Archived Story

Polk has spent $74k on developing UDO

Published 5:51pm Friday, September 21, 2012

Polk 20/20 vision, UDO timeline
Editor’s note: The following timeline is taken from minutes of Polk County board meetings regarding the comprehensive plan and the UDO.
• May 7, 2007 – A 22-member visioning committee was appointed by the board of commissioners, Harry Denton, Tommy Melton, Ted Owens, Tom Pack and Warren Watson. The committee was to develop a vision for Polk County and to recommend priorities for future planning.
• June 16, 2008 – The visioning committee presented its final report to the board of commissioners, Tommy Melton, Harry Denton, Ted Owens, Tom Pack and Warren Watson. Commissioner Pack made a motion to accept the report, seconded by Commissioner Owens, and the motion carried unanimously. Commissioner Pack recommended a Comprehensive Land Use Plan and an oversight citizen committee be formed.
• July 7, 2008 – Comprehensive Land Use presentation to commissioners. Commissioner Owens made the motion to form a Comprehensive Land Use Plan and an oversight committee for the Comprehensive Planning Process, seconded by Commissioner Pack. Discussion followed and the motion was removed. Commissioner Owens stated he did really didn’t want to delay it because we all really want to move on this, but if it will help the board make a decision properly he would be glad to delay the motion until the next meeting. Commissioner Pack agreed with Owens.
• July 21, 2008 – Proposed Comprehensive Plan RFP for review and citizen oversight committee formation. Commissioner Owens made the motion to create a Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee with one citizen from each township and one citizen from each of the municipalities. Commissioner Pack seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
• Oct. 6, 2008 – Recommendations for the Comprehensive Land Use Plan Citizens Advisory Committee. 43 applicants were interviewed by Joe Epley, Marshall Monroe, Cathy Ruth, Tom Pack and Tommy Melton. They recommended a primary and alternate for each township and each municipality. Commissioner Owens made a motion for these citizens to be appointed, seconded by Commissioner Watson, and carried unanimously. Commissioner Watson made a motion to approve Holland Consulting Planners from Wilmington, N.C. for $90,860, seconded by Commissioner Owens, and the motion carried 4-1 (Melton opposed).
• March 15, 2010 – 20/20 Vision Plan adopted as the Comprehension Plan for Polk County. Commissioner McDermott made a motion to adopt the Comprehension Plan, seconded by Commissioner Melton and it carried unanimously. Board of commissioners: Cindy Walker, Ray Gasperson, Renée McDermott, Tommy Melton and Warren Watson.
• May 3, 2010 – Discussion began regarding creating a Unified Development Ordinance by consolidating and organizing all of the land use ordinances into one document as recommended in the Comprehensive Plan. Commissioner McDermott made a motion, Commissioner Gasperson seconded and the motion carried unanimously. Board of commissioners: Cindy Walker, Ray Gasperson, Renée McDermott, Tommy Melton and Warren Watson.
• June 21, 2010 – Unified Development Ordinance Committee appointed.
• July 12, 2010 – Contract for consultant services with Holland Consulting Planners Inc. and Polk County to prepare a Unified Development Ordinance for the county. Vice-Chairperson Gasperson made a motion to approve the contract, seconded by Commissioner Watson, and the motion carried unanimously. The first meeting of the Unified Development Ordinance Committee is scheduled for July 26, 2010 at 7 p.m.


    This issue of the money wasted on the UDO, and it is an enormous sum, is the real benefit of another failed process. Over and over again we see local government simply waste the taxpayer money they are trusted with in the coffers of the general fund. There are many examples in front of us. Such as the UDO which no one wants in terms of the majority of folks out in the county. The UDO is the product of town thinking and a government centered in Columbus, Tryon, and Saluda which looks after the interests of the towns and seeks to IMPOSE on county folks outside the towns. And they are successful because the towns control the news and refuse to print letters to editor by folks like me, over and over again, who disagree with their viewpoint because I do not live in town. Over and over again county residents write in to their commission in disagreement with matters such as the UDO. And over and over again our commissioners for years have been elected to promote town interests. This is the problem. Until this changes the mess will continue. It is a long list of waste now. It is not just the UDO. Remember the annexation battle in Tryon, the simple fact the county stood by and watched the town of Tryon annex Harmon Field so that they could have their alcohol event there without holding an alcohol referendum, the FEMA grant to repair the river which never repaired the slide intentionally created to get the FEMA grant, and no one seems to notice matters such as the total of picture of that slide fitting into the rails to trails political plan. All of these matters indicative of commissioners over a long period of years who will not listen to their constituents outside town, but do listen to the town governments. The towns in Polk have small incorporated area, but the overwhelming political clout in Polk county is in the towns. The towns insist over and over money be wasted to limit the freedom and land use of the county at large and our Polk County commission has a long history over many, many years of supporting the town view over the view of county residents at large. THIS NEEDS TO CHANGE. COMMISSIONERS NEED TO REALLY LISTEN AND PAY ATTENTION TO THE FOLKS WHO LIVE OUTSIDE THE TOWNS AND THEY NEED TO GET OUT OF THEIR SEATS IN COLUMBUS AND GET OUT INTO THE COUNTY. AND THE LOCAL NEWSPAPERS NEED TO CHANGE THE POLICY OF ONLY PRINTING LETTERS TO EDITOR WHICH SUIT THEIR NARROW MINDED MAIN STREET TOWN VIEW. THAT IS THE ONLY WAY EVERYONE WILL EVER HAVE A VOICE. AND THAT IS WHAT IS GOING ON FOLKS………..ONLY THE ONE HUNDRED FOLKS WHO SUPPORT THE UDO HAD A VOICE…………. AND THEIR VOICE WAS LOUDER THAN EVERYONE ELSE FOR SO LONG BECAUSE EVERY TIME SOMEONE LIKE ME WROTE IN OPPOSITION TO THE UDO IT WAS HUSHED UP ALONG WITH THE CORRUPTION SURROUNDING IT.

Editor's Picks

Editorial: Divisive prayer alienated citizens

Everyone deserves the right to free speech. Few will argue this point more staunchly than those who work in the newspaper industry.  Even we have ... Read more  | 2 comments

Bathanti will judge Lanier Library’s poetry competition

North Carolina’s Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti will judge for this year’s Sidney Lanier Poetry Competition. Bathanti is the author of eight books of poetry as ... Read more