BCC 2035 Growth plan gets thumbs up, suggest bypassing County Commission for approval and changes
Bradley County planning meeting:
February 11, 2014
Tuesday, 6 pm
Bradley County Courthouse
Tuesday evening the Bradley County Planning Commission voted to move forward with the BCC 2035 Growth Plan with one NO vote coming from member Mike Graves.
The wildly unpopular plan that has met much County disapproval over the last 2 years was approved regardless of the people’s voice.
In fact, approximately one year ago at a 3 day Charette the plan per community survey was knocked down with a 73 percent unfavorable ruling.
The results were so bad that an Independent team using video cameras had to compile the results for public consumption because Mr Dale did not want to publish the terrible results.
Greg Dale of McBride Dale and Clarion, at the Charette, was quoted as saying in all his years he has never seen one community come together and voice this much opposition over a growth plan.
The evening meeting at the Bradley County Courthouse was a relatively short one lasting nearly an hour. Interestingly enough, upon entering the room, before the meeting, I overheard one unknown person say from the front of the room “aaah, get prepared for a long night!”
I interpreted that statement to mean a local unelected board is going to have to listen to the people that have to pay the bills and maybe answer a few questions and they will not like it. These responses evoked upon entering the room are small victories and confirm my saying “that where the flak is heaviest, the target is confirmed.” It reinforces the reason we do what we do. I wiped the grin off my face in anticipation of what was to come and listened closely.
Indeed, the night was short as the usual drain of business was gotten out of the way, the commission proceeded toward approval.
A few rezoning questions were answered and a few projects approved. The meeting went off without a hitch and we heard from a few residents from the Hopewell/Georgetown area.
The newly appointed County Planner Bentley Thomas was conducting the meeting and moving right along until……a statement was made that caused many jaws to drop in the room.
Mr Thomas suggested and I’m
paraphrasing (I didn’t bring my recorder) that it be considered in the future, that this body, the Planning Commission become the ultimate decision maker when it comes to implementation and changes made to the BCC Growth Plan, simply bypassing the County Commissioners all together and leave the decision making up to planning commission. You know, bypass the voting body that represents the people of Bradley County and do what you want.
A lead balloon would have bounced better than that suggestion did. Discussion and the opinions of audience participants after the meeting suggested this man had probably been prompted by “higher powers” to test the waters and see how this approach would fly. Well it didn’t sit well particularly with the citizens in the room.
I quickly texted a few friends in the room to confirm what I just heard was right and indeed I heard correctly. I fully expect to see the local media leave this very important issue out of any future articles, how be it that the circumvention of the citizens and their elected representatives be reported in a liberal media outlet.
What a revelation? What an epic power grab by elitist? An attempt to bypass the people and the duly elected to turn all the power over to a dictatorial and perhaps unconstitutional order of procedure. Will be interesting to see how the County Commission reacts to this one.
Planning member Mike Graves answered Commissioner Tom Cryes request for comments from the commission about objections to the plan. Mr Graves voiced that in it’s current form he could not provide a yes vote to move forward and would vote NO. There was little discussion about the specifics of the issues and he didn’t go into great detail.
Prior to the final vote, small talk took over the tone of the meeting and a general feeling in the air was that very few, if any, had even read the “new and revised ” plan they were getting ready to approve. It was a Nancy Pelosi type moment, “Let’s read it after we approve it, to see what is in it.”
A few of the Commissioners were approached after the meeting and told BCN that they had looked over it and read the summary of the document. None questioned could provide detail or specifics of the plan. Also, no copy of the plans were available but Mr Thomas offered to email me a link to the plan.
Local activist, County Commissioner Candidate and Tea Party of SETN Dan Rawls approached the bench and asked a few questions before the approval vote was cast.
“Is this plan tied into the 16 County Regional plan” was the first question lobbied toward Mr Thomas and the Commission.
Mr Thomas replied and said the BCC 2035 plan was tied to the 16 County Regional Plan but couldnt specify how or in what capacity. He went on to say it was mentioned but could not recall on what page or exactly what it said. Concerns over duplicating our efforts was expressed and why duplicate and spend money we don’t have.
Mr Rawls also encouraged the Commission to read both plans and familiarize themselves with it before they went much further into the approval process.
Despite objections and the assumed non reading of the plan, the vote was then cast with one NO vote and the approval to move forward on the plan was approved.