The TIEC development agreement and the future of Polk County

Published 8:00 am Friday, May 18, 2018

To start, I would like to say thank you to everyone who has reached out to me via email, phone, and through my office hours. It has been my honor to work with you to craft this agreement.

There has been a narrative circulating that we have granted Tryon Equestrian everything it has asked for in these negotiations, which is not the case. I want to go through three of the major things Polk County walked away with that will be extremely beneficial to the future of our county.

First, we made sure that there was a hard number limit on the amount of hotel/motel rooms that could be developed on site. After speaking with many citizens, we realized that there needed to be a limited number of rooms that could be built on site.

So, we set that number at 1,900 units, as it will allow for enough guests to be onsite, which will cut down on the amount of traffic that will be coming in and out of the facility during events, as well as provide increased revenue in sales and occupancy tax (paid by visitors) that can be spent on tourism and economic development for the county.

Second, we stipulated in the agreement that any land that had been purchased, is being purchased, or will be purchased in the future by the Equestrian Partners, is to be included under the umbrella of our development agreement. As we talked with citizens and took notes on their comments, the uncontrolled and unknown future development of TIEC was a major concern; this clause will play a major role in the county controlling future growth.

Finally, included that the county will have administrative oversight with any future development as it regards to public safety capabilities. This means that there will be a checklist performed by county emergency management staff, to make sure that we have the capabilities, or that they have contracted (at their own expense) with outside agencies, to provide sufficient resources to handle events and future development.

These clauses, along with other things, like lighting restrictions. were included to address the many concerns that we heard from the public in the weeks leading up to the vote that took place.

I understand that there will still be some adverse effects for neighboring citizens during the World Equestrian Games, but we did our best to address those. At the end of the, day I still hold the fundamental belief that government interference in the private sector should be minimal.

With that being said, I am proud of the strides the Polk County government has made on behalf of its citizens, and thank you again for those who worked alongside us.

If anyone has any questions or specific concerns feel free to reach out to me anytime at jjohnson@polknc.org; I would be happy to set up a meeting or call. It is an honor to serve and represent you. 

Jake Johnson

Chairman, Polk County Board of Commissioners