Growth Plan draws more fire
Article Author: Emily Dilbeck
A proposal to extend Ducktown’s Urban Growth Boundary has continued to draw fierce criticism from the public.
At the Ducktown Planning Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, November 15th, a packed house filled Ducktown City Hall. All five members of the Planning Commission—Chairman Keith Dilbeck, Secretary Bryan McMillan, Ducktown Mayor James Talley, City Commissioner Doug Collins, and Bud Taylor—were present.
Jordan Clark, the Commission’s Planning Advisor from the Southeastern Development District, presented an amended version of the UGB plan. This new version, Clark said, reduced the size of the UGB by nearly 50% and removed the majority of the Cherokee Hills neighborhood, whose inhabitants had been fiercely opposed to the plan at previous meetings.
Several in the audience asked what benefit would this plan have for them. Mayor James Talley said an Urban Growth Boundary was not an annexation and being included in this area would allow the City of Ducktown to use grant money to help outlying communities.
Most citizens present continued to stress that they did not want to be in the UGB plan and they saw it as an attempt by the City to move towards annexation and charging them sales taxes.
Jordan Clark explained, “if the Urban Growth Boundary plan was passed tonight, you would wake up tomorrow and nothing would be different. There would be no taxes.” Most in the audience told the Commission that they did not need any of the public services the City said it would offer them, and that they could function quite well on their own.
Talley said they may feel this way now, but what about caring for their grandchildren 20 years from now? Several shouted that they would be dead by then anyway and that they didn’t care.
Chaos broke out in the crowd as citizens began to speak over each other and Mayor James Talley requested several times that Chairman Keith Dilbeck call the crowd to order.
Dilbeck eventually stood up and asked the crowd to raise their hands if they did not support this Urban Growth Boundary plan. All in the audience did.
Dilbeck then read a statement he had prepared concerning the democratic nature of the United States and how he felt all citizens should have a say in this process. When he finished, he motioned that the Planning Commission table the Urban Growth Boundary plan until more input from the public could be accepted. Bud Taylor seconded this motion. Dilbeck, Taylor, and Collins voted in favor of tabling the plan. Talley and McMillian voted against it.
Tabling the plan means that the Board can no longer take an action until a motion is made to place it on the Agenda again.
The Planning Commission regularly meets on the 3rd Thursday of every month at 6:30 in Ducktown City Hall. There will be no meeting in the month of December.
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