Maggie pauses some developments | News
MAGGIE VALLEY — A crowd of around 50 people were in attendance Tuesday for a public hearing to impose a six-month moratorium on the location of planned campgrounds, RV parks and RV unit developments within the city’s zoning jurisdiction.
Despite the number of people present, few spoke at the public hearing, after which council approved the moratorium on a 3-2 vote with Mayor Mike Eveland, Alderman Jim Owens and Alderman John Hinton approving. and Phillip and Tammy Wight opposing it.
Allen Allsbrooks, a member of the Maggie Valley Zoning Board of Adjustment, read two letters on behalf of others who were unable to attend the meeting – one from former city council member and real estate agent Linda Taylor, who feared that the moratorium would hinder a sale of property, and one from John and Carrie Dazugas, who were concerned about the devaluation action on their property.
Kay Sebastian spoke out in favor of the moratorium, saying that in the November 2021 election, 70% of voters backed candidates who supported responsible growth.
“For those who are unclear on the definition of a moratorium, it is a temporary suspension, and I emphasize the temporary suspension of activity until new conditions justify the lifting of the restrictions. suspensions,” she said.
The essence of government is to balance the needs of a community, and to achieve this, she urged council members to support the moratorium.
William Clark, an attorney representing Ghost Town managing partner Frankie Wood and his company Coastal Development Carolina, said the moratorium would stifle economic development, especially with a number of projects Woods had underway.
“Maggie Valley is a tourist town,” he said. “People come to RV parks. They may not be full time residents, but they will pay taxes, spend money on a unit development project.
A planned RV unit development is a park where each parking area is sold rather than leased.
“Mr. Wood thinks this is aimed at his development,” Clark said, “and asks that the moratorium not pass.”
Clark questioned the difference between the draft version of the moratorium, which he said was clearly illegal, and the final version. He asked the board to allow more time for public comment given the change.
Maggie Valley attorney Craig Justus said the notice of public hearing was for a moratorium and there was no need to provide the specific language of the order before the public hearing.
Dave Angel, the owner of Elevated Mountain Distilling, cited the increase in RV sales, especially since COVID, and predicted the RV trend won’t change.
“It’s an economic growth opportunity for this city,” he said. “The moratorium has a direct impact on the business world and is an opportunity to seize the changing tourism industry.”
Mitch Robinson said he had never been to a growing city lined with campgrounds and RV parks.
“To me, allowing that would block any future growth that matters in the long term. I’m in favor of the moratorium until we figure out what’s best in the long term,” he said.
Ken Brown cited an article in The mountaineer showing that the number of tourists has been steadily increasing for years, and especially in the past year.
“There’s been an exponential spike, and there’s no end in sight,” he said. “Tourism is not out of whack.”
After the public hearing ended, Alderman Phillip Wight opposed the moratorium, saying there were many ways to control development without resorting to a moratorium.
“I don’t understand the fear of RV parks. They are compatible with social isolation and their popularity continues to grow,” Wight said. “Many campsites are already reserved for next year. It’s a huge market.
Alderman Tammy Wight said Haywood has had a banner year in tourism and trying to change zoning rules that ignore one market segment is a “gross abuse of power”.
“Expecting owners and investors to put projects on hold is not always without legal risk,” she warned. “I don’t see it as a matter of need. I see it as a landowner’s right being taken away.
Phillip Wight said Maggie Valley was dying.
“Our business is doing badly and we are doing nothing. We keep going down,” he said. “The idea of hiding in the winter and doing nothing to try to help…I think we’re on the wrong track.”
Alderman John Hinton said 12 RV parks over four miles was too much.
“It’s not about property rights. It’s about what people want their city to look like,” he said. “This is a short period of reflection while we objectively review the ordinances. We need to put the UDO (Unified Development Ordinance) in place.
Mayor Mike Eveland said the moratorium would allow time for the UDO to be considered and explained that passing it would remove politics and emotion from the process.
Alderman Jim Owens said a dozen campgrounds and RV parks in the city was more than enough, and cited public sentiment he encountered on the campaign trail along these lines. . He cited a survey by the Maggie Valley Chamber of Commerce where even business owners weren’t keen on the idea of high-end campgrounds or RV parks.
Of 167 survey respondents, three-quarters said there were enough campgrounds in town, and more than half said they would not prefer luxury campgrounds to campgrounds that allow all types of vehicles.
Owens introduced a motion to approve the moratorium, which passed by a 3-2 vote.