Meet the candidates for Village Council

As part of CLG’s focus on providing information to the Flat Rock community, we have asked all four candidates running for the Flat Rock Village Council in the November 2 municipal election to submit answers to a set of questions. We appreciate the candidates’ willingness to respond and we hope this will help the community learn more about those running. (Find out when and where to vote here.)

The Village of Flat Rock is divided into three districts, with two council seats per district for purposes of having geographical distribution on the Village Council, but all seats are voted on at large by all registered voters in the Village. One seat in each district is up for election this year. District 1 and District 3 candidates are running unopposed. District 2 is a contested race between Susan Gregory (current council member, appointed by the Village Council in December 2020) and Jim Hart.

If you distribute this, please keep the information complete and do not alter or edit any material. Thank you.


District 1: Matt Toner, running unopposed

If you could describe your candidacy in one sentence, what would you say?

I love Flat Rock and feel an obligation and desire to give back to the community that’s given so much joy to me.

What skills do you have that will contribute to the leadership of the Village of Flat Rock? In what ways have you helped or served the Village?

During my career I had the privilege of running several large pieces of business. This experience taught me not only the need to manage a budget, but the need to articulate a vision and to engage and inspire those around you in it’s pursuit. I believe these skills would serve me well in helping lead the Village.

Currently I serve the Village as Chairman of the Flat Rock Park and Recreation Commission, a very rewarding position.

In 2020, two council members resigned midterm. Once elected, would you pledge to serve out your term? Are there any circumstances under which you might not complete your term?

It is my intent and I pledge to serve my full term, if elected. That said, my family is my top priority and if some unforeseen situation required my full attention, that would take priority. Obviously, an unexpected health condition could also cause a change in plans.

There are several important pieces of real estate for sale in the Village, including the Mansouri Mansion (Woodfield Inn), a commercial parcel on W Blue Ridge Rd (by the Village Bakery), and the Mansouri Apartments on Greenville Highway. There is also a large parcel on W. Blue Ridge (just past the Mill House Lodge) that was previously approved as a Planned Unit Development (PUD) but has not yet been developed.

From your perspective, what issues and/or opportunities do these parcels present to the Village?

The challenge is to ensure these properties are developed in a way that maintains the natural beauty and historic character of Flat Rock. The opportunity is to engage any potential development early in the planning process and ensure community buy-in. Get it right or don’t do it should be the guiding principle.

What is your vision for the future of the Village of Flat Rock?

My vision is that the next generation is able to enjoy the same natural beauty, the same relaxed atmosphere, the same sense of community, the same appreciation of history, the same cultural activities and the same pride that I feel, living in Flat Rock. If elected I will try and never lose sight of what makes Flat Rock unique. Bigger and more modern is not always better.


District 2: Susan Gregory (current council member, appointed by the Village Council in December 2020), Jim Hart – contested race

Susan Gregory

If you could describe your candidacy in one sentence, what would you say?

I am a candidate because, after filling a vacancy on the Council for the better part of a year, I found the role to be my most fulfilling volunteer job ever, and I want to continue to serve. 

What skills do you have that will contribute to the leadership of Flat Rock?  In what ways have you helped or served the Village?

I believe my energy, my love for this community and my organizational talents have already contributed to my work as Council Member.  As liaison to the Planning Board, I initiated a much-needed update of Flat Rock’s land use plan from 2013, which does not reflect the current policies of the Council.  

I joined Historic Flat Rock, Inc, shortly after moving here. I sit on the Board and have served on HFR’s Executive Committee.  

In 2020, two council members resigned midterm.  Once elected, would you pledge to serve out your terms?  Are there any circumstances under which you might not complete your term?

Absent catastrophic events that cannot be foreseen, if I am elected to a full term, I will serve a full term.

There are several important pieces of real estate for sale in the Village, including the Mansouri Mansion (Woodfield Inn), a commercial parcel on W Blue Ridge Rd (by the Village Bakery), and the Mansouri Apartments on Greenville Highway.  There is also a large parcel on W Blue Ridge (just past the Mill House Lodge) that was previously approved as a Planned Unit Development (PUD0 but has not yet been developed.

From your perspective, what issues and/or opportunities do these parcels present to the Village?

