WATR members in Jackson

***Update, due to the snow, the Planning Board Meeting has been postponed one week to Thursday, Feb 20.   I look forward to a great turnout from Jackson Conservation Voters***
Conservation-minded citizens of Jackson County will attend the Jackson Planning Board Meeting on Thursday, Feb 13 20 at 6:00 PM at the Jackson Justice & Admin Center.  People will speak up for low-impact building restrictions on steep hillslopes.
Drought during 2007 and 2008 caused the county to truck in water — at significant expense — to parched families in communities where wells went dry. Uncertainties about groundwater recharge strongly indicate that houses, with their impermeable surfaces, should be sited carefully based on science, and conservatively –with low density — where the science is inconclusive.
Landslides that occurred during the very-wet 2013 indicate that many steep slopes are unstable;  When slopes fail, they can be very expensive to repair — or even dangerous. Disturbed soils on steep slopes are even more prone to sliding.  Allowable slopes for construction should be conservative.
Pic of Landslide from ALC
Mud from hillslope development clogs headwaters and secondary creeks and reduces the aquatic life along our prized rivers. When the Tuckasegee River is muddy, fishermen pack up their gear and head for the Nantahala and elsewhere. Tourism suffers.
As for aesthetics, conservation voters agree that trash along rivers is an ugly blight. The same voters think that development with roofs that protrude above the ridgeline — combined  with blotches of hillslope clearing —  leaves ugly scars on the land.   Minimal aesthetic judgments can and should be used to set criteria for visual disturbance at high elevations, just as aesthetic judgment causes us to reject trash and litter as unacceptable at low elevations.
I will be speaking on behalf of down-stream landowners and our watershed’s many visitors who want clean streams with abundant life, not mud, trash, and scars.
Because we are the stewards of God’s creation, property rights also mean property responsibilities.
Brave the weather, bring you neighbors, and join me on Thursday, 2/13 20.
***Don’t forget WATR’s Annual Meeting on Feb 25, 6:00 pm, at St Francis Church in Cherokee.***