Letter to the Editor: Davie leaders stuck in a state of mediocrity

Published 8:50 am Thursday, July 11, 2024

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To the editor:

One of the most significant challenges for Davie County and its leadership is getting them to consider new ideas and persuade them to consider that there are opportunities for excellence in every facet of Davie County life.

As I’ve discussed planning, zoning, economic development, and forward-thinking educational ideas over the years, I have realized that many leadership members hold their ways as sacred; they like the perceived power derived from their way and d o not want to change. They don’t want to listen for fear that there are, in fact, new possibilities for forward movement towards excellence.

For Davie County and its leaders to listen to new and innovative ways, they, by default, acknowledge that we could be better. For many, our seeming success in many areas of DC life: economic development, a low unemployment rate, education-Ignite Davie, round-a-bout traffic planning, and continued housing growth, has closed our eyes to the possibility that we could be better, that we should strive for excellence.

I think we’re good, sort-of, but we’re not the best. There is no vision. We do not exude excellence in all we do.

Davie County deserves better than what we’ve gotten and what we’re getting with regard to land-use planning. DC leaders, you first need to acknowledge that you have made some mistakes and realize there is still time to impact your lack of action positively. Your reliance on zoning as planning is causing terrible harm. Zoning and planning are different.

For example, look at the TriWest Industrial Park at Farmington Road. Leaders, you messed up.

However, striving for excellence by implementing positive planning guidelines for forward movement will afford the creation of a new development standard for mixed-use (industrial, commercial, housing, recreation) projects. The current checkerboard building (like every other spec building along the I-40 corridor, i.e., nothing special) sits empty with great potential (even without sufficient electricity).

And, then there is the issue of traffic planning. What were/are you thinking? Why is there no plan for the inner connectivity of new and existing streets? Why will the park’s traffic be dumped out on US 158 only? It’s easy to blame NCDOT. The first installment of TriWest fails in aesthetics, design character, scale and proportion, community enhancements like walking and biking, and the creation of a positive impact on the health, safety and welfare of the whole community. It fails in striving for community excellence. Those “in charge” of this effort should repent.

It would help if you (county commissioners) immediately placed a moratorium on new construction at Tri West until you have thoroughly planned for whole area by exploring the creation of a design, landscaping, recreation amenities (such as walking and bike paths,) and a traffic overlay plan for the development’s future and the surrounding buildings and parcels. This is called bold, pro-active planning. And with an openness to comprehensively plan this Farmington Road/US158 corridor, there is still time to salvage a project that could address design and aesthetics as it relates to industrial development, housing, commercial/retail, and recreation. Why would you not explore this? As it currently sits, this solution for TriWest and the 158/Farmington Road corridor needs great improvement. It’s not too late to strive for a more excellent solution.

Davie County leadership, your inaction on this, and many other planning, education, and growth issues have lulled you into a state of mediocracy. (Take a look (Mocksville) at 158 and Sain Road; is this DC new definition of planning excellence?)

I am tired of hearing and seeing a “it’s good enough for DC” mentality encapsulate seemingly all decisions made. Stop leading with a “Band-Aid” reaction to issues and become proactive and creative in your response. Stop hiding behind the tenuous, mediocre success that is found in much of DC.

And to all municipalities: there’s always opportunity to strive for excellence. You see, every decision you make not only impacts your electorate, but for those who are outside your jurisdiction. Many of the decisions you make impacts the quality of life for all those inside and outside your municipality.

Leaders of DC, it’s time to step up and lead with courage and foresight. You were chosen to lead, so lead. All of Davie County deserves better. What’s holding you back? For those elected leaders, weren’t you elected to represent all of Davie County? It’s time to start listening to the innovative and forward-thinking ideas that have been presented to you. These are the ideas that can propel Davie County towards excellence. We need proactive leadership, not just a reactive approach.

If you have been elected and are unwilling to be persuaded that you could do more, be more innovative, and bold, then you should resign today. Stop fiddling around with the great opportunity that is found in Davie County. Taking no action is taking action. You are doing something by doing nothing. Start doing something that might upset a status que that is immersed in the lie of mediocrity, which is pervasive in much of the DC mindset. 

So, to all DC leaders, if you are unwilling to change, move, and explore what excellence looks like in planning, economic development, educating our children, all forms of housing, and overall quality of life, then step aside. Let yourself be persuaded that our current trajectory is not one of excellence but of maintaining the status quo of mediocrity. It’s time to acknowledge that we have not realized a far more excellent opportunity for addressing all facets of DC life.

The time for change is now. The potential for excellence is still within our reach if we are willing to proceed and be bold. The time for action is now, and there is still time to make a significant change for excellence.

It is not too late, Davie County.

Let’s us begin a fresh discussion on the bright future of excellence we can embrace for all of Davie County.

David E Smith, Advance