Editorial: Bermuda Run council should listen to the people

Published 9:45 am Thursday, August 25, 2022

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I haven’t read the petition apparently signed by a majority of the residents of Kinderton Village, the Bermuda Run community bordered by I-40, the sports complex, Yadkin Valley Road and the Lowe’s Foods shopping center.

No matter how the petition was worded (They are usually written so only one conclusion can be made.), it was signed by 750 residents of the area.

That’s a lot.

The bottom line: those 750 residents don’t want the town to rezone the property just behind Lowe’s Foods to allow for higher density housing. That’s an easy argument to understand. But they have to back it up with facts, not opinions. That’s not as easy.

The group has organized, which is good. It’s never a bad thing to be engaged in things like zoning. How can your council members represent you if you don’t let them know how you think?

Not only did they present the planning board with that petition, they showed up en masse, wearing green and letting board members know their opinion. It was enough to get any board’s attention. The town’s planning board recommended to town board members that they deny the rezoning request.

It boils down to that age-old question, or at least as old as to whenever it was we started telling other people what they can do with their own property. Do we change the zoning rules and sites – rules studied by boards and committees and put into the books for everyone to see – so that a landowner can do what they want with their property? If the town had thought the area was ripe for a higher-density housing, wouldn’t that have been included in the original zoning?

You would think so, wouldn’t you?

On the other hand, developers want that higher-density not only because it produces more bucks per acre, but because there is a market. They understand the market much better than our elected officials. After all, it’s their money on the line.

Elected officials in these parts have a history of bending over backwards for just about any project that comes along. If you make a good argument, you get your rezoning. If you’re providing needed housing, you get your rezoning. If you’re providing jobs, you get your rezoning. You get the picture.

No matter which side of this zoning argument you land on, those 750 signatures cannot be ignored. Those green shirts can’t be ignored. Those impassioned pleas can’t be ignored.

Right or wrong, the people have spoken. Leave the zoning as it is and let the chips fall where they may.

We’ve come a long way since “Pigerton,” a makeshift lot of swine the late great Bert Bahnson erected as the shopping center and Kinderton housing development were first being planned and built. He predicted what was going to happen at Oak Valley, as well, as those developers told our leaders the new community wouldn’t affect the school system. He called them out, and proposed a county zoning ordinance that would require minimum one-acre lots in new developments. That would slow things down, he said. His proposal wasn’t adopted, for good reasons.But he had made his point. If you want to be rural, be rural. It you want urban sprawl, bring it on.

Right now, we’re somewhere in between. And this rezoning really won’t make much of a difference in the long run whether Davie County retains its rural identity or continues it’s downhill run toward urban sprawl.

Just don’t ignore the people. Vote no.

– Mike Barnhardt