Politics at work

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 29, 2005

I am wondering this week if anyone else feels as I do about Gates County code.

I don’t understand why the county even bothered to set codes when it seems they are &uot;bent&uot; more often than they are followed.

I’ve been to meetings of the Board of Commissioners and seen the Commissioners agree to requests for variances, giving the petitioners their way over the county codes.

This month, I saw a developer request approval for construction of homes on one-half acre lots, instead of the one-acre as formerly stipulated by the County Commissioners and the planning department.

This causes some concern because I see this as unfair to people who may not be able to afford an entire one-acre plot of land.

I guess there are probably several families that would move out of sub-standard housing in the county if they could come up with the $18,000 for an acre of land that would also help them get a home, even if it is a doublewide. Certainly, people living in some of the less than desirable homes would think they had moved into a palace as fine as any brick home if such an opportunity arose.

Now, take this latest development; the developer is touting these proposed 60 to 63 homes as &uot;affordable housing.&uot;

Affordable? At $150,000 each?

I don’t know how the rest of the county lives, but that’s not what I would call affordable, especially considering that the homes are to be situated only on one-half acre lots.

Melvin Cooper, the developer of the proposed North Gates community, told the Board of Commissioners that County Planner Traci White suggested the one-half acre plats as &uot;planned unit developments,&uot; or in other words, affordable housing.

In the first place, is this fair to the rest of the county? Secondly, what happened to the county code that White helped establish?

Dan Boyce, of the planning board, hit the nail on the head when he said in the meeting, &uot;We set these county codes and it seems to me we just continue to make these variances.&uot;

If you disagree, or maybe even agree, write a letter to the editor and let the rest of the county know how you feel about the continual approval of the variance requests.