I would like to add to the clamor over the steep-slope ordinance.
I have not read very much about it, so I do not know what I am talking about.
However that may be, I have lived for a good many years and seen a few things. This letter will be in the form of an old man’s reminiscences.
I have seen soil control regulations put into place which forced landowners to spend money to control erosion that was not leaving their own property. They did not care if some soil from one part of their field eroded to another part of their field, but they were not free to have it so; they were compelled to install erosion control measures.
I have seen regulations put into place that required everyone whose activity might adversely impact a neighbor to spend money to prevent the possibility, though that possibility was small and could have been compensated much cheaper than prevented; a matter of spending millions of dollars under compulsion in order to prevent thousands of dollars worth of damage. A side-effect of, and maybe the real motive for the regulations was to create more government inspectors-bureaucrats tend to vote for whoever is already in office.
I have seen regulations put into place ostensibly to protect public safety, but actually to keep poorer people out of the community; they could not afford to install the building code requirements “necessary” for public safety.
I have seen events that harmed no one reported in scary terms so as to alarm ignorant voters into supporting a regulation for preventing such events, when, the real motive of the regulators was to benefit themselves via this devious and underhanded method of misleading propaganda; a benefit such as protecting the view from their front porch, at the expense of the neighboring property owners.
In every one of these cases, I believe the regulations took more money out of the community than they put into it, but each of them took a few dollars from everybody and placed more dollars into the pockets of relatively fewer but vocal (they stood to gain, so they were vocal) individuals; the majority of individuals were losing too few dollars to bother with making objections, except maybe the poor people, but they, being already poor, were not politically significant.
Your rights are like a cookie: If you keep taking bites, no matter how small the bites, eventually there will be no cookie. The people who benefit from eating your cookie are not going to give it back to you and you may have made them so powerful that you cannot take it back.
So, based upon my experiences and observations, without knowing the details of the proposed steep-slope regulation, my knee-jerk reaction is to oppose it.
George S. Crockett — Franklin, N.C.