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District 5 County Commission race may hinge on zoning

Setting up a primary election that could pivot on growth management versus property rights, longtime car dealer and two-term Henderson County School Board member Jay Egolf announced that he is running for the District 5 seat on the Board of Commissioners. He’ll face first-term incumbent David Hill.

Egolf, 52, said his experience on the School Board had prepared him to work effectively on the County Commission.
“Serving on the Henderson County Board of Education for the last six years, I’ve won two elections and been the top vote-getter in 2022,” he said in a written statement last week announcing his candidacy. “This experience has given me an understanding of the county’s largest employer and the largest single item on our county’s yearly budget.”

Taking a position that’s more hawkish on zoning than his opponent, Egolf signaled support for planning and protecting land.

“Judicious zoning and common-sense planning are essential to keep our county having balanced growth while keeping the natural beauty intact,” he said, noting that the county’s population has doubled since 1980 when he was in fifth grade.

He will face Hill in the March 5 Republican primary for the District 5 seat, which covers Flat Rock, Green River, Etowah and other parts of southwest Henderson County. Filing for local, state and national office is Dec. 1-15. Board of Commissioners candidates run from the district they live in but are elected at large.
“This is America. If he so chooses, he can run,” Hill said Monday, confirming he plans to file for re-election.

The most vocal property rights proponent on the board,  Hill said he didn’t think voters are necessarily in lockstep with Egolf on zoning and land conservation issues.

“There’s a lot of people that agree with me,” Hill said. “My point of view is the government that governs least governs best. A lot of my points of view are to keep the government limited. It makes my life better and everybody else’s life better.”

Hill said he’s enjoyed serving on the board.

“The best thing about it is being able to represent the public, to serve, to be a servant to the community, and try to keep things fiscally responsible and in a proper direction,” he said. “All five of us get along really well,” despite the relatively rare instance when “there are different points of view.”

Egolf, a third generation car dealer who owns the Egolf Ford, Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge RAM dealership in Brevard, touted his record of brokering solutions between opposing parties. The Egolf family owned a car dealership in Hendersonville from 1972 until 2013.
“I’m great at negotiating and have been finding win-win situations for over 30 years,” Egolf said. “I have excellent working relationships with our current county commissioners as well as other city, municipal and other governing officials. This experience facilitates everyone working closer together and creating these win-win situations.”
Egolf has lived in Henderson County for more than 50 years. He and his wife, Jennifer, have three children, Jace, Beck and Charlotte.

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Contact Egolf at, or 828-243-3969. Contact Hill at or 828-697-4808.