Category Archives: Cleveland County
Please encourage Hager, Moore, Clary, Harrington etc to support this bill.
Man the irony…our County Commissioners just approved a Comprehensive Transportation Plan that includes 60 miles of light rail around Cleveland County… but don’t worry they said “Most of these projects will NEVER be funded. But NCDOT will get your money from the feds to do it.
During my talk to the Shelby 912 Group I mentioned how the University of North Carolina host’s an internet listserv called GreenGov which allows for an extraordinary level of coordination and communication for bureaucrats within the NC governmental system concerning sustainable development projects. The particular example I cited in my talk demonstrated how NCDENR was using the listserv to promote an EPA program.
The example below clearly shows how ICLEI has now also been given access to the UNC ListServ to promote the fact they have been chosen by the Department of Energy to help NC communities go solar.
GREENGOV Digest for Friday, March 18, 2011.
Subject: WORKSHOP – Getting Started with Solar in Your Community”
From: “Cyrus Bhedwar” firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 2011 13:10:03 -0400
Solar America Communities Workshop at SOLAR 2011
Register now for the Solar America Communities workshop at SOLAR 2011! The
free workshop, “Getting Started with Solar in Your Community,” will take
place from 8am-4pm on Tuesday, May 17th in Raleigh, NC.
The workshop will focus on important concepts related to residential and
commercial solar installations and how to create a local-level solar program
and install solar on municipal and other community facilities. In the
afternoon, you will network with industry representatives to explore the
development of solar projects.
The workshop has four central objectives:
* Develop a common vocabulary and understanding of solar technologies
* Examine the benefits of and barriers to solar installations in local
* Learn what steps a community can take to go solar
* Find out where to go for more information on a range of topics, including
technologies, installation, and financing
To register for the free workshop, contact Anna Read at email@example.com.
Solar America Communities is a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program
designed to increase the use and integration of solar energy in communities
across the United States. The International City/County Management
Association and ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA were selected
by DOE to assist local governments throughout the U.S. implement best
practices and accelerate the adoption of solar energy.
It is also NOT a coincidence that Cyrus is involved…Gaspee reported months ago that Atlanta has been chosen as one of the 9 “beta” cities for the STAR guidelines to be implemented. And don’t forget, SEQL which Cleveland County and Shelby are members of, links to ICLEI on their website!
Freddie and Fannie (the Feds) currently own 96% of US residential mortgages, and the Feds own 30% of the land in the US.
I once again want to thank the Shelby 912 Tea Party for allowing me to present my research on how the Sustainable Development agenda has crept its way into Cleveland County. Below are a couple of clips from Glenn’s show from Aug of 2010. (Archives provided by The Daily Beck website,click here to visit) In these clips Glenn shows some very disturbing video clips from Hillary Clinton, Obama, Al Gore, the UN, Soros, Andy Stern, and others speaking about the need for a “New Global Governance”. Approx 6 minutes into the first clip is where it gets really pertinent to the discussion we had last night.
More importantly than the Beck clips, please go down further in this post and read the introduction to the article by Soverignty International. A huge shout out to Cheryl Pass, one of my fellow researchers and activists on local sustainability efforts from the Gastonia area for sending me this!
I have provided a link to the entire article after the introduction. Once you go to the article, down at the very bottom there is a link to Soverignty International’s website. It is packed with resources that I believe our Commissioners need to see. The article is a little long, and some may struggle to get through it, but I am here to tell you, Soverignty International has the “Consensus Process” nailed.
For those of my local readers in Cleveland County, throughout the article simply replace the terms NGO and Stakeholder Council with any of the following: Lake Norman RPO, Centralina Council of Governments, Sustainable Environment for Quality of Life (SEQL), or the Sustainable Communities Task Force created by Section 13.5 of SB 897.
The ”Concensus Process” is what created Cleveland County’s current Land Use, and Comprehensive Transportation Plans.
Please consider joining me and other Tea Party Members at both the County School Board meetings, as well as the Commissioner meetings, and let’s begin devising a Transportation Plan that makes sence for Cleveland County.
