White Oak agreement NOT ready for vote tonight

Published 9:17 am Monday, April 22, 2013

To the editor:

I am a former Fortune 500 negotiator and non-practicing attorney and am proud to be a seven-year member of our Polk County community.

After reading the entire proposed 20-year master plan and rezoning amendment, I am alarmed at the legal, financial and zoning items that have not already been negotiated out of (or into) these permanent commitments.

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And if approved tonight (which can be done by only three commissioners) we will be “saddled” with it for 20 years. This is not just about Green Creek. This will affect residents and business owners in Columbus, Tryon, Saluda and Mill Spring.

Here are just a few issues I see that are unresolved and should be further considered before a vote:

• No written limitations exist on the use of helicopters. (Emergency use is always okay but there are no written restrictions limiting number of flights, fly-bys for sales and marketing or night time flying)

• No protections to Polk taxpayers that the developers won’t sell some or all of their property to a nature preserve or similar legal structure, bypassing many taxes.

• Broad reaching new zoning rights granted to the developers (over 122 permitted uses in total) – some are normal and some are far reaching.

• No written commitment for any jobs (only verbal promises)

• No land-based tax revenue for the “guestimated” 2,800 jockey’s and 5,000 horse handlers because they live on (virtually) tax free land in RVs. (This is why RV parks are notorious drains on communities – without a permanent dwelling, the tax base is only on the land (cheap) and the county gets very little without adding usage fees.)