Communication necessary for cooperation

Published 11:37 am Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Tryon Daily Bulletin printed an excellent article in Friday’s paper about the Unified Development Ordinance and the Mountain and Ridgeline Protection Ordinance (MRPO).  But there are some further points to be made.
First, no one is imposing anything on Saluda that isn’t in effect in the rest of the county. But because of Saluda’s elevation, the MRPO affects it differently.  Having had that issue brought to the attention of the UDO Committee, we have been working diligently to try to solve it, without eviscerating MRPO.
Most recently, I proposed that the MRPO be amended to allow areas zoned Highway Commercial or Neighborhood Commercial to supersede MRPO. The proposal was circulated, including to the mayor and other Saluda officials.  Until Friday’s news article, I heard absolutely nothing from the Saluda development advocates, pro or con, about the proposal.  If Mayor Baisden had a problem with the proposal, why couldn’t he have picked up the phone and called me to work it out?
Neither Mayor Baisden, nor any of the other Saluda development proponents, except Leon Morgan, has ever contacted me about the MRPO issue, or made any effort to solve their problem.  It is sad that earnest efforts on my part and on the part of the UDO Committee have been met by months of repeated stonewalling and recriminations.
I don’t recall the Saluda development advocates mentioning wanting industry in Saluda until I read it in the newspaper. Do Saluda residents really want industry?  Nevertheless, there’s a very easy fix for that: Just add Industrial zoning to Highway Commercial and Neighborhood Commercial as areas that are exempt from MRPO. If Mayor Baisden had told me about that concern, I could have provided him this solution a month ago.
A year ago, I suggested that the Saluda development advocates might fashion a solution to all of their concerns for the UDO Committee to consider. At that meeting, the UDO Committee said it unanimously was in favor of responding to Saluda’s needs.  The development advocates never responded with any suggestion, except essentially eliminating MRPO for the entire county.  So I finally prepared a written proposal that I believed would solve all the concerns that had been brought up.  Mayor Baisden responded only in the newspaper.
If people want to successfully resolve these issues, let’s do it, with open and frequent communication.  If people want to drag this out as part of some political offensive, let’s not.
– Renee McDermott, Tryon

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