The Consensus Process:
Developing an appropriate response
(from eco-logic, May/June, 1997)
In communities across America, “stakeholder” councils are being formed, or have already been formed, to advance Agenda 21 to transform cities and towns into “sustainable communities.” The “consensus process” is used to gain the appearance of public support for the principles of sustainability, applied to a particular community. The process is designed to take the public policy- making function away from elected officials and place it in the hands of professional bureaucrats, while giving the appearance of broad public input into the decision-making process.
Stakeholder councils are called by many names and are created for a variety of specific purposes. Whatever they are called, and whatever the stated purpose for which they are created, they all have several common characteristics, and all have a common objective: the implementation of some component of Agenda 21. To develop an effective local response, it is necessary to understand the objectives, the process, the techniques, and the players. While each community may experience a variety of different approaches, it is necessary to recognize the common principles that guide all such councils. (Click here to read full article.)
Before you decide whether or not our public schools are going to be re-segregated please click on the link below to a VERY GOOD explanation by our very own Sen. Debbie Clary. This counter point by counter point explanation of the basics of charter school funding in NC should make you scratch your head a little about some of the outrageous comments made by our Superintendent Dr Boyles (click here to read)
To make matters worse, here is some Charter School propaganda I, and every other parent, received a copy of while attending student conferences at Shelby Middle School last evening.
The truth HAS NO AGENDA.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Shelby 912 Tea Party.
Are Cleveland County’s elected officials aware of the consequences of the continued support of Sustainable Development in our county?
Glossary of Terms for Cleveland County Land Use Plan:
Centralina Council of Governments (CCOG)
Isothermal Planning and Development Commission (IPDC)
Sustainable Environment for Quality of Life (SEQL)
Lake Norman Rural Planning Organization(LNRPO)
Cleveland County Transportation Partnership (CCTP)
Comprehensive Transportation Plan (CTP)
Cleveland County Chamber of Commerce (COC)
North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT)
I’m sure at this point most of us have heard the often quoted phrase, “10% unemployment is the new normal”. I was not able to find anyone who actually said those exact words, however I did find one statement in my view that is close enough. In October of 2010 Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, speaking at the 7th World Business Forum, stated “Even if the U.S. economy manages to grow, it will be too slow to provide enough jobs needed and a high unemployment rate will be a new normal for Americans”.
Cleveland County’s unemployment today is somewhere between 11-12%. I submit our current Land Use Plan is a contributing factor to our continued high unemployment rate. Why… because it clearly tells industry to KEEP OUT of Cleveland County. It actually states that “light” industry is preferred over “heavy” industry, because “heavy” industry is considered bad for the environment. Commissioner Falls stated at the Feb 15th Commissioner’s meeting that NO OTHER DOCUMENT is referenced more in the minutes of the Commissioner’s meetings than the Cleveland County Land Use Plan of 2005. It is also important to note that Bill Dustin, a Centralina Council of Governments official, was summoned to Feb 15th Commissioner’s meeting in order for the Board to officially notify Centralina that it is time to adjust the current version of the Land Use Plan. Ironically, the Shelby Star article that reported about the Feb 15th Commissioner’s meeting did not mention the Land Use Plan, or Centalina Council of Governments at all. Hmmm. Click here to see The Star article.
My first guess is, most Cleveland County residents are like I was a couple of months ago… “Cleveland County has a Land Use Plan, what’s a Land Use Plan?”
Yes we do. And it puts Cleveland County on a path of “Sustainable Development” that looks very much like that of the United Nations’ version of Sustainable Development. A plan that puts a sizable impediment on Cleveland County’s growth. Because growth is well…unsustainable. As John W. Frece, Director of Smart Growth Program Development, Community and Environment Division, EPA puts it, state and local governments managing growth is always contentious. Mr. Frece says managing growth always ”pits individual rights vs. the collective good, freedom vs. governmental control, and communal benefits vs. individual benefits.” I think if you will take the time to read it yourself you will agree the current Land Use Plan certainly does those things.
My second guess is that our County Commissioners do not fully realize the true consequences of following a Land Use Plan that is written to support the “Sustainable Development” agenda. And in conjunction with new state law that formed a Sustainable Communities Task Force, Cleveland County and North Carolina are quickly heading down a ”democratic” path, that will continue to put more and more control of our lives into the hands of the trillion headed hydra leviathan that is our Federal Government.
