In his letter to the editor referring to the controversy over the proposed development of the Coggins’ property in Riceville [“There is No ‘Light’ Development,” Feb. 5, Xpress], Troy Amastar said he was “appalled that the Western North Carolina Alliance is no longer an advocate for conservation, but instead supports such developments.”
Her statement is incorrect. At this time, the Alliance has not taken a position on the development and remains a vigorous advocate for conservation.
For more than 30 years, the Western North Carolina Alliance has been a trusted community partner, marshaling grassroots support to keep our forests healthy, our air and water clean and our communities vibrant. We recognize this region’s natural resources and scenic beauty make it unique. Therefore, thoughtful and effective land use and transportation planning are essential to protect the region’s natural heritage and ensure a high quality of life for present and future residents and visitors. Growth brings important economic vitality to our region, but it does not have to come at the expense of the environment. Indeed, this region’s economic success and high quality of life depend on a healthy environment, and citizens and local governments can and should make smart choices about how and where we grow based on proven principles.
Projections show that Buncombe County will add another 70,000 people by 2030. These people will need to live, work, go to school and play somewhere. Tough choices will need to be made, but with good planning and policies, we can more effectively direct future growth so the areas we cherish are preserved.
— Bob Wagner
Editor’s note: Bob Wagner is the co-director of the Western North Carolina Alliance.