You may have picked up on the conversation that there has been confusion about the zoning on Macedonia Road in Saluda, the location of the proposed Henderson County outdoor shooting range and law enforcement training facility. If you were at the Board of Commissioner’s Meeting on April 18, you heard commissioner, William Lapsley state the fact that this property in Saluda was zoned R-2-R which was a change from R-3 in 2014. This change was an outcome from a “comprehensive plan” and he expressed his concern and refusal to approve a special use permit which would be required to permit a shooting range at this location because of the R-2-R zoning.
What was this all about?
In 2009 the Henderson County Board of Commissioners put forth an outstanding effort to develop and implement the Henderson County Comprehensive Plan 2020 (HCCP). The document is available on the Planning Dept. website, and it reflects an enormous amount of time and resources from studies of county land use, citizen surveys, public input, and from information on how to protect natural resources in the County.
The HCCP 2020 is a “long range road map for the future of our community which examines and makes recommendations on a variety of planning activities such as Land Use, Infrastructure, the Environment, Recreation, Economic Development and More.” The comprehensive plan;
-serves as a guide for future growth and development
-provides a basis for decision-making, problem-solving and policy development by government officials
-informs people of a community's intentions regarding its future.
According to Map 24, Future Land Use, Macedonia Road is labelled as Rural/Agriculture Area (RAA). Excerpts from this section describing guidance for decision-making regarding land designated RAA include:
- Extraordinary care should be taken in these areas to preserve their rural character and to protect valuable farmlands as well as environmental and cultural resources.
- Land Use Planning should also acknowledge the presence of sensitive natural areas such as floodplain, wetlands, areas of steep topography, and other natural and cultural assets and should strive to protect these areas from development which would change such resources or diminish their integrity (page 136).
And, the areas labelled Conservation (page 138): (include land in conservation easement or under Federal or state protections, such as the NC Gamelands);
This category includes land areas that are intended to remain largely in their natural state, with only limited development...and are lands that exhibit the following characteristics:
- Sensitive natural areas such as steep slopes, major wetlands, forest reserves, and wildlife conservation areas and key water sources;
- Areas of historical and archaeological significance;
- Local, State or Federally mandated natural areas (Gamelands, I assume);
- Areas managed for agriculture or forestry land uses.
As a result of the HCCP 2020 and based on the stated purposes and guidelines in this 2020 Plan, the Commissioners in 2014 rezoned Macedonia Road (and other areas) from R-3 (which with a special permit allows for certain things such as an outdoor shooting range), to R-2-R, which does NOT allow under ANY circumstances for a shooting range.
In order to place an outdoor shooting range on this site, the owner of the property (Henderson County if the purchase is completed) would have to request a zoning change form R-2-R back to R-3, which is the same zoning that the Commissioners changed back in 2014. In, other words, as Commissioner Lapsley said in the April 18 meeting, changing the zoning from R-2-R (rural residential) “flies in the face of what we have told our citizens” in regards to our own zoning ordinances.
So, we come back to several questions for the commissioners;
1. Why is this location appropriate considering the effort the County went to in 2014 to study and revise the zoning in this area?
2. What changes have occurred to make the commissioners think this outdoor shooting range is now appropriate in this neighborhood which is clearly reflective of the descriptions outlined for Rural Agriculture in the County's own Comprehensive 2020 Plan?
3. What community or neighborhood in Henderson County is appropriate for the Proposed Outdoor Shooting Range and Tactical Training Center?
These are the questions that County Commissioners need to consider and reflect upon their own HCCP when deciding their decision about building this shooting range and training facility in Saluda.
We need your attendance at the Board of Commissioner’s meeting on May 7 at 5:30pm at the Historical Henderson County Courthouse on Main Street. We need to remind them why they made the right decisions about future land use when they changed zoning to R-2-R on Macedonia Road and all properties in Saluda located in Henderson County.
In the News
Catherine Hunter with Tryon Daily Bulletin discussed affects of Saluda' business community.
Catherine Hunter with Tryon Daily Bulletin visited the property and adjacent land owners. She describes this natural paradise in her article in the Tryon Daily Bulletin.
David Weintraub, Times-News – “No shortcuts for community planning.”
“A growing community means growing safety needs and a well-trained law enforcement officers to protect residents and businesses. But building an outdoor firing range in any of our neighborhoods has backfired time and again because living in a war zone is not compatible with retaining our rural character. Read more about “mindful consequences.”
Click this link to view the speakers from the Wednesday, April 18 commissioner's meeting.
Critical Meetings to Plan on Attending
It is essential that you plan on attending these two critical commissioner meetings in the assembly room of the Henderson Historic Courthouse on Main Street.
May 7 at 5:30pm
May 16 at 9am
We have been advised that the May 7 meeting may not have the shooting range on the agenda and we need as many of you that can make it to this meeting to show our strong support and numbers. Only 8-10 people need to sign up to speak. If we don’t get a “NO” vote on May 7, then we have to repeat this on May 16. Please put these dates on your calendar and plan to attend in force.
Please pass this information along to your friends and neighbors who may not be getting this email. David Weintraub has advice for us when we attend the BOC on Monday, May 7 at 5:30pm. That is;
“Tell your commissioners that we live in a special place. If we’re going to keep it special, we need to figure out what we hold dear and protect it. Let’s not sacrifice our pristine rivers, glorious mountains and sacred open space at the altar of growth. We can continue to have a healthy, happy community if we grow with our natural heritage foremost in mind.”
David Weintraub is a cultural preservationist and environmental troublemaker reachable at 828-692-8062 or saveculture.org
Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday, May 8. Your vote could change how Henderson County moves forward with its plans for locating a shooting range and training facility in Saluda. Early voting has started.
Visit Henderson County Elections Website for Directions and Polling Locations.
Letters to Editors
You can also write letters to the editor of the TIMES-NEWS opposing the Macedonia Road Location. Letters must be 200 words or less, must be signed with address and phone number.
Emai to: firstname.lastname@example.org
THIS IS CRITICAL. DO NOW!
Help the Cause
If you would like to make a donation to help fund the expenses incurred for attorney fees, signs, and printing, please make checks payable to Saluda Community Land Trust-Save Saluda and mail to Saluda Community Land Trust, PO Box 732, Saluda, NC 28773.
Please CONTINUE to call and contact county manager and each of the county commissioners to protest even if you have already made contact....do it again!
Michael Edney, Chair email@example.com 828-692-4130
Grady Hawkins, Vice Chair firstname.lastname@example.org 828-692-9855
Charlie Messer, Commissioner email@example.com 828-697-4808
Tommy Thompson, Commissioner firstname.lastname@example.org 828-697-4808
William Lapsley email@example.com 828-697-7334
Steve Wyatt, County Manager firstname.lastname@example.org 828-697-4809
919-715-4466, NC Legislator for Henderson, Polk, Transylvania