Steep Slope Ordinances

Published 10:42 am Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Chocolate Drop Mountain. (photo submitted by Sky Conrad)

My research recently on  steep slope ordinances yielded two references to Chocolate Drop on state and national websites:,_Polk_County,_North_Carolina.jpg
The headlines under both read “Negative environmental impact of development on steep slopes.”
It hurts my heart that Polk County, my home, is represented this way and that incredulously there are some here that still don’t see the need for adoption of protective ordinances. Steep slope ordinances under the UDO (Unified Development Ordinance) are designed to protect beautiful amenities: our mountains, foothill slopes and clean water resources and, as it is written, strikes a proper balance between responsible/sound development and our environment. Issues that would be addressed under these regulations are important and far reaching: landslides, wildfires, emergency response, erosion/sedimentation/storm water runoffs; water quality and quantity, impacts on aquatic species and ecosystems; loss of natural areas, endangered species, wildlife habitat and loss of property/homes; tree and vegetation preservation; aesthetics and view shed protection.
The UDO Committee and the Polk County Planning Board have spent countless hours developing the draft for final approval by commissioners on Sept 17.  This is a compilation of information derived from experts in the field, environmental/physical sciences and relevant research, in order to ultimately protect the health, safety and welfare of our citizens by protecting our lands and waters. Its intentions and purposes are certainly not meant to step on or violate our “liberties.”
Devastation on Chocolate Drop Mountain happened in 2007 because there was no local oversight or steep slope ordinances in effect. Please, in 2012, let us LEARN from this ugly lesson and adopt/enact these vital protective ordinances under the UDO so this never happens again.   Come out the 17th and support the UDO.
– Sky Conard, Mill Spring

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