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VOTER GUIDE: Democrats respond on Tap Root, N.C. 191, greenways

Royce Canty and Debbie Roundtree are running for the Democratic nomination for the District 2 Board of Commissioners seat. Royce Canty and Debbie Roundtree are running for the Democratic nomination for the District 2 Board of Commissioners seat.

Two Democrats are running for the District 2 seat on the Henderson County Board of Commissioners, setting up a rare Democratic primary for a local seat.

The winner will face the veteran commissioner Charlie Messer, a Republican from Fletcher who is seeking a sixth term.

Debbie Roundtree, 50, works is environmental services and health care, and lives in Hendersonville. Royce Canty, 43, was a sergeant with the Buncombe County sheriff’s office. A native of Asheville and graduate of Asheville High School, he has lived in Fletcher for 14 years. He and his wife, Carletta, a registered nurse, have three daughters.

Why are you running for election to the Henderson County Board of Commissioner?

Canty: I am running for Henderson County Commissioner because I know that I can bring positive change and once again stand up for the citizens of Henderson County.

Roundtree: I feel as a (fourth generation) native of Henderson County, I bring history (agricultural, education and event) along with knowledge of the past and present living conditions and circumstance of our city. I also understand the dynamic of the people of our county and surrounding areas. Having worked in various industries, I have and currently live the experience that many of our citizens are living. I have always been active in our communities and will remain an active voice to all citizens. Henderson County needs to have a reflection of its communities and members.

Residents along N.C. 191 continue to demand that the Board of Commissioners take their side and oppose the NCDOT plan for a 4-lane divided highway between Mills River and Mountain Road. As a county commissioner, would you favor a motion to ask the NCDOT to drop the N.C. 191 widening project?

Canty: I would oppose the NCDOT plans. I would favor the motion to drop the N.C. 191 widening project.


The Board of Commissioners unanimously adopted a Greenway Master Plan last year. The proposed Ecusta Trail has received a $6.4 million grant to help acquire the Hendersonville-to-Brevard track for railbanking. What is your position on adding greenways in the county, such as the north and south Oklawaha Greenway extensions? What role (if any) can the county take in making the Ecusta Trail happen?

Roundtree: Greenways help to improve health and quality of life for our citizens. We are blessed with a variety of such with easy access. These areas enable families to have safe areas to ride bikes and spend time together outside. As a collective we should continue to seek funds for construction and maintenance on additional projects like Oklawaha extensions. These projects impact our lives in multiple ways. In whichever position or projects, we should make sure the community is involved and educated about cause and effect of new proposals. We want people to back and use these new Greenways so we need to make them a part of the process, the project and the implementation.

Canty: I would request to see more studies on the Oklawaha Greenway extension. I would first want to fix the flooding issues before adding any projects.

The opening of the new Edneyville Elementary School has put the question of a sewer line on the table. How should the Board of Commissioners address the question of extending sewer service to the school and the Edneyville community and how would you propose the county pay for it?

Canty: I believe the commissioners need to look forward to the future and go with the full gravity line. The county should first look at the budget and trim or adjust accordingly within reason and transparency is a must.

Roundtree: I am not fully convinced on what position I hold on this issue at this time. I would love to take a deeper dive into the information and speak with representatives of the community and the project. I feel on this issue as I do with all issues and concerns that education is the dire need to fully understand the situation.

Proposals for higher density developments have triggered broad opposition from neighboring homeowners. One such development has come up for a second time, at the Tap Root dairy farm property (699 units on 320 acres). If you were on the board now, how would you vote on the Tap Root rezoning request? What is your position in general on land-use changes to allow higher-density developments?

Roundtree: If the property will no longer be used as farming then I think with educated community member and subcommittees formed of such, we would come to a very sensible decision that will satisfy all of those involved. Educated voices make happier neighbors and community members. Seeing where Henderson County has come from many years ago is amazing to some but to others who do not fully understand the need for these changes, it can be heartbreaking. Therefore we need education for all, emphasizing on politics, development and changes. As for myself, I would like to see options (multiple) on what could be and where we came from.

Canty: I believe the traffic and the impact of 699 units on residents would be tremendously stressful and lifestyle changing. I personally have sat on Butler Bridge Road in traffic at 7:25 a.m. and I would not support the development for those reasons.

What other priorities do you have for Henderson County if you are elected?

Canty: I would support building a new North Henderson County library. We in Henderson County have a lot of home schooled children and adults that utilize the library for many reasons. Times are changing and we need to change with them. I also would like to implement a program for first responders offsetting cost of living or for a reduced rate in Henderson County so we can keep our best police, emergency personnel and teachers.

Roundtree: I would like to see additional emphasis on Social Service/Human Service delivery of services as a priority to underserved populations and additional support from local government. Community education and of current topics and issues will always remain a priority to me.