Residents attempting to join in a collaborative planning process for the rural area dubbed “Heart of the Triad” (HOT) CLICKHERE , continue to be frustrated. The HOT Strategic Planning Committee (elected officials) refused to accept the Ethical Principles of the American Planning Association and common bylaws for all committees. Willingness to ensure consistent meaningful public involvement in the planning process is threatened. The Technical Committee has already held a closed, unannounced meeting. Kernersville planner, Jeff Hatling has made it clear that the Technical Committee does not plan to follow the rules of open government as Greensboro Attorney Becky Peterson-Buie indicated were appropriate for Heart of the Triad actions.
Just yesterday, a PART bus was used in a tour of the Heart of the Triad area, but empty seats were favored over interested landowners. That’s right! My neighbors and I requested a seat on the PART bus, paid for with our tax dollars, fueled by tax our dollars, but we were refused. Landowners on the Stakeholders Committee were not allowed to have alternates, even though many of us must use vacation days to attend the HOT meetings usually held at 8:30am. HOT advocates have made it as difficult as possible for us to be involved in planning to save our heritage and a community we cherish.
County clerks for Guilford and Forsyth indicate there are no ethical policies for our commissioners. None of the municipalities involved in HOT are on the list of covered entities by the NC State Ethics Commission.
Mark McDonald, Transportation planner for High Point, confirmed that the North-South Connector, aka Heart of the Triad Parkway is planned to accommodate the plans of developers interested in the HOT area. Speculative growth indicated in the Heart of the Triad plans will forever be viewed with skepticism due to the conflicts of interests by many of the players still seated at the planning table. According to former President of the American Planning Association, Gregory Dale, “The most sensitive ethical area involves a perception that a planning board member is acting in a way to advance his own interests. A planner’s greatest asset is credibility; once damaged, that credibility may be impossible to restore”.
We requested adherence to APA ethical principles that value public participation in the planning process, for an environmentally and fiscally responsible land-use and transportation plan for our area. Advocates of Heart of the Triad need a moral compass.
Cathy M. Poole
Coalition of Concerned Citizens of the Triad