Wednesday, November 07, 2007

State-Wide Trends? The Faster the Growth, the Harder the Brakes

In the election results from municipalities around the state yesterday, every one of you can probably find something to flatter your own biases. Below is a brief and quick grabbing up of some examples. Although slow-growth or "smart-growth" was the winning issue in many towns, that trend was far from unanimous.

Footnote on the influence of big money in municipal elections: Lots of dough didn't sway voters in Chapel Hill nor in Boone but apparently did in Pittsboro (# 10 below) and most certainly did in Asheville (# 8 below). Go figure.

1. The Wake Forest town board had been voting 3-2 in favor of controversial large developments, but yesterday all three of those pro-growth incumbents were kicked out, replaced by people "who promised to slow the town's rapid development."

2. "Holly Springs residents voted to keep a watchful eye on growth in their booming town."

3. "The commissioners on Rolesville's Town Board have been advocates for growth, but on very specific terms. As farms turn into subdivisions, most votes for new development are unanimous after commissioners hash out plans at meetings. Candidates for the race, in which there were no incumbents running, have not deviated far from the controlled growth stance the current board has advocated."

4. Managed growth carried the election in Waynesville.

5. Apex's controlled-growth mayor & council members ran unopposed.

6. Smart-growth was the winning issue in Sylva.

7. Controlling growth was the driving issue that won incumbents reelection in Morrisville.

8. Asheville progressives took a hit yesterday. The lone Republican in the race beat a Democratic incumbent who had been a prime mover behind the town's steep-slope development ordinance.

9. In Knightdale, grassroots opposition to the placement of a Wal-Mart Supercenter was not enough to defeat pro-growth incumbents.

10. In Pittsboro, a slate backed by the planned-growth organization Pittsboro Together was defeated wholesale "by a sleazy campaign" led by the anti land transfer tax crowd. The slow-growth mayor was retained in a three-way race. Because of this unusual situation, the incumbent mayor was reelected even though more people voted against him than for him. He's got a rough two years ahead of him.

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