Response to annexation story

Published 8:38 am Tuesday, August 2, 2011

To the Editor:
I have never before responded to misrepresentation of my comments in the Tryon Daily Bulletin and the reporting in the July 27 issue of TDB is certainly not among the more damaging.
I’m just feeling particularly tired of having words attributed to me that are most definitely not my own.
In the above-mentioned article, Leah Justice reported on the request by Giardini Trattoria’s owners for annexation of their 5-acre property to permit increased revenue through sales of wine and beer on their premises.
Leah wrote, “But Columbus resident Kathleen Kent said she didn’t hear any of the people in support [of the annexation] say where they live.”
Quite the contrary, as the nine articulate Giardini patrons spoke at the podium before I took my own turn, I was taking notes including the name and area of residency of each. Therefore, I was well aware of the residence of Lake Lure councilwoman Linda Turner and her husband Woody, and that of the seven Polk County residents.
None of those who spoke in favor of the requested annexation may vote in Town of Columbus elections.
Not one of the five Columbus residents who spoke at the hearing favored the requested annexation, but rather expressed concerns and raised questions.
Several council members acknowledged having heard from additional residents with concerns about the proposed annexation.
According to North Carolina General Statute 160A‑58.2, “If the council then finds and determines that… the public health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the city and of the area proposed for annexation will be best served by the annexation, the council may adopt an ordinance annexing the area described in the petition.”
Just as I trusted the representatives of Foster Creek Preserve and Chocolate Drop to know their best interests would be served by the annexation they requested of Columbus Town Council, I trust the business acumen of Ann Lyth and Joseph Laudisio in determining their own best interest before requesting annexation of their property.
Whether Columbus residents’ “health, safety and welfare” will be “best served” by the requested annexation is not clear. The agenda for the council meeting of July 21, shows “Staff recommends adoption of ordinance” under each of five items including the requested annexation.
At the bottom of the annexation ordinance included in the agenda packet a week preceding the meeting, we read, “(Ord. 2011-02, passed 07/21/2011).” An apparent assumption. Some Columbus residents are currently finding their health and welfare compromised by limited income.
Leah reported, “The tax revenue would be $600 per year, according to town manager Jonathan Kanipe.”
This is not, as one unabashedly pro-annexation speaker averred, “free money.” Change in economy, zoning and councils is inevitable.
Elected officials are as human as the rest of us. Even in small towns where everyone is a near neighbor, some council decisions have been based on friendships, desire for prestige, and/or extremely superficial knowledge of a matter rather than the genuine best interest of constituents.
We love you, Joe and Ann, but your request may not serve our best interests as well as it would serve yours.
Sincere best wishes.
– Kathleen Kent

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox