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Wednesday, 29 February 2012 21:58

Ordinance revisions deserve public scrutiny

Written by 

To the Editor:

The Jackson County Planning Department is methodically revising sections of the subdivision ordinance. In the fall, the section pertaining to road design in subdivisions was simplified and, in our opinion, improved. Now, the department has issued proposed revisions to the open space standards. The current schedule calls for an official planning commission meeting for public comment followed by a vote to approve the proposed changes on March 8. A month later the revisions will be presented to the commissioners.  

Open space is a more complex issue than roads. According to the proposed revisions, open space includes natural, forested areas but also paved recreational facilities like tennis and basketball courts.

There are big differences between woodlands and tennis courts to our mountain heritage and ecology. For instance, there is a significant difference with respect to runoff and groundwater recharge. In our mountain terrain, actions that affect downhill landowners and their water wells should be done cautiously.

We ask County Planner Gerald Green to keep the planning commission public discussion regarding open space on March 8, but to postpone the planning commission vote for one month. In this extra time citizens can better understand the implications of the proposed revisions and provide input to the Planning Commission.

We also call for a community meeting to discuss the proposed revisions on Monday, March 5, at a time and place to be listed on the website www.WATRnc.org. All will be welcomed at that meeting.

Roger Clapp, Executive Director, Watershed Association of the Tuckasegee River

Ken Brown, Chairman, Tuckseigee Chapter of the Western North Carolina Alliance

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