An overflow crowd that flocked to Henderson County’s Historic Courthouse last week implored the Board of Commissioners to reject a 2045 comprehensive land-use draft that they said encourages sprawl, endangers the apple country and does nothing to preserve open space and natural resources.
Suzanne Hale said the draft plan would “sentence the apple industry to a long slow painful death.”
“The decline in our apple industry is real,” she said. “According to USDA, the county lost a third of its orchards between 2002 and 2017. Turning the county’s farms and forest over to subdivisions filled with people from other areas would forever undermine local culture. There would be no going back. It would be gone forever. … Please keep Henderson County green. It’s important for all of us.”. . .
Regardless of who’s right, the Board of Commissioners meeting last week laid to rest any concern that the public would fail to appreciate the importance of the land-use plan that’s intended to guide development and manage growth of the next two decades. The farming community and especially various green groups and rural community associations are intensely engaged in the process. . .
A recurring theme when commenters panned the comp plan last week was sprawl into the apple country and other rural farming communities. Several people quoted an analysis that said the 2045 plan would allow 94,305 dwellings on vacant land when the plan’s own population growth projection over the next 20 years is 32,393. The analysis came from “Grow Good,” a grassroots organization that’s a spinoff of the group of landowners who organized to oppose a large ministorage unit facility in the Crab Creek community. Among the donors who funded the Grow Good campaign are former state Rep. Chuck McGrady and Fritz McPhail, who returned to the Crab Creek community where he grew up when he retired from a banking career.
“Why did we come here? We came here for the beauty, the quality of life and the approach that Hendersonville needs to take is to probably cluster the commercial development in certain areas so that we don’t destroy the whole reason that we’re here,” McPhail said. “If you compare us to dozens of areas across the country, many of which are been threatened due to external forces, climate change, we’re kind of in a Goldilocks and the rural areas that we have are absolutely beautiful. And that’s really the question Why are you here? If you’re here for that, then why would you want to destroy it?”. . .