It would be very nice to have a greenway through Swannanoa, but the questions regarding eminent domain need to be addressed. There is a map floating around Swannanoa of a proposed greenway. There are properties along the route, and many are working farms. Imagine if you owned one of them, saw this map with a line drawn through your property and had not been contacted about it.
So how does one find out about eminent domain issues regarding this?
The same organization that started the failed incorporation drive created a greenway committee. This committee is specifically headed by the attorney who represented their incorporation task force. They had a "Visioning Meeting," and then the map appeared. Considering their past history of not communicating with people who oppose their ideas, it seems frivolous to try to contact them about the eminent domain issue. The Parks and Recreation Department was contacted. They said they are doing a feasibility study right now, and eminent domain is a legal issue. They advised writing a letter to the county Board of Commissioners. When asked if the affected property owners were being called during the feasibility study, they said that comes at the "next stage." If eminent domain is not on the table, not calling land owners for permission would make this study a waste of time and taxpayers money. But it sounds like it is on the table, and they do not want to be on record as saying so.
A letter could be sent to the county Board. I don't think it would get past the secretary's desk because they did not return a phone call regarding the matter.
Unfortunately, eminent domain has been used for such things as widening highways and [running] sewer lines. But it is mesmerizing to think the government can forcibly take land so that people can skip, ride unicycles, and click their heels from side to side through someone's property.
A lot of united Swannanoa residents want to know two things:
1) Can one of the groups involved explain the laws regarding eminent domain and greenways?
2) Can the groups involved put in writing that eminent domain is out of the question?
If these questions are answered, property owners who are affected will not be helplessly walking on eggshells for months, and everyone can get excited about finding a way to put a greenway through. This is an issue that needs to be nipped in the bud before it is too late.
— John Kelleher