February 15, 2019
After attending the Town Council meeting this past Tuesday, my concern for our Town has been elevated. It is a fact that our Town cannot function properly without rules and guidelines or, in this particular case, ordinances and policies. However, if these ordinances and policies are not created, maintained and enforced with logic and sensibility their true purposes will be distorted. I further believe that our Town government must be democratic. That is, our citizens shall elect officials to listen to our issues, to represent us, and to do what is best for Town to the best of their abilities.
It is in this spirit that I don’t understand why an hour and a half was dedicated on Tuesday to an agenda item that clearly was never going to be passed. I understand transparency, I understand the importance of citizens having a say in what happens in their town and I understand that the Council members are not to have their decisions made prior to the meeting. However, in this case it was very evident from the discussion part that all of the Council members had been contacted by an extraordinary number of citizens all with negative concerns some of which were factual. In this instance, would it not have been more productive to have tabled the agenda item or to have sent the agenda item back to the Planning Board citing specific concerns or to have removed the agenda item completely and moved the discussion to mid-year retreat?
But onward this agenda item went. After the detailed presentation of Planning Board suggestions that were based upon direction from Town Council and after citizens expressed concerns, I do not understand why Council never corrected numerous speakers’ errant observations that the Council would be losing control if suggested changes were to be adopted. This, in spite of the fact the Planning Board Chairperson had explicitly noted that any commercial project, whether it had variances or not, must always appear before both the Planning Board and the Town Council.
Please rest assured that I very much support our Mayor and Town Council members. Their jobs are not easy. Nonetheless it does seem that lately our Town is losing focus of vital elements that make Blowing Rock the great Town that it is, such as overall unity as well as the conviction and strength of shared morals and personal decisions.
Melissa Pickett, Proud and Involved Citizen of Blowing Rock