Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Evolution of Deborah Greene

Back in 2001-2002, Deborah Greene led the county forces who were against land-use planning to protect the citizens/homeowners from polluting industries, specifically (and most especially) asphalt plants. We were fighting on the other side.

Deborah Greene won that battle and in the process managed the defeat of county commissioners Sue Sweeting and Pat Wilkie in the fall of 2002, lambasting those two women as "pro-zoning."

Deborah Greene was a formidable opponent, the best organizer and strategist that the local Republicans had -- smart, capable, and effective.

Last night at yet another public hearing before the Watauga County Commission on yet another proposed Maymead asphalt plant, I heard Deborah Greene repent. She said, "I'm ashamed to say today that I opposed the group [Citizens Against Pollution] that fought an asphalt plant at Roby Greene Road because I was afraid that my farm would be zoned. I'm older and wiser today."

"If it takes zoning to stop it [the newest Maymead asphalt plant]," Greene said in closing, "then zone it!"

Goes to show that there really are "second acts" in America. And that Maymead now has another potent force lined up against their power and their greed.

Several speakers at last night's public hearing mentioned ruefully that there had been no public notice nor public hearing when Maymead first decided it would put an asphalt plant on the Doc & Merle Watson Scenic Byway in close proximity to residential development.

It might interest current County Commissioners that, as originally proposed, the High Impact Land Use Ordinance did include public notice and a public hearing for those negatively affected by the location of a polluting industry. That provision was removed by the Republican-dominated County Commission of that day (as Jimmy Hodges might well remember, since he was sitting on the Commission at that time, as a Democrat).

That public notice/public hearing provision should be reinstated now.


Anne said...

Not only was there no public notice, but the High Impact Land Use asphalt permit was issued by the county in 2011 to another company for land that has never been used for high impact asphalt production. The idea that the "permit follows the land" - in secret with no public notice - is damaging regulatory policy from commissioners who are SUPPOSED to protect the county's assets.

This is the goal of Watauga County's HILU - as defined in the current and proposed ordinances:

"...regulations of High Impact Land Uses are adopted for the purpose of promoting the health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of Watauga County, and to promote the peace and dignity of the county."

Tripling the number of asphalt plants within a 10-mile radius, allowing a sprawling asphalt facility on the Doc and Merle Watson Scenic Byway - placing THREE county schools in close proximity to toxic asphalt fumes, which ensures our children now must experience long-term exposure to toxic asphalt fumes as they attend school - the ease with which a toxic producer can obtain a HILU permit (Joe Furman and the county lawyers seem to imply that Radford's application equals the permit [grandfathered in!!!] - an appalling regulatory stance when it comes to high impact development within our county!) - our HILU ordinance fails completely to achieve the county's objectives of "promoting the health, safety and general welfare of the citizens of Watauga County."

CLEARLY Watauga County's HILU ordinance - both existing and proposed - protect the interests of high impact toxic producers, not Watauga County's residents and assets. That must change!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Will these two also come around? Jim and David? Time will tell ~

Anonymous said...

The high impact land use ordinance is a joke. The name sounds promising, but it amounts to nothing.