Confusion is not constructive

Published 6:20 pm Tuesday, October 2, 2012

To the Editor:
We are alarmed at the mystery ads that are appearing in the Bulletin that seem to wrongly represent what the Polk County Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) really does. For example, that it will zone all of Polk County. The Tryon Daily Bulletin editorial did a good job of pointing out that this is untrue.
We do not believe that Polk County has any intention of violating anyone’s constitutional rights and will not enter upon property without permission or without proper credentials. You can check with the Polk County planning director about this policy. In fact, Section of the UDO, Inspections, says this: “The administrator shall have the right upon presentation of proper credentials, or inspection warrant if necessary, to enter on any premises within the planning jurisdiction of the county at any reasonable hour for the purposes of inspection, determination of plan compliance, or other enforcement actions under this ordinance and state law.” It is totally in compliance with the Constitution and laws. Even with this statement, the planning director always asks for a landowner’s permission to come on property, and only when absolutely necessary. It happens very seldom.
We believe that the planning board has thoroughly researched the slope situation and worked out an ordinance protecting the mountains for all of us. As to the rest of the Unified Development Ordinance (UDO), the other items merely consolidate previous ordinances that Polk County already has established as law, with the slope ordinance part of it being the significant item in it that is changed or more defined, according to all the information that is now available to the planning board who has presented it for our county commissioner approval. It is our understanding that the language of some items in the document may have been changed to simplify them for us all. In fact, that was the reason the ordinances have been consolidated into one document, in order to speed things up for those who choose to develop land.
As to the mystery ads claiming that the UDO goes against property rights, we would ask this question, whose property rights? Polk County has the property rights of a whole county full of property owners to protect. Certainly we would not want to have our government turn into something like what takes place in West Virginia where the property rights of coal mining companies are above those of all the property rights of individual property owners all combined in that state. Let us be thankful that in our county at least, the commissioners are taking everyone’s property rights into consideration in their decision making process. When a county invests our tax dollars taken from all of our property taxes to extend water lines, sheriff and fire services, etc., it has to consider many long term probabilities involved such as what the effect on the area’s water could be if the development upset the balance on higher slopes. Though development may bring more tax base, they have to decide if it is in the best interest long term costs for the whole of the tax base they already have been elected to serve.
The seeming fear mongering that the paid mystery ads invite does not appear to us to be in any way a constructive, peaceful way of going about participating toward sound problem solving. Check with our county’s planning director for the facts!
– Ted and Julie Perkins, Tryon

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