Archived Opinion

You can’t un-develop land

You can’t un-develop land

To the Editor:

I grew up in what used to be a small town in New Jersey. Everything was peaceful and had plenty of open land with farms spread out amongst Cape Cod housing developments, population around 10,000. 

It was beautiful land considered rural until the 1960s when certain kind of politicians who thought progress meant more homes (bigger of course) to bring more people, which in turn needed more schools and stores. We had a mayor in 1968 who said he wanted our town to have every kind of store and restaurant so anyone who came here would not leave here empty-handed. 

In the 1970s we grew again with condos, townhouses and apartments, which hold more people per square foot. All of this growth went unchecked and created more traffic, which needed expanded roads than the one highway that went through the center of town. My small town now has a population bigger than all of Haywood County. 

I moved here because it is so beautiful that I feel like I am living back 50 years ago with peace and quiet. This is a lesson for you, Waynesville, when you let so-called housing developments go unchecked, like the Palisades in Plott Creek, the Bi-Lo site, the Frog Level project, the 115-home subdivision off Raccoon Road, and now the Haven on Howell Mill Road. 

All of the developments are out of the low-income price range. You will become a bedroom community where those complexes are filled with people who live here but work elsewhere. If the Waynesville Planning Board doesn’t get smart and stop being outfoxed by these developers, this county will be changed from a beautiful rural county with four quaint towns to a traffic nightmare needing more schools and expanding roads and infrastructure. Cataloochee Resort tried to take over Jonathan Valley and we got them to back out. 

I saw this movie before and it won’t end pretty for you either. The Waynesville Planning Board needs a lesson in saturation. Don’t think all this open land is here for these developers to build and ruin. When all the open, beautiful land is gone, you can’t get it back. 

Michele Strubeck

Jonathan Creek

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