It’s an upside-down world we live in

Thank you, Mountain Xpress, for looking into how Tunnel Road-style development came to Five Points [“Ruffled Feathers,” Aug. 7]. The owners of the former Deal Buick site on Merrimon Avenue have taken every advantage of their low-brow, horribly inappropriate highway-business zoning. Yet, the real story here is the city’s failure to serve the public interest.

Over the past year, the Harris Teeter construction site has unleashed massive amounts of run-off through Five Points into Reed Creek ( Yet, the city refuses to fine them to the fullest extent of the law. The developers have also failed to keep their no through-truck agreement.

Zoning is about keeping people from stomping each other’s property rights. In the wake of Staples and the Greenlife loading-dock debacle, the city-sanctioned Merrimon Study Group made recommendations that the last Council should have passed.

The Merrimon Study did not collapse due to bickering as reported. It collapsed due to a lack of political will and bullying.

The last City Council didn’t have the integrity to stand up to the developers. But officials didn’t stop there — they added insult to injury by appointing Harris Teeter developer Holly Shriner to the planning board over an engineer and an urban planner. It’s an upside-down world we live in. [Heather Rayburn is a member of Five Points Neighborhood Association.]

— Heather Rayburn

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