UDO meeting amazing, disturbing

Published 6:19 pm Tuesday, September 18, 2012

To the editor:
It was my understanding that the commissioners’ meeting of Sept. 17 was for the express purpose of giving citizens a chance to ask questions and get answers about the proposed UDO. The amazing and disturbing scene that evolved showed that there was hardly any desire to gain insight and learn the facts.
The on-going process of crafting the UDO based on the 20/20 award-winning vision plan, unanimously adopted by the commissioners on March 15, 2010, was news to many. Some admitted to never having heard of the UDO until three days ago and felt offended of having been kept in the dark. Nevertheless, they knew all about it. “No to the UDO” was the common rallying cry.
As a member of the UDO committee and a frequent observer at the planning board meetings pertaining to the UDO, I feel a deep sense of futility and disappointment. I am made to feel that the many volunteer hours spent on making the UDO relevant to our times and equitable and fair to all the citizens of Polk County were a waste of our time or worse, we are accused of taking away people’s liberty and running the county into the ground economically.
I am struck by the accusation that the ordinances and regulations that make up the UDO are supposed to be anti-business, anti-economic development and anti-jobs. The fact is that the table of uses and activities for the zoned areas was expanded from 54 to 245 in order to create opportunities and foster entrepreneurship.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate for Polk County stood at 7.8 percent at the end of August. It was 14.5 percent on Sept. 3 in Rutherford County. And yet we are told the grass is greener across the border because there is less regulation.
Are we to believe that the economic downturn somehow bypassed Polk County and that restrictive ordinances and regulations are the sole cause and at the root of our problems? Does anyone believe that White Oak Plantation’s foreclosure and the multiple changes of ownership at Bright’s Creek were due to over-regulation?
I would like to ask the people that were responsible for organizing the turn-out at the commissioners’ meeting and priming the emotions against the UDO to stop their rhetoric, learn the facts and truly work toward caring for each other and our environment.
– Crystel Walter, Mill Spring

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