Be There When Lightning Strikes

Politics

Set your text size: A A A

Anti-road widening candidates file for Village Council seats

Anne Coletta, David Dethero and Tom Carpenter filed for Flat Rock Village Council on Friday. Anne Coletta, David Dethero and Tom Carpenter filed for Flat Rock Village Council on Friday.

Candidates aligned with the group that opposed the Highland Lake Road widening in Flat Rock were the first to sign up for the 2019 municipal elections when filing opened at noon today at the Henderson County Board of Elections.

Tom Carpenter, Anne Coletta, leader of Cultural Landscape Group: Flat Rock, and David Dethero signed up for Districts 1, 2 and 3 for the Flat Rock Village Council seats. District 1 is currently held by Vice Mayor Nick Weedman, who is running for mayor. District 2 is held by Ginger Brown, who filed for re-election. District 3 incumbent John Dockendorf does not plan to seek re-election.

As expected when Coletta announced last month that she would run to rejoin the council she served from 2013 to 2017, the forces that opposed the Highland Lake Road project and that has called for more openness now have a slate of candidates to support. If the Cultural Landscape Group candidates swept three council seats and if Weedman won the mayoral election, the slow-growth movement would presumably control four votes on the seven-member council (the mayor votes to break a tie). Weedman cast the only no vote when the Village Council voted last year to endorse the Highland Lake Road project.

"I know I'm running on issues of experience on the Village Council and keeping taxes low and listening to the community as a while before decisions are made," Coletta said. Listening to constituents was what the council "did not do with the North Highland Lake Road issue when they ignored almost 1,700 signatures" on petitions opposing the widening.

Coletta is also at odds with the Village Council and its decision last December to amend the sign ordinance to regulate issue-oriented roadside messages like ones that opposed the road project. Coletta and the Cultural Landscape Group have communicated with an attorney and are considering whether to file a lawsuit seeking to overturn the ordinance.

ELX 1Asked whether she planned to put up campaign yard signs, which remain legal through election season, Coletta said, "Yes, absolutely."

She has formed a campaign committee, which has already raised more than $1,400. "I would say I've been very humbled by my committee," she said.

Dethero, a native of Cleveland, Tenn., has been involved in historic preservation and nature all his adult life.

"I grew up looking at the mountains and couldn't wait to get here," he said.

After gradulating from The Citadel and serving in the U.S. Army and Reserves, he worked as a forest ranger at Holmes State Forest and later in a bank trust department and also owned a native plant nursery in Green River.

"I love Flat Rock and want to see about the future of Flat Rock," he said. "I got here in 1971 and I've loved it ever since."

"I'm not real fond of it," he said of the Highland Lake Road project. Now that surveyors have planted stakes, the scope of the project is becoming visible. "They're taking a lot, including the entrance" to the park and Highland Golf Villas. "The DOT hasn't really finished everything. They haven't finished figuring things out."

He said if elected he'd like to explore improving the plan.

"The main thing is to listen to the people and find out what they want," he said.

Carpenter, who lives in Kenmure, retired as a director of corporate compliance for Stonhard, a flooring manufacturer based in Maple Shade, New Jersey.

Also filing before 1 p.m. on Friday were the two remaining members of the first Mills River Town Council, Roger Snyder and Wayne Carland, and Debbie Roundtree, who is running for the Hendersonville City Council. First elected in 2003 after the town was chartered, Snyder and Carland are both seeking a fifth term. In Laurel Park, Mayor Carey O'Cain and Councilman George Banta filed for re-election.

Roundtree, a 1988 graduate of Hendersonville City Council, works in environmental services and for a home health agency. She names education, affordable housing, opportunity and "reasonable zoning" as campaign priorities.

"How people are moving in and revitalizing in Seventh Avenue is one of them," she said. "There's a lot of people that are really not educated to what's going on. They have to be able to live."

Although Roundtree was the first to file for election to the Hendersonville City Council, three others — incumbent Steve Caraker and challengers Jennifer Hensley and Lyndsey Simpson — have announced their plans to run. A fifth candidate would trigger an Oct. 8 primary election.