What is Centralina Council of Governments? It is an entity created by NC Statute in 1972. Click here to read about the creation of the Councils in North Carolina. Interestingly, according to the NC Statute, Cleveland County is NOT a member of Centralina. We are a member of Isothermal Planning and Development Commission.
Nonetheless, the Land Use Plan as it is currently written shares some of the same terminology and goals of the Sustainable Development agenda being promoted by a group called ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability. In fact, I would encourage the reader to print the ICLEI STAR Community Index Guidelines and compare them to the LUP and see the similarities for yourself. Bear in mind, funding and content for the ICLEI Star guidelines came from George Soros funded organizations like the Apollo Alliance and the Center for American Progress. Other contributing organizations were the AFL/CIO and Federal Agencies like the EPA. Click here to download and read the STAR Guidelines.
Now Centralina Council of Governments apparently does much more than simply create land use plans. They seem to also be in the business of “administering” other groups as well. A good example is Sustainable Development for Quality of Life, or SEQL.
In 2005 both Cleveland County and the City of Shelby, “joined” SEQL. Pages 8-9 of the LUP details Cleveland County’s joining SEQL. Shelby joined SEQL with RESOLUTION NO. 7-2005
A RESOLUTION OF SUPPORT FOR THE SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT FOR QUALITY OF LIFE PROGRAM.
This is quoted directly from the Land Use Plan:
“Cleveland County has joined SEQL (Sustainable Environment for Quality of Life) an integrated strategy for local governments to address air quality, water resource, and sustainable growth issues. SEQL is funded, in part, by the USEPA and is administered by Centralina COG. By being a SEQL partner, Cleveland County pledges to undertake actions that will help promote environmentally sound policies”
Notice SEQL’s funding is provided by the EPA, and they are “adminstered by” CCOG.
If you still have doubts about SEQL’s definition of “sustainability”, visit the ”links” section of their website. SEQL links to ICLEI, EPA, DOE, and other sites like Car Free.com, click here to see.
Is it reasonable to say that Cleveland County, and Shelby, have in essence asked the EPA to write our Land Use Plan?
So how would the EPA ask us to use our land?
There is one thing for sure, they want a lot of bicycle, pedestrian, and “open” spaces. Bicycle and pedestrian paths are discussed on five pages each. The Land Use Plan states that Cleveland County communities should be “walkable” in nature, and that
“Multi-family development may be appropriate along the US 74 Corridor where it may be a form of transit-oriented development.”
Car Free’s website tag line says:
“Carfree Cities and Carfree Design Manual proposea delightful solution to the vexing problem of urban automobiles.”
So I guess “transit-oriented” development must mean putting housing near bike paths, sidewalks etc. because urban automobiles will be eliminated. Or maybe… they mean building housing near the commuter rail lines that the County Commissioners are currently discussing with NCDOT and Lake Norman RPO.
Oh let me make my third guess, you have not heard of the Comprehensive Transportation Plan either. Well do not feel bad. When Lake Norman RPO travelled all over the county educating Cleveland County residents at public meetings about the CTP, only 11 people signed in as having participated in two separate meetings in Lawndale and Shelby. I have no doubt that more than 11 people participated, but even if 100 people attended each meeting, it would still only represent .2% of the population of Cleveland County.
What is Lake Norman RPO? Once again it is an entity created by the NC Legislature. RPO stands for Rural Planning Organization. Click here to see their website. You can read the history behind RPO’s in NC here on NCDOT’s website. The site states:
“In 2000, the State of North Carolina recognized the need for transportation planning in rural North Carolina areas not within an MPO by enacting Chapter 136, Article 17, Section 136-210-213 of the General Statutes. This provided for the development of Rural Planning Organizations (RPO). There are 20 Rural Planning Organizations in the State.”
By law municipalities do not have to be members of their local RPO but counties do. By law Cleveland County is a member of Lake Norman RPO, we also pay yearly dues to the organization.
Lake Norman RPO is also “administered” by Centralina COG.
In a nutshell, not only does the CTP include the infamous Shelby Bypass, and