Author Archives: Pauline

July 8 ~TC Planning Board Ordinance Questions

The current Planning Board ordinance proposal falls short of a complete and responsible ordinance, despite many months of consideration. Among the shortcomings, the lack of consideration to include places of worship as protected facilities, vague and arbitrary exemptions and definitions are notable.

Clearly, enacting no ordinance at all is a failure to move forward with both community protections and responsible economic development. Inaction opens the door to liability issues for the county for not fulfilling the purpose of the moratorium.

Download the 6/26/14 PB Approved DRAFT HII Ordinance

Download the draft High Impact Industry Ordinance submitted by People for Clean Mountains in June of 2013 

There are many issues with this proposed draft ordinance, as follows:

  • We find the lack of designation of places of worship as protected facilities from separation requirements misguided, at best.
  •  Similarly, too much latitude is being given to Planning Board and Enforcement Officer rather than relying on clear, enforceable ordinance language.

Section 8. Enforcement Officer

The Board of Commissioners shall appoint an Enforcement Officer. The Enforcement Officer or his appointee shall administer and enforce all provisions of this Ordinance.

What codified input does the public have? Who is the Enforcement Officer? What are the qualifications for an Enforcement Officer? Staff, a Planning Board member or volunteer citizen? What will the Enforcement Officer cost the county?

 Section 10. Preferred Locations for High-Impact Commercial Development

The Board of Commissioners prefers applicants to locate, site, and erect High-Impact Industries in the order of the following priorities:

          1. Adjacent to existing High-Impact Industries

           2. Adjacent to existing commercial or industrial businesses

          3. Brownfield or redevelopment sites

            4. Greenfield sites

This essentially opens any location in the County to a high impact, polluting industry. Instead of protections, it’s a list of places to locate industries.

 Section 12.1 D 8 stream setbacks, if applicable.

Who decides if applicable??

There are no further requirements for a setback beyond normal building construction. The Pisgah Forest Zoning Ordinance states 20’ from top of bank. Stream setbacks are stipulated distances determined by industry classifications in most ordinances in effect. We feel that a high impact polluting industry needs to be more than 20’ from our waters.

 Section 12.1 D 9 Safety fencing, if applicable

Who decides if applicable? What standards of fencing? Safety fencing is not required. This is a standard requirement in virtually every ordinance in use.

Section 13.1 Separation distances

In Section 13.1, the distances are understandable for airports and racetracks. However, the separation distances are inadequate for homeowners and existing businesses when it comes to other high impact industries. Also, and most importantly, places of worship are not considered protected facilities as defined in Section 6. Not calling for more separation for churches and other places of worship is very short sighted.

 Section 13.2- Buffer- All High Impact Industries shall maintain… a 50 foot buffer on all property lines abutting a public or private road right of way.

High impact industries, by their nature, require greater setbacks.

Section 13.3 Screening & Vegetative Buffer. Plants shall very between a minimum of 5′ to greater than 10′.

With our varying topography, will this block the view? Does it have to be replaced if damaged or destroyed? Do existing white pines count as greater than 10′? What percentage of this vegetative buffer should be evergreen? Only requirement is 15′ wide strip at maturity? There is no requirement for submitting a landscape plan per Section 12.2.

  • Section 14.2

Damage to nonconforming buildings… repairs may be made provided the square footage… is maintained.

Other ordinances in practice call for maintaining the original building footprint.

Section 15. Variances and Appeals

15.1 Where strict adherence to the provisions of this chapter would cause an unnecessary hardship, the Planning Board may authorize a variance.

15.2 A hardship, as used in the context of this section, shall be considered to be some unique or unusual character to the proposed site, including but not limited to unique, size, shape, contour, or distance requirement.

This is simply a loop hole to grant variances. “Including but not limited to unique, size, shape, contour or distance” sets no boundaries. How then does this regulate high impact polluting industries if variances are an option for essentially all of the sections of the proposed ordinance?

For all these reasons, we respectfully request an extension of the moratorium in order to allow for various boards and agencies to review as originally directed by the Board of Commissioners. This effort to maintain sanctity of our community from polluting industries is not over until Transylvania County has an effective ordinance in place.

Please attend the Board of Commissions meeting on July 14, 2014 at 7:00 at the Transylvania County Courthouse and voice your opinions and concerns during the public hearing. The future of our community needs and depends on your input.

“Celebration on the Lawn” PCM Gathering, 4pm-7pm Sun. July 27

People for Clean Mountains, along with our sponsors:
Key Falls Inn, Oskar Blues Brewery, Grand Discovery Consultants and Grand Resort Travel Invite you to bring your lawn chair and join us for a Celebration on the Lawn, an event to benefit People For Clean Mountains.

Sunday, July 27
4pm – 7pm
Key Falls Inn
151 Everett Rd, Pisgah Forest, NC 28768

Music By Moonshine Babies
Afternoon Snacks and Refreshments followed by BBQ

Dinner by Key Falls Inn Catering & Oskar Blues
Cornhole games
Raffle items donated by local vendors

Bikers are encouraged to ride to this event in the beautiful Little River Valley. We also recommend car pooling to save gas. If you car pool, toss in an extra lawn chair for our bikers, they will appreciate it!

Tickets are $10.00 donation and available here:


Tickets




See you there and THANK YOU for your support!

FRACKING IN WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA?

Public Forum Event

6:30pm Thursday June 26, Transylvania County Library, 212 S Gaston St., Brevard, NC

The statewide Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League and their chapter People for Clean Mountains will hold a public forum on the impacts of exploration and extraction of natural gas in the mountains of North Carolina. The Pisgah Group of the NC Sierra Club will co-sponsor the meeting. Presenters at the meeting will be BREDL staffer Therese Vick, the League’s Anti-Fracking Campaign Coordinator, and Lou Zeller, Executive Director.

Vick, based in Raleigh, who has attended most of the state’s rulemaking meetings on the process known as hydrofracking, will discuss the impacts of the process on local communities including air and water pollution, landowner and property rights issues, and waste production and disposal.

Zeller will address the imminent geologic testing in mountain communities and the potential impacts in national forests. In addition to working in NC communities, the League has chapters in Virginia, Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia.

CONTACTS: Louis Zeller (336) 982-2691, Therese Vick (919) 345-3673 www.bredl.org

WIN A SOLAR SYSTEM!

Support People for Clean Mountains and  You could win $15,000* for your own solar system!

In cooperation with Sundance Power Systems, People for Clean Mountains are offering 180 tickets at only $100 per ticket towards a solar system of your choice.

  • Would you like to ‘go solar’ but don’t have the money now?
  • Do you want to support the clean energy in the region even if you don’t win?
  • Would you like to support an effective grassroots organization?
  • Solar PV electricity system?
  • Solar hot water?
  • Solar space heating?
  • Or a combination?

Sundance Power Systems can install any type of modern, efficient and cost effective solar system you have in mind! With $15,000* towards your solar system and an onsite estimate, you can decide what’s best for your location.

To Enter, Click Solar-Raffle, print entry form and submit your check for $100.00 to:

People for Clean Mountains     PO Box 1624     Pisgah Forest, NC 28768

OR

Drop Off Entry Form and Check at Local Color, 36 S Broad St., Brevard

*($15,000 when all 180 tickets are sold, more if more tickets are sold)

4/29/14 ~ PCM Update

People for Clean Mountains regrets that our Chair Kevin Glenn has had to take a temporary medical leave from his duties as chair to focus on his health. In the interim, Diann Harle, Vice Chair, will act in his place. Any questions regarding this can be directed to Mrs. Harle at diannharle@gmail.com. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Glenn family as they seek healing.