At today’s special council meeting on the N. Highland Lake Road project, the Flat Rock village council voted to approve the project—even though there are no final plans, no mention of how to fund amenities the village is responsible for, and significant areas of confusion.
Once again, the canard about the road being a danger was raised—“91 accidents in 5 years”—with no follow-up that 69 of those accidents occurred east of the railroad tracks, not in Flat Rock but in the section of the road near Spartanburg Highway that NCDOT has already widened, straightened, and to which they have already added left turn lanes.
Over the past months, village council members stated several times that if Pinecrest Presbyterian Church and Western Carolina Regional Animal Hospital were not “satisfied,” they would cancel the project.
This morning, they went back on their word. They broke their promise.
They decided that they know better than the property owners directly affected, better than Pinecrest Presbyterian Church, Western Carolina Regional Animal Hospital, Dale’s Automotive and local residents as to what signifies harm to those properties. While creating a wider turn area for larger buses to get to the Playhouse (and infringing into the historic district), they are ignoring other local businesses that will suffer economic harm with this project and residents who will suffer damage to their properties.
The village council announced several weeks ago that they would not use eminent domain in developing bike paths and greenways. Given that the council went back on their word this morning, we cannot trust them to keep their word on this as well. They are already fine with NCDOT using right-of-way, and possibly eminent domain, to build a sidewalk/multiuse path to nowhere. Your property and my property is quickly becoming everybody else’s property.
But we think that way because, according to what one council member said, we are “closed-minded.”
Just let that sink in—a council member, referring to his constituents and neighbors, thinks that we, citizens of Flat Rock and village property owners, exercising our freedoms of speech and association to protest against using the power of the State to take private property and waste taxpayer money, are “closed-minded” because we don’t agree with those we elected to represent us.
Those of us working to protect the largest historic district in the State of North Carolina should be commended, not denigrated. But that did not happen this morning.