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Opinion Letters No protection for property owners

While most educated people understand that the issue of zoning in Macon County is a very controversial one, the reaction of offical at the recent county commission meeting was disheartening to many residents of Clarks Chapel, who are voters and taxpayers as well. I address, in particular, the one commissioner who arrogantly announced that he was not in favor of ANY zoning in Macon County.

The problem with such an unyielding position is that it never takes into account the private property rights of countless people whose properties are devalued dramatically and whose rights to quiet and peaceful enjoyment of their own properties are simply ignored.

There was no suggestion of mediation, compromises that would create a fair atmosphere for all involved, or even any sort of sentiment that a county with NO zoning is really very backward in this day and age. I read a sentence in a generic narrative on zoning which said, simply, “Most developing counties having zoning ... ” Lack of any control over land use is not something to be proud of, in my opinion. Franklin and surrounding areas continue to encourage a haphazard, blight producing atmosphere which allows for no protection of property owners and a real discouragement to developers who find Franklin to be “a real mess.” It is very simplistic to say, “Well, if you don’t like it, go somewhere else.” That comment smacks of a sort of arrogant ignorance that seems to plague Franklin and undermine any real progress here.

I think it is also necessary to comment that I am not for highly restrictive zoning.

I am for a thoughtful consideration of All property owners’ rights and a review process that weighs things carefully before making such arbitrary comments and decisions (or lack of them). Macon County belongs to all who live here. Not just a few. We all have a right to enjoy what we originally purchased without fear of losing our property values. General and minimal protective zoning, such as designated commercial zones which do not disturb and devalue long existing neighborhoods and communities would change the face of Franklin ... and in the most positive way. I think a silent majority of us abhor the blight in Franklin, believe that progressive leadership could mitigate much of that, and hope for a more enlightened commission that will not ignore their power to model values for development that will help and not hurt Macon County. Clearly there needs to be a dialogue that considers all property owners, not just a selfish few who would soil the beds they sleep in.

Jan Marks, Clarks Chapel property owner
Franklin, N.C.


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