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Business Park Sunk in Cross Party Vote PDF Print
Written by Steve Frank   
Wednesday, 21 August 2013 07:18

Watauga commissioners faced another full house at last night’s meeting, most there to speak on the issue of a 200 acre NC 194 tract the county had an option on near Meat Camp, seeking to develop a business park.  A number spoke in favor of the project, Susan Jones, speaking for “The High Country United Way Vision Council wishes to support the purchase of land and development of the proposed business park on NC Highway 194.” Many more were opposed, like Liz Riddick, “As elected officials, you’re entrusted with the privilege and great responsibility of spending other people’s money. have the I personally do not want my tax money to go for a business park in a very bad location.” But after closing the public hearing, commissioners first had to decide whether to contemplate further or act, with each commissioner expressing themselves on the issue.  Chairman Nathan Miller said that the property was for sale and would be sold, and that the other main interest looking at the tract was more student housing. Perry Yates struggled with the concepts of the development, hoping to address even agricultural business.  Billy Kennedy struggled with the need for infrastructure—a point he said he ran on—but could not support this location. John Welch said he could not support the buy, even though there were needs for school properties in the county. But as the decision appeared to be headed to a Republican majority vote in favor, David Blust spoke, “I don’t think buying 200 acres is necessarily what’s needed for a business park.  I think you can look at something a little less than that—quite a bit less than that. But I hear you speak, and I’ve got to vote ‘no’ on this. I’m not in support of this.” So it was another 3 to 2 vote of the commission, but Blust’s vote with the two Democratic members of the board sank the county’s purchase of the property.

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