Council must reject annexation now

Carroll County Letters to the Editor

July 14, 2002

Congratulations to the Mount Airy Planning and Zoning Commission for their proactive recommendation to the Town Council, opposing the 258-acre Harrison-Leishear annexation.

The commission members obviously understand the irreversible permanent impact such massive development would impose on every resource in our community. They understand the potential impact on the schools our children attend, our water supply, roads, emergency services, and parks and recreation. They clearly understand that there is not one single perk that could be offered by the developers, nor any financial incentive to the town, that would come close to mitigating the all-around negative impact of the proposed project.

A puzzling and inconsistent message was sent to the citizens when the Town Council delayed its decision on this annexation, awaiting details on its impact. This is the same Town Council that recently imposed a one-year moratorium on new subdivisions, and whose new president, Frank Johnson, is traveling around Carroll County seeking allies on other town councils to partner with them asking the county to control residential growth.

The Mount Airy Town Council, under the leadership of Frank Johnson, must institute consistent growth policies now. If this Council is asking the county and other towns to control residential growth, if this Council has imposed a subdivision moratorium, if this Council's Planning and Zoning Commission says no to this annexation, if members of this Council were elected expressing concern about the impacts of growth, and if the citizens say no as they did at the polls, why would this Council consider this annexation at this time? Councilman Dave Pyatt got it right when he asked that the Council delay consideration of this annexation request for at least two years. His assessment that once the land is annexed, it is too late to say no to the building, was correct. It was disappointing that the Council did not take quick action on his motion.

The Town Council, under new President Frank Johnson, must show leadership and consistency on this issue now. They must put this discussion to rest immediately with consistent growth policies, which means saying no to this major annexation.

Michele Johnson

Mount Airy

The writer is co-founder of Mount Airy Citizens for Tomorrow.

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