you had .... You have to have some control," Richardson said.

Alleghany County was lagging behind the rest of western North Carolina. But it's done what Watauga County politicians have never had the guts to do: zone the sucker.

In May, county commissioners adopted a countywide zoning ordinance after a fight over a lawnmower racetrack near second homes on Mountainview Road, south of Sparta, made the issue a high-profile one.

The county also adopted a high-impact ordinance that would control where polluting industries could be built, after Maymead Materials Inc. announced its intention to build an asphalt plant about three miles from the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Though the county had a subdivision ordinance in place when fights over the racetrack and asphalt plant broke out, these new land-use regulations go a step further, said Paula Presnell, a real-estate broker in Sparta.

Developers want to protect their investments, and zoning ensures that a racetrack or an asphalt plant cannot pop up next to a subdivision -- or anywhere -- without first going through county government, which now restricts those types of land uses to certain areas.

Haven't studied the Alleghany ordinances, but we assume that the phrase "without first going through county government" means that there's a public hearing process in place to allow neighbors of any proposed development to raise competent, material, and substantial evidence about how such a development will damage their health, safety, or property values. Such evidence legally has to be taken into account ... the very mechanism that Watauga County badly needs.

No comments: