Mr. Joe Connolly, Buncombe County attorney, informed the attendees at the Aug. 5 commissioner's meeting that North Carolina has a law prohibiting residents from voting on the zoning issue. What he said is true, but he didn't go far enough. In spite of this law, we did vote on zoning in 1999 and set a precedent that makes it easier to vote the next time. True, it was a nonbinding vote, but it was good seven years. How could we do this when there's a law that says we can't? The commissioners themselves set it up for us. All they had to do was at least make sure three of them contacted our legislators and [to] tell them they wanted the people to vote on the zoning issue.
We now have two new commissioners on board that know very little about the county zoning issue. … They need to review the zoning issue from the beginning to the end. If they do this, they would have to agree that taking people's property rights away and turning them over to government control, without a vote by the people, is not right the right thing to do.
These same two commissioners, along with Bill Stanley (who has never been for zoning), could make that call to ask the legislators to let the county residents vote, and then the issue could be settled once and for all.
If the majority were to want zoning, so be it. If the majority didn't want zoning, let it end there and agree to abide by the vote. This would most certainly assure those three commissioners their reelection. We could vote on the issue this November, and it wouldn't cost the taxpayers any extra money. As it stands now, our commissioners spent well over $500,000 in the past few years readying the illegal zoning they forced on us in 2007. Now they are doing it again. …
We have two communities in the county that have been zoned voluntarily for years. The one I speak of is the Limestone Community in the Skyland area. In 2001, the commissioners held a public meeting … in the area. Seems like Mr. Bob Ingle … wanted to build a new store on Long Shoals Road and the commissioners wanted to hear from the people. The property owners spoke, many of them teary-eyed, for they would be forced to move. They reminded the commissioners they had zoning and were safe. They had been promised that zoning protected them from just this type of situation. Didn't matter how much they begged. The commissioners knew what they were going to do before they held the meeting. … Mr. Ingle got his new store and the community protected by zoning got shafted.
I urge you to attend Let Buncombe Vote meetings in your community and visit the Web site, LetBuncombeVote.Com.
— Peggy Bennett