Repealing MRPO against county’s comprehensive plan

Published 6:44pm Thursday, February 7, 2013

Section P-47 says that Polk County supports protections of its ridgeline areas as a valuable, aesthetic, natural and economic resource. And section I-52 states that the county should utilize the MRPO to regulate ridge development.

Commissioners also on Monday directed its planning board to table work on Article 25 regarding ridgeline protections that the planning board has discussed to be placed in the county’s proposed unified development ordinance. (see article, pg. 8)

Commissioner Tom Pack asked if the county had a steep slope ordinance who would administer that ordinance. Polk County Planner Cathy Ruth said it would be the building inspector.

Pack responded that it is the same administrator, the building inspector who will be doing a pre-site inspection of building sites.

A few residents spoke on the inconsistency statement with all being in favor of the county having steep slope protections in the form of an ordinance.

Carolyn Ashburn asked commissioners to please reconsider adopting the steep slope ordinance as recommended unanimously by the planning board.

“The beauty of Polk County is too precious to lose to economic development,” Ashburn said.

Lisa Krolak also asked commissioners to reconsider. She said the county needs a solid plan in place and the steep slopes ordinance does not affect the use of the property. It merely imposes standards and best management practices, she said.

David Weiss said a steep slope ordinance defines a process and if building inspectors were adequate for that protocol we wouldn’t hear of erosion in North Carolina.

“If that’s what their role was in their job then we wouldn’t see the problems we are seeing,” said Weiss. “Let’s handle it right so we’re not facing more of the same issues that we’ve had.”

Dave Maxwell echoed Weiss and said the building inspector Polk County has he gives the highest praises to but he’s not the person who looks at steep slopes. He asked commissioners why they don’t hire someone out of Raleigh who is a real expert at steep slopes.

Christel Walter said commissioners’ statement was to possibly save some money for homeowners? She said what residents had to say regarding rescinding the MRPO and replacing it with a steep slopes ordinance did not matter to commissioners.

“The present policy of having nothing in place is short sighted and counter-productive,” Walter said.

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