New Montreat Board of Commissioners member Mason Blake talks background, plans for 2022

Ezra Maille
Black Mountain News
Mason Blake was sworn in to replace Alice Lentz on the Montreat Board of Commissioners on Dec. 9.

New member of the Montreat Board of Commissioners Mason Blake discussed his background experience and plans for the town in the upcoming year. 

"He's just an incredibly humble person," said Mayor Pro Tem Tom Widmer. "He doesn't care about taking credit."

Blake was elected by the Board of Commissioners on Dec. 9, filling the vacancy left by Alice Lentz. Widmer said there were a few other potential candidates interviewed, but "everyone was in agreement" that Blake was the right choice for the town. 

With 40 years of experience as a practicing lawyer in Brevard County, Florida, Blake's work focused on real estate. His practice involved zoning, land use and environmental law, and he was part of the development of the town of Viera, a new town in Florida.

"I've been involved in large scale, multiuse developments and building a town from the ground up," Blake said. 

After retiring, Blake moved to Montreat in July 2016. He served on the Planning and Zoning Commission for more than three years, saying he truly enjoyed his time serving and working on projects. 

Widmer approached Blake about joining the Board of Commissioners, citing his background and experience as a resource for the board. 

Widmer had familiarity working with Blake through the Planning and Zoning Commission, calling him "one of the hardest workers" on the commission. Widmer said Blake's background as an attorney helps him emphasize the importance of facts. 

"He does his homework," Widmer said. "He digs into things and does not stop until he's got it."

Blake will continue to work with the Planning and Zoning Commission on an adjunct basis but will no longer serve as a member. Having spent time studying stormwater, Blake plans to focus on that, especially as a new task force forms to look at the stormwater ordinance. 

Blake pointed to the revision of the town's comprehensive plan as the first major task for the board in the coming year. He said he expects a lot of work to go into the new plan with discussion between the Planning and Zoning Commission and the board. 

"That will be an interesting process during the next year," Blake said.