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Sept. 28 Letters to the Editor
Money is the motive behind Trestle Crossing supporters
Last night (Sept. 20) I attended the town hall meeting of the historic preservation commissioners about the now infamous Trestle Crossing three-story, inappropriate building with plans to tear down Dobra Tea building in order to construct a big money-making project for the few “good ole boys” plus one woman, not for the good of the community of Black Mountain but solely for making big bucks for the team involved in building and maintaining this out-of-place structure tailored to the rich vacationers who visit Black Mountain.
As it turned out, this meeting was about coercing the secretary of the historic preservation commission to recuse herself from voting since her husband owns a small business in town.
Mike Begley filled one hour and 10 minutes with legal verbosity to put us all to sleep, his single purpose to have this one woman out of the picture as a possible voter to block his client’s money-making scheme. I am appalled at the greediness of this team.
Mike Begley loves to share stories about his parents' vision and dedication to our town.
The parents of Maury Hurt, the architect of the development, enhanced Montreat as past president of Montreat College and architects of the Chapel of the Prodigal that houses a Ben Long fresco of the parable of the Prodigal son - a masterpiece.
I could go on and on, but the point is, let's work together as a community who truly do love our village and are dedicated to its well-being and to serving its best interests. Which include keeping our small business owners in business and helping to control traffic congestion downtown.
Keeping Black Mountain affordable for our young folk, rather than catering to the rich, must be our stated goal and stated purpose in keeping with the vision of those who have come before us, and for those who come after.
The next town meeting about Trestle Crossing is at Oct. 4 at 6 p.m. at town hall.
Ann "Annie" Hartzog Hall
Sees intimidation in request commissioner recuse herself
As if ruining one business in town wasn't enough. Now (Trestle Crossing developer) Joe Cordell's lawyer is trying to intimidate a member of the Historic Preservation Commission to recuse herself because he didn't like her vote to deny him a Certificate of Appropriateness to build his behemoth.
That's certainly how it was perceived at the Historic Preservation Commission meeting on Sept. 20. If he thought commissioner Shandra Richardson had some sort of mysterious conflict of interest before, why didn't he say something prior to her vote? Or did he wait to see how she voted first? That appears to be the case.
There are so many sensible options the Cordell team could take to have their building legally accepted. Instead, they chose to break with their own agenda to publicly attack Richardson by using political bully tactics and intimidation. The Cordell team is certainly showing their true colors, which looks frighteningly dark.
Patricia S. Christy
Believes commissioner is owed an apology
The Sept. 20 meeting of the Historic Preservation Commission was supposed to be a simple up or down vote to approve a rehearing of part of the Trestle Building project. Instead, (developer) Joe Cordell’s attorney Michael Begley turned it into an opportunity to ambush, humiliate and intimidate commission member Shandra Richardson.
Mr. Begley droned on for well over an hour, as if litigating a criminal case, about a conflict of interest per N.C. state law, all done in full view of other commission members and numerous members of the public. The town attorney, Ron Sneed, the adviser to the commission, was on vacation, so Ms. Richardson had no one there to back up her claims that she had already discussed any conflicts of interest with him.
What timing on Mr. Begley’s part! How ironic that the conflict of interest was not brought up by Mr. Begley or Mr. Cordell prior to the first vote on the Trestle building. One would have thought that the town attorney would have done due diligence on state and Black Mountain conflict of interest guidelines. The members of the Historic Preservation Committee are unpaid, lay persons who have offered their time and pledged their commitment to ensure Black Mountain’s historic district is preserved.
If there was any evidence of wrongdoing, whether real or not, a public forum was absolutely the wrong venue for raising this issue. Mr. Begley should have gone to the town attorney and/or board chair and discussed this matter in private and given them the opportunity to have a discussion with Ms. Richardson prior to bringing any question of recusal forward in a public forum. That did not happen here – it was clear to all in attendance that Ms. Richardson was totally surprised by the issue being raised.
If Mr. Begley is representing his client’s business tactics, then the town of Black Mountain is in deep trouble. Ms. Richardson is owed an apology. We would like to apologize that she had to endure such reprehensible treatment.
(Editor's note: This letter was also signed by Julie Lovelock, Charlotte McRanie, Kit Moorehead and Lynn Phillips.)
Golfers, please take responsibility for errant drives
Not sure if anyone has ever written in about the onslaught of dangerous golf balls in the area, but as I've experienced it and spoken to other neighbors, it's quite a problem.
My car windshield was hit and smashed on Saturday, Aug. 26 around lunchtime. I called the golf course and spoke with the golf course supervisor, and he sent out the rangers. Of course, all players lied and denied. Really? Supposedly grown men hitting golf balls everywhere and not knowing where their balls are going? No consequences for the damage they cause either?
Additionally, a dear friend had one whiz by her head in the same area on Saturday, Sept. 2. Could of done serious damage to her. Lastly, the number of folks who have buckets of balls in their yard from the many that make it on to their property is a bit scary.
I'm for responsible golfing and good fun - just take responsibility and know where the heck your balls are flying. If you hit something, admit it. No different than any other sport. Or maybe it's not a gentleman's sport after all. Sad, really.
Hopes next Trestle Crossing hearing sticks to program
This past week’s meeting of the Black Mountain Historical Preservation Commission was to hear further input regarding Trestle Crossing “for the limited purpose of having the Historic Preservation Commission consider changes in the design of the two-story structure adjacent to 128 Broadway Street” (excerpt from the published meeting agenda). However, the developer's attorney, used the meeting to request the recusal of one member of the commission - one of the three members (in a 3 – 2 vote) who opposed of the proposed three-story expanse.
One can understandably be concerned about the developer's approach. It has seemingly been that of an overriding concern with his return on investment while ineffectively reaching out, listening to, and building relationships with those potentially adversely impacted.
For instance, has there been an outreach or accommodation to Dobra Tea, whose place of business will be demolished or to other community members concerned about the consequences of altering the quaint ambiance? The meeting has been continued to Oct. 4. One hopes the meeting will be limited in scope to the aspects and impacts of Trestle Crossing and refinements thereto.
What White Horse gives to Black Mountain
I have been a Valley resident for 12 years now, and White Horse Black Mountain, for almost that long, has been a powerful nurturing place for the community since its inception. To have such a quality music-performance venue in this charming, small town seems almost disproportionate to the demographics which surround it.
White Horse Black Mountain is a place in which anyone who walks in can feel the special energy. Although it serves alcohol, it does not feel, or sound, like a bar. Although people often get up and dance, it is not really a dance hall. Predominantly, people come to listen. What a concept!
From a financial perspective, it seems sometimes that White Horse Black Mountain hangs by a thread between success and failure. Maybe its close proximity to our sister city of Asheville and all of the musical choices there are what limit its ability to succeed. I don’t know. Bob Hinkle, the owner and proprietor of White Horse, and his assistant Don Talley could not be more dedicated to the passionate task of keeping this small-town treasure afloat.
Aside from the interesting variety of professional musical talent that passes through the doors of White Horse, I am partial to the open mike series on Tuesday nights, which follows the Irish jam session the same evening. The evening is free to whomever wishes to attend. Bob provides all the equipment, as well as a good sound technician. Over the years I have seen many an aspiring musician or garage band step boldly onto the stage and, perhaps for the very first time, be able to express their music publicly.
I for one do not want to lose the genuine charm of this artistic venue and gathering place. Perhaps its value is too subtle to be fully recognized (you don’t know what you’ve got 'til it’s gone). I do not play the lottery. But if I did, and I won, my first priority would be to help subsidize the continued longevity of this special place in our special small town.