Chocolate Drop discussion stirs debate

Published 6:09pm Monday, February 11, 2013

Renée McDermott said there was no regulation saying the Texas developer, or anyone else, had to develop Chocolate Drop Mountain.

McDermott said DENR and department of transportation (DOT) requirements about the slopes of roads and widths are in place for good reasons such as safety.

“If legal roads couldn’t be built on Chocolate Drop without the disastrous damage that was caused, the answer was not to develop the mountain,” McDermott said, “not to forge ahead either ignorantly or willfully ignoring the fully foreseeable outcome of the work.

The answer was not to build below standard and unsafe roads, roads too steep or too narrow for emergency vehicles.”

McDermott said instead of helping, or enabling the Texas developer, how much better would it have been if Stott had used his knowledge and experience to tell the developer not to develop Chocolate Drop?

“To tell that developer that Chocolate Drop couldn’t be developed without causing terrible damage on the mountain and below it, to the innocent homeowners living below,” she said. “How much better would it have been for Mr. Stott to tell the developer to find another place to make his money? That was a choice. That would have been the right choice.”

Stott said he is saddened by the results of the development and even hired a mediator and spent $400,000 more submitting plans to DENR. He said they got to the point where they had no choice less than to bankrupt the project and he was forced to leave his beautiful county.

He asked if people don’t realize that saying no pig farms, no race tracks, no mobile homes through regulations is only playing into developers’ hands.

“When you take and say you can’t do this and do that you’ve taken away the character that was created here,” Stott said.

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