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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Karl Marx Comes To Macon County

The following article comes from the
Franklin Press Online:

Moratorium on high rises passes, 5-0
By Colin McCandless, Staff writer

The Macon County Board of Commissioners unanimously passed a resolution at Monday's continuation meeting to enact a moratorium on the issuance of building permits for high-rise construction in the county.

Motivated by a proposed a 10-story high rise condominium off U.S. Highway 64 in Highlands, Macon County residents have packed commissioner's meetings and planning board meetings since October to voice their opposition.

Citizens have expressed concerns about a variety of issues such as fire protection and public safety, groundwater supply, property rights, traffic congestion and the high rise structures' threat to the sense of place and quality of life in the area.

The discussion

County planner Stacy Guffey presented the moratorium ordinance to commissioners after the public hearing concluded and explained the reasoning behind the configuration of the document.

Guffey said that in 2005 the North Carolina legislature adopted new rules for issuing a moratorium.

"These rules require that we explain in greater detail the purpose of the moratorium," Guffey said.

He outlined specific points counties must address in an ordinance before moving forward with a moratorium.

Guffey said the county had to devise a clear statement of problems and conditions that necessitate the moratorium and list alternatives to the moratorium considered by the county such as not addressing the issue - not an option in this case.

'Macon County has not had the opportunity to discuss more extensive controls on this type of development and which ones may be appropriate for this type of development," Guffey said.

The legislation asks for a clear statement of the development approval subject to the moratorium and Guffey said they had achieved this step through the building permit process.

They also had to establish a date for the termination of the moratorium.

At the recommendation of the Institute of Government, Guffey said they decided to lengthen the time limit for the high-rise moratorium from the standard six months to11 months. Thus it will expire Nov. 18, 2007.

"It's always better to come out a little bit ahead than having to go back and do another public hearing if we don't have controls in place at that time," Guffey said.

Lastly, the county must provide a clear statement of the actions and schedule for those actions.

Guffey said that planning staff and the county attorney Lesley Moxley would conduct research on the potential effects of high rise buildings and potential controls for them appropriate to Macon County.

"Then I would ask permission to take it to the planning board and let them make comments on it before bringing it back to you (commissioners) for consideration," Guffey said.

Guffey said another focus of his and Moxley's work had been to strengthen the language of the moratorium document. He said they added definitions for words such as "foundation" and "story" at the request of chief building inspector Jack Morgan who said that would be important to his staff.

Guffey asked commissioners whether they had any questions about the moratorium ordinance,

Commissioner Brian McClellan asked for a point of clarification on an ordinance statistic from the U.S. Census that described the growth rate in Macon County as "continuing at around 30 percent."

Guffey said the data derived from the 1990-2000 U.S. Census statistics and the growth rate had continued at approximately 30 percent.

McClellan said he thought the reference needed its specific time frame included and was worried that the language used with the statistic- "continuing at around 30 percent" might lessen the accuracy of the statement and allow the developer to dispute an error in the county's fact gathering.

"I'd just hate for someone to take us to court and say 'well, you said it was 30 and no it's not-it's 25,' so that invalidates it.

"Thirty percent is meaningless without being founded by something," McClellan said.

Leatherman asked Moxley about the best way to phrase the statement to substantiate the growth rate statistic.

Moxley recommended they amend the statement to read: "Whereas the growth rate in Macon County according to the U.S. Census between 1990-2000 was around 30 percent."

Commissioner Bob Simpson, who made the initial motion on the moratorium, then agreed to amend his motion to reflect the ordinance changes.

Town Alderman Bob Scott had asked the commissioners during the public hearing if the moratorium would affect the municipalities.

The response was postponed until commissioners entered discussion on the moratorium, at which time Moxley explained the procedure.

"It's not effective within any municipality or within any municipalities' ETJ," Moxley said. However, a municipality may elect to adopt the ordinance if they choose to do so and they would have to do it in accordance with the general statutes, but no, this is not going to be effective within the Town of Franklin or its ETJ."

Scott said he would bring the moratorium to the town board for consideration.

Commissioner Davis asked Guffey if the developer of the proposed 10-story tower had been in touch with him to discuss the additional burden on infrastructure.

Guffey said that the developer had spoken with chief building inspector Jack Morgan but not him personally.

Davis then mentioned fire protection issues related to the high rise and the millions it would cost the Highlands Fire Department to update their equipment.

