Chocolate Drop discussion stirs debate

Published 6:09pm Monday, February 11, 2013

Lisa Krolak said she remembers the day she was driving to work and saw the grading that had started on Chocolate Drop and it made her heart drop.

“As a citizen I thought of what I could do to make sure that doesn’t happen anywhere else in the county,” said Krolak. “That’s what SOS (Save Our Slopes) did.”

It was at that time that she and others went out and collected names and started SOS and after a couple of years Krolak said they had about 1,200 people signed up.

Krolak said Polk County can’t change state regulations but maybe the county could work together to come up with local regulations.

David Weiss said he also wanted to hear the other side of the story and contacted DENR, who didn’t know about Polk’s meeting.

Weiss said there seems to be a lot of parties involved including DENR, DOT, the developer, lot owners, the Town of Columbus and Stott.

“To create a fair and balanced meeting you might should have invited some of those groups,” Weiss told commissioners.

Weiss also said he’s spoken to the Columbus manager and found out the town’s fire department had problems getting on Chocolate Drop during a fire along U.S. 74.

“It would be nice if we could work together to rebuild Chocolate Drop,” Weiss said.

Weiss said bankruptcy is a stalemate and maybe Polk could create a fund raiser to get some traction going. He said he hates big government but this is what can happen when you have an out-of-state developer who doesn’t know the soils in North Carolina.

“Hopefully we can create a more rounded presentation in the future,” Weiss said.

Commissioner Tom Pack said it had been rumored that Stott had tried to replant trees on the mountain and asked why that hasn’t happened. Stott said the developers were forced into bankruptcy and DENR regulations wouldn’t allow them to do anything without being fined.

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