Land use criticisms were off the mark

To the Editor:

I have been a full time resident and small business owner in the Cashiers area since 1988 and value Cashiers as one of the best places to live in the world! I consider myself a moderate independent voter and prefer to pick elected officials, not just because of their party affiliation, but according to their perceived character and their ability to serve “all groups” rather than “special interests.”     

In reading David Joy’s article, “Voters Keeping Up With the Jones” in the March 7 edition of the Crossroads Chronicle, I observed some very troublesome statements I would like to express my concerns. Some of these are:

• Many of the quotes found in this article were critical of Mark Jones and other commissioners who had the courage to address needed land use issues. I feel much of the criticism was exaggerated, manipulated and in some cases simply not true. These regulations did not have a serious negative impact on the economy of Jackson County as indicated by commission candidate Marty Jones. Most feel these addressed needed restrictions were designed to better control the safety factors in construction and other abuses having a negative impact on the natural assets of our beautiful mountain landscape.     

• In no way were our Jackson County commissioners responsible for bringing a recession to Jackson County. Greed, irresponsible spending and out of control borrowing was the major cause of a recession that developed nationwide.

• Also, Marty Jones stated in the article the dollar volume of vacant land dropped 35 percent after land use regulations were implemented and blamed Mark Jones and other commissioners who created the land use regulations. It should be noted that Cashiers is in an area of the country where its attractiveness to investors and those desiring to own a home in one of the most beautiful areas of the country had gained widespread interest. However, land and homes values were highly inflated, in some cases over 100 percent of true value. Decrease in vacant land values, in my opinion, was attributed to unrealistic and inflated pricing of land. These are factors to consider and not caused by land use regulations. In addition, we were on the verge of a national economic crash.

I recognize change and development are inevitable; however, new growth should be accountable to those of us who value the wonders and pleasure of living in this special place in North Carolina.

I believe our commissioners are elected to serve all the people, not just the special interests of real estate companies, development and the construction industry. It is hoped the concerns of the true special interests(those of us who make up the majority of those living in southern Jackson County) will be considered. It is hoped those of us who value clean water, clean air, beautiful mountain scenes and wildlife will continue to have a voice in projects have an impact of our way of life.

John Edwards


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