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Wednesday, 14 March 2007 00:00

What commissioners said

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Chairman Brian McMahan, lone “no” vote

“I’ve thought long and hard about this process. I thought about what will the moratorium accomplish? What would the consequences potentially be? It’s not really going to stop anything. There will be more houses built in the months to come. To say we are going to stop all development, that’s not what’s going to happen. All it is going to do is put a halt for five months. Then I had to weigh ‘What’s the consequences?’ We don’t really know what’s going to happen. If there’s a chance it could put somebody out of work, then I don’t think I could support it. I don’t want to take any chances. Let’s just ride this ship on out and adopt a good ordinance in a couple months.”

Commissioner Tom Massie, “yes” vote

“Despite what some people have said this is not an action this board is undertaking lightly or irresponsibly or anything else. What we do know not only from the public hearings but the hundreds and hundreds of emails, letters and phone calls, is the majority of citizens in Jackson County are agreed on a few things. They want people to continue to work. They want the building to continue to start. But they want responsible development and they also want standards. They want to protect the natural resources. They also want adequate time for the planning board to come up with thoughtful, responsible subdivision standards. I think this is as good a compromise we can come up with in Jackson County.”

Commissioner Mark Jones, “yes” vote

“I have builders and contractors on both sides of this fence. Not only has it been a divisive matter, but it even has in my own district. It has caused quite a lot of pressure on commissioners to come up with a compromise to avoid some of the hardship cases we have heard about.”

Commissioner Joe Cowan, “yes” vote

“Our job is to balance the competing interests as best we can. We did not have our minds made up because we have come up with a significant number of what I call compromises. I would like to thank this board for keeping an open mind. We have something now that nobody is going to lose any jobs from. Development can continue under the agreement yet we can meet our goal of high standards.”

Commissioner William Shelton, “yes” vote

“One word comes to mind and that’s sustainability. How do we balance what is happening in this county? It’s been stated that this area, the Appalachian Region, is the number one area for development over the next how many years. One phrase I hear more than any other is ‘We’ve got to do something. We’ve got to do something.’ The question is what do we do?

I’ve put more thought into this than anything in my life. I have heard these people afraid for their careers loud and clear. (The compromise) will give developers an opportunity to continue with these properties and developments and address the issue of job loss, which is questionable to me to begin with.”

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