Guffey said he did have a discussion with Warrren Cabe, Director of Emergency Services. Cabe verified that they would need to purchase new equipment to service the top floors of a 10-story high rise in the event of a fire, which would cost millions to procure.

Guffey said Cabe informed him that even the new equipment would still fail to reach the 10th floor.

Ronnie Beale inquired:"Mr. Guffey, assuming passage - is it your feeling that this would become part of the High Impact Ordinance we already have now?'

Guffey said that he would rely on the county attorney to advise the board on that particular action.

"We did not address residential issues in the High Impact Ordinance and I don't know if that's a legal issue or not," Guffey said.

Moxley replied that the statutes allowed for either a stand-alone ordinance or, if deemed appropriate, to consider amending the High Impact Ordinance.

"Until we get into it, we really won't be able to tell you whether it's appropriate or not."

Public hearing speakers

Before the hearing began, Chairman Leatherman asked for a show of hands from audience members to indicate those who were in favor of the moratorium. Everyone in the full board room raised their arms.

People were given three minutes each to address the board but most speakers just chose to confirm their support for the moratorium, as Leatherman suggested at the hearing's start in the interest of time.

Leatherman acknowledged his own support for the moratorium as well.

Bob Kieltyka, who serves on the board of directors of the Highlands Chamber of Commerce, said their mission is to promote the responsible residential development of the town of Highlands and its surroundings.

"Developers should know and understand our communities and what motivates the people that visit here and choose to reside here," Kieltyka said.

"In many cases what works elsewhere neither works in this area nor is it wanted. High rise construction is neither the image we want in Highlands, nor do we want this in the adjacent areas," Kieltyka said.

Kieltyka recommended that the moratorium restrict buildings over 35 feet.

Resident Luther Turner, who commented that his family settled in Macon County in the 1830s, said the area had always been characterized by low-profile buildings and it should remain that way, reiterating Kieltyka's suggestion of prohibiting buildings over 35 feet or three stories.


This is a clear case in usurpation of private property rights, where people who do not own a piece of property tell the person, or persons, who do own the property what to do with it. What these people in favor of this moratorium are doing smells suspiciously like what Marxists all across the world are trying to do in the interest of "sustainable development."

Sustainable Development Equals UN Agenda 21 Equals Marxism.

Some of you might think this is a Leap in Logic, so I refer you to North Carolina 20/20
Report of The North Carolina Progress Board of December, 2001. There are parts of this report that refer to land use (code for zoning) development:

1.) Land Use Plans. All local governments will have and use plans incorporating growth
management strategies, development monitoring measures, and natural resource
conservation policies. Growth is directed to areas with existing infrastructure, including
transportation, and water and wastewater systems. Currently 79 counties have land use
I believe the good people of Macon County have been tricked into allowing County-Wide Zoning via the Back Door. No doubt some of those people tricked were conservatives who proved themselves to be useful idiots for the "progressive" cause of establishing government control of every aspect of our lives, to wit:

"The idea that government doesn't grant rights is offensive to those who wish to control our lives. Therefore, to gain greater control, the idea of natural rights, God-given rights and Christian values must be suppressed. The idea that rights precede government was John Locke's natural law philosophy, which had a significant influence on our nation's founders, but they chose to refer to natural law as rights endowed by the Creator. The attack on Christian ideas and Christian public displays is part and parcel of the Leftist control agenda in another way. Certain components of the Leftist agenda require that our primary allegiance be with government. As such, there must be an attack on allegiances to the teachings of the church and family. After all, for example, if you want popular acceptance of homosexual marriages, there must be a campaign against church teachings that condemn such practices. Emboldened by their successes in the courts and intimidation of public officials, Leftists will no doubt make other demands; there's no logical end point except complete Christian capitulation. There are Christian symbols and exhibits in many Washington, DC, government buildings that will come down, such as: Moses with the Ten Commandments inside the U.S. Supreme Court, George Washington praying in the Capitol Building, Abraham Lincoln's speech mentioning God carved inside the Lincoln Memorial. Religious programming on the radio and television will come under attack. After all, there's Federal Communications Commission permission to use the 'public airwaves.' If Leftists say they have no such intention to go after television, radio and other public expressions of Christianity, what they really mean is that they haven't softened us up enough yet. I'm not quite sure of just how we should respond to the ongoing attack on Christianity and American values, but we'd better do something quickly." - Dr. Walter Williams