When the Wolf is at the door

Can you spell cognitive dissonance? That’s what many of us experienced on Sept. 13 at the Madison County commissioners’ meeting. After a spectacular outpouring of evidence against the prudence of approving the various Wolf Ridge development applications for rezoning, they were indeed approved. At that point, many of us experienced a total scrambling of our logical-brain functions. Three hundred acres of our beautiful valley are now due for destruction.

Surely they must be joking. After a series of expert-witness presentations, legal representatives, and citizens reporting that their springs have run dry, the unbelievable motion was made to approve rezoning for the mega-development to go forward.

During her rebuttal period, the counsel for Laurel Valley Watch asked for those in the audience who were opposed to the decision to stand up. Approximately 85 percent of the packed courtroom stood.

With no meaningful questions by the commissioners to the developers, seeking no public input (other than Laurel Valley Watch speakers), a call for approval was put forth by Commissioner Hal Moore. When told by attorney Larry Leake that, legally, Mr. Moore would have to offer an explanation of why he was approving the request, Mr. Leake was met with a pathetic blank stare from Mr. Moore. Cognitive dissonance.

Mr. Moore was incapable of uttering any reason for his approval motion. Mr. Leake then proceeded to put words in Mr. Moore’s mouth, which the commissioner promptly repeated. Many got up and walked out to show their disgust.

A few questions:

1. Why were these developers granted a special Thursday meeting of the County Commissioners, when all other developers must go through the due process of submitting [requests], [then] waiting for the regular monthly schedule? Can you spell special treatment?

2. Why was Larry Leake—who resigned as county attorney—representing the county? His business with the county [supposedly] concluded when LVW settled its lawsuit against the county in July. He now represents at least one of the developers in the infamous Branberg lawsuit in which the developers are charged with blasting Mr. Branberg’s [property] for their private jetport, timbering a large portion of that land and selling several lots off of it. Can you spell arrogance?

3. Why do the county commissioners continually ignore the input from citizens who are directly affected by this development? Can you spell total disregard?

4. Why are the county commissioners totally ignoring the devastating effects of the prolonged drought on our water supply? Why are they not considering the effect that 900 new homes would have on that water supply? Can you spell reckless incompetence?

5. Are you ready to vote these commissioners out in the next election? Or before? Can you spell fed up?

P.S. We’re not going away.

— Krys Crimi
Mars Hill

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