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