All these properties, and other large parcels on our map, presage change within Flat Rock. We must be proactive to ensure such changes are consistent with the character of our Village. Our new land use plan will declare current policies to anyone interested. Once that is done, the Planning Board will begin a review of the Land Use Ordinance. The Ordinance is the basis for decisions, not the Plan.

Fortunately, our Ordinance already contains key provisions for housing developments, including PUDs, and multi-family residential neighborhoods. These include specific requirements on density, open spaces and landscaping. These, too, will be reviewed.

What is your vision for the future of the Village of Flat Rock?

Flat Rock will change, and we must use reason, fairness and adherence to our ordinances as that happens. Working together, the Village Council, concerned organizations and our residents, can keep those changes consistent with the character of our beautiful and historic Village. I want to be part of that effort.


Jim Hart

If you could describe your candidacy in one sentence, what would you say?

Not to change our Great Flat Rock, only to Speed up the time for us to make changes, improve our property or to repair damages and to be available to listen to your suggestions or complaints.

What skills do you have that will contribute to the leadership of the Village of Flat Rock? In what ways have you helped or served the Village?  

I have been a Business person most of my life, a paper rout at 12, life guard at 16, G/Sgt USMS, General Manager Textiles 30 years that included Managing 3,000 Employees, Designing & Building Plants, Budgets, designing Products, Purchasing, Negotiating Contracts, Training, Job Descriptions and Scheduling. Owner of Sporting Goods 15 Years and Dist Manger of 21 Radio Shacks. Also State Officer for Georgia Jaycees, President of Chamber of Commerce, President of Rotary and representative for Henderson for Western Carolina Land of Sky Planning Board and a Leader in the Boy Scouts. I have been Treasure for Pinecrest Presbyterian Church for 35 years and also a Deacon and Elder. Currently Precent Chairman for E. Flat Rock Republican Party.

In 2020, two council members resigned midterm. Once elected, would you pledge to serve out your term? Are there any circumstances under which you might not complete your term?

The only reason not to complete would be a calling from our Lord. Marines don’t Quit!

There are several important pieces of real estate for sale in the Village, including the Mansouri Mansion (Woodfield Inn), commercial parcels on W Blue Ridge Rd (by the Village Bakery), and the Mansouri Apartments on Greenville Highway. There is also a large parcel on W. Blue Ridge (just past the Mill House Lodge) that was previously approved as a Planned Unit Development (PUD) but has not yet been developed. 

From your perspective, what issues and/or opportunities do these parcels present to the Village?

I would have to have more Information But if I saw it was with the image of Flat Rock not just Tax Revenue I would work to make it work. 

What is your vision for the future of the Village of Flat Rock?

We all Know our Flat Rock is seen to be the perfect place to raise a Family or Retire, and the Visitors looking will realize this and it will Grow. The Village Council is charged to Maintain our image in this growth or it will loose what we moved here for. I moved here in 57 and seen it grow.


District 3: Barbara Jeter, running unopposed

If you could describe your candidacy in one sentence, what would you say?

I would like to give back to the community I have enjoyed for almost 50 years.

What skills do you have that will contribute to the leadership of the Village of Flat Rock? In what ways have you helped or served the Village?  

I have helped in the past by serving on the original planning board that wrote the original zoning and subdivision ordinances. 

In 2020, two council members resigned midterm. Once elected, would you pledge to serve out your term? Are there any circumstances under which you might not complete your term?

Of course I would serve out my term, if elected. I can’t imagine anything that would make me resign.

There are several important pieces of real estate for sale in the Village, including the Mansouri Mansion (Woodfield Inn), commercial parcels on W Blue Ridge Rd (by the Village Bakery), and the Mansouri Apartments on Greenville Highway. There is also a large parcel on W. Blue Ridge (just past the Mill House Lodge) that was previously approved as a Planned Unit Development (PUD) but has not yet been developed. 

From your perspective, what issues and/or opportunities do these parcels present to the Village?

Any PUD can be a traffic generator, so careful attention would need to be paid to traffic increases on W. Blue Ridge, especially since there is school traffic on that road. Depending on the PUD size, a turn lane on W.Blue Ridge might need to be considered.

What is your vision for the future of the Village of Flat Rock?

My vision is that Flat Rock is a pretty special place and our elected officials need to carefully consider any future changes to make sure they preserve our wonderful community.

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