Tuesday, February 13, 2007


So says Scott Sexton today in his W-S Journal column, headlined "Movement toward zoning runs through mountains."

Sexton cites some irrefutable facts from the 1990s: "According to the 2000 U.S. Census, the mountain counties of Northwest North Carolina grew by an average of 12 percent in the 1990s. Half of the region's 10 fastest-growing communities were in southeastern Watauga County -- including New River Township, which had a whopping 166.3 percent growth rate."

Nothing we've noticed suggests that rate of growth has slowed appreciably in the first decade of the 21st century, certainly not in Watauga and apparently not in adjoining Ashe.

Most interesting in Sexton's piece are the quotes from mountain elected officials, like
Richard Blackburn, the chairman of the Ashe County Board of Commissioners: "You cannot just develop a plan and impose it on a county or its people. But if the grassroots and citizens clamor for it, then you have to look at it .... It's not an outcry yet, but I believe there has been a slight shift in attitude in that direction."

'Course, it's an open question whether a "slight shift" will be enough to save the mountains from the massive land-grab currently underway, with
a handful reaping huge profits. They don't want any change and will fight dirty to keep it from happening.

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