Not buying the Swannanoa plan

So let me get this straight:
1) A small group of people got together.
2) They got the minimum amount of signatures to legally apply for the incorporation of Swannanoa by claiming Asheville was threatening annexation (a lie because annexation is illegal for such a vast, unpopulated area).
3) They say increased taxes on Swannanoa residents, at 5 cents per $100 of property value, will satisfy a budget. All other incorporated towns in the area have budgets well over 20 cents per $100.
4) The exact same people pushing incorporation will be unelected officials making up the acting City Council, making and enforcing laws until elections are held in May 2010. They will also be in charge of the budget and tax rate. Check the wording out in Senate Bill 553; Article 3.2.
5) They say incorporating will stop development, but only large commercial farms are grandfathered into the submitted charter, and forestry plans are incompatible (farms and forests fall prey to developers when this happens).
6) The legal population density needed to incorporate is minimum 40 percent. They turned in a map with their application that was a little over 40 percent. The map included conservation easements and large tracts of land with minimal housing noted as "developed."
7) The proposed bill says, "The entities sponsoring incorporation shall be entitled to recover from the Town expenses of sponsoring incorporation." So we are actually paying these people for this out of our piddly budget?
8) One of these people, who will also sit on the City Council as a voice for Swannanoa residents, [is accused of] removing a anti-incorporation sign from someone's yard a couple of weeks ago.

Supposedly there will be a vote in November now that these people have slipped the bill through the N.C. legislature. The people living in Swannanoa are not too complacent to show up and vote. I'm just worried the silent majority is not aware of the situation in general, much less the wool being pulled over their eyes. I hope that everyone from Swannanoa will tell their neighbors about the tyrants who are trying to become interim dictators of this beautiful section of WNC we call home.

I had no idea it was so easy to steal a town and get paid back for your efforts.

— John Kelleher
Swannanoa

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6 thoughts on “Not buying the Swannanoa plan

  1. WhyKillRobots

    Thanx John! I know all about number 8 on your list. I caught Dave Alexander (The Chair of the Incorporation Committee) red handed stealing my NO Incorporation sign right out of my front yard. Then he illegally attached a Vote for Incorporation sign to the utility pole at the corner of my lot. If he is willing to do sneaky things like that when he thinks that someone isn’t home. What will he do as mayor when Swannanoa residents are not paying attention.

    If you don’t believe it, then check the public records at the Buncombe County Sheriff’s Dept. Report# 2009-007258

  2. mountain folk

    Dude, you got it wrong…
    They’re not just stealing the small village of Swannanoa, they’re trying to steal all the land between Black Mountain, Fairview, Riceville and Asheville. That is the entire fire district including the mountains, forests and farms. That means everything they can see and more from their front porch.

  3. Audrey Godshall

    I don’t see how I would benefit from paying increased taxes for services I either already have (fire and police protection) or don’t want (more ambient light from street lights). I wonder who it is that would benefit, other than developers.

    People who have their residency listed elsewhere but own property here – whether they live here part of the year or not – will have NO VOTE, and therefore no say, in actions resulting from this vote for incorporation – whether they think it’s a benefit or not.

    Warren Wilson College is specifically NOT included in the proposed town of Swannanoa. (It certainly would have increased the “developed area” the incorporation promoters scrimped to show!) And rumor has it that it was WWC that chose to opt out of being included in this incorporated town. Either way, I wonder why.

  4. Bryan Ward

    Nothing to gain and everything to lose.

    As a Native of Swannanoa it appears to me that a small contingent of self appointed people are seeking empowerment and control over others through means of guile, force and deceit.

    There is nothing to be gained:
    1) We already enjoy a very adequate coverage and response time of police enforcement.

    2)According to Swannanoa2009.org : “Best of all, incorporation will eliminate the possibility of annexation by the city of Asheville, or the town of Black Mountain.” The City of Asheville and the City of Black Mountain are both on record as having no interest in annexing Swannanoa. This is a blatent fear tactic.

    3) Further it states: “We’ll get to create our own ordinances rather than be governed by Buncombe county commissioner.” Uh-huh… and the people to be on the town council (before any election ever occurs) are the same people pushing for incorporation… and thus they will be incumbents when an election does occur and who knows what ordinances and regulations will have been imposed as they are not made known.

    4) And more: “The Incorporation Task Force estimates annual property taxes will increase by 5 cents per $100 of assessed property value ($50 per $100,000 of assessed property value).” When was the last time you saw a “government estimate” come in on or under budget? We need another layer of government so that we can pay more taxes for less services? I think not.

    5) Ever hear of ETJ (Extra Territorial Jurisdiction) ? It is a statute in NC that gives municipalities control of territories outside of the limits of a city. So even if you live just outside of Swannanoa, and Swannanoa is incorporated you will be subject to the same rules and regulations imposed by this council you did not elect.

    Let the fruit of this effort to incorporate Swannanoa die on the vine; it already stinks

  5. j clark

    I have lived,in what I consider,the outskirts of Swannanoa the last 9 years. All of my adult life I have chosen to live in the country. I am quite happy with my present situation and do not wish it to be imposed on my a town centered 5 miles from my residence.

    To get to my house, I have the use of only one road, which is presently maintained by the state. I shudder to think what condition it will be reduced to when the responsibility for that maintenance is shifted to a town with a minimal budget and a vast area to service.

    It seems to me that the under the incorporation plan, the additional property taxes(my county taxes will continue) I pay will be an asset for a select few, and a detriment to the majority.

  6. hal

    quote: “I shudder to think what condition it will be reduced to when the responsibility for that maintenance is shifted to a town with a minimal budget and a vast area to service.”

    that won’t be all you have to worry about. consider substandard public works departments, local town police who abuse their power, etc etc etc. Read: Sandy Springs, GA. That area of Atlanta should have NEVER been incorporated.

    Swannanoa residents: don’t let a few power hungry people do this to your peaceful area of WNC. Asheville is not going to annex your town, as stated in one article they can’t because the population is too low.

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