Commissioners should vote to stop urban sprawl into Foothills

Published 8:00 am Friday, March 30, 2018

The Tryon Resort is asking our Polk County commissioners to approve a zoning change to most of their acreage in front of the Tryon International Equestrian Center.

If approved, the resort will be allowed to build unlimited hotels on this approximately 40-acre site off Highway 74, and these hotels will be allowed to be 10 feet higher than previously zoned — for a total approximate height of 60 feet.

My husband and I are close neighbors of TIEC. Therefore, some of you may be surprised to hear that we are all in favor of this request.

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We know that, because TIEC is here to stay, the hotels are needed and will be built somewhere. They can either all be grouped together on the site that has already been approved for 450 hotel rooms at a 50-foot height, or they can be scattered throughout our county — further disrupting our rural neighborhoods.

At the moment, there is a huge shortage of rooms for TIEC visitors. Because of this, LLCs and other speculators have driven up our property tax values as they’ve bought land for the sole purpose of putting in short-term rental trailers/cabins. We have a total of eight of these already along our previously agricultural and residential road.

Without the hotels, this trend will continue.

If most of the hotels needed by TIEC visitors are located in front of the center, it will save taxpayers in additional road construction costs, too. The state of North Carolina has needed to spend millions of dollars to improve traffic flow to TIEC from Highway 74.

Many people outside of Polk County don’t realize that we are a dry county, with legal alcohol sales reserved for inside city limits or at sporting venues. Since TIEC is allowed to sell alcohol, it is much safer to have plentiful hotels onsite, instead of forcing visitors who have been enjoying a few drinks to drive to scattered lodgings.

If our Polk County Commissioners find it safe and feasible to give the Tryon Resort their requested zoning change, it will finally create the year-round jobs that we’ve all been promised, also.

We hope to somehow keep our rural neighborhoods and landscapes around TIEC intact and slow down the urban sprawl. For this to happen, we need to allow and contain development within the existing footprint of the Tryon Resort.

Debbie Rogers