Dear Editor:

I was not surprised that the Jackson County Board of Commissioners unanimously voted to impose a

12 month moratorium on residential development. Two Commissioners have made public statements against development. District 3 Commissioner Ralph Richards, Jr. bio page on the Jackson County Government's website states, "Ralph's special focus in serving is on managing growth, protecting the natural beauty and rural character of Jackson County while maintaining a high quality of life for all citizens." Likewise, District 4 Commissioner Marty Seagraves bio page on the same website states, "As a member of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners, Marty's pledge and goal is to preserve the county's rural heritage for future generations." Commission Chairman Tom Crow's voting record over the years has been anti-growth. The Commissioners' predisposition towards anti-growth is obvious.

What I am surprised about is the Commissioner's failure to understand that this moratorium effectively limits a landowner of the use of his or her property as well as the economically reasonable use or value of his or her property. This is called regulatory taking and is a cause for legal action by a landowner. It will be difficult for the County to defend such a lawsuit since a very workable land use and subdivision plan already exists that the Commission itself praised when they voted to enact it, and Commissioners on the Board are on record as opposing growth.

I am also surprised that the Commissioners did not impose a moratorium on commercial development, which will additionally make defending the residential development moratorium more difficult. Apparently, the Commission encourages commercial but not residential growth. When the Commissioners have participated in those new-business ground breaking ceremonies, where did they think the workers at those new businesses would live? You can't have it both ways- commercial development but a rural, agricultural based landscape without residential housing.

I have to wonder what is the Commissioners' plan after the moratorium expires. I bet their plan is to develop and impose an impact fee schedule and procedure that is so expensive and onerous that it effectively prohibits any residential development. That would keep the Commissioners' predisposition towards anti-growth alive and well.


Wayne Whitelaw



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