Monday, October 20, 2014
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Opinion

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LIGHTNING EDITORIAL: Solution desperately searches for a problem

At the inaugural meeting of Henderson County's Regulation Review Advisory Committee, board members suggested they needed to get hold of the complaint file.

Surely, the Planning Department kept an overstuffed box of complaints from landowners, homebuilders, commercial developers and industry executives about the myriad ways the county government was slowing their efforts to open new businesses, cut new subdivision roads and create jobs.
John Mitchell, the new czar responsible for making this the most business friendly county on the planet, looked at Russell Burrell, the county attorney. Burrell shook his head and shrugged. Mitchell did the same.
No such box exists, they told the RegReview panel.
So it goes.
The Board of Commissioners has launched another county advisory board into the wild blue yonder, a solution in search of a problem.
Two days before the panel's second meeting, the Chamber of Commerce issued an urgent plea to its members to come up with something — anything! — the RegReview terriers could sink their teeth into.
"We are requesting your immediate input regarding legislation that has made opening your business more difficult or that cause hardships with your current operations," the chamber said.
The Board of Commissioners appointed the 13-member panel at the request of Commissioner Grady Hawkins. The board is assigned the job of identifying the pesky, costly rules that the county is using to stop development and job creation and send them to the commissioners, which will act as a firing squad.
The RegReview board plans to meet every two weeks for six months to identify these bad rules that have kept Henderson County from becoming the full-employment Shangri-La that we all know it can be. If the county would just hack away at the zoning, development and water protection rules we would by gosh see this burg take off.
Maybe the RegReview panel will start with the codebook chapter the commissioners themselves used two weeks ago to stall a rezoning for a Dollar General on U.S. 64 in Horse Shoe.
We predict that a lot of the complaints that come before the advisory panel will be based in state and federal statutes, or they will be complaints centered on the city of Hendersonville, especially its very high water hookup charge for commercial development. Maybe the hunting party will look west to Transylvania County, which has no land-use zoning at all and a jobless rate that is 3.3 points higher than Henderson County's rate.
Or maybe we'll get lucky and someone will point out that a lot of these pesky rules account for the good quality of life that brought so many people here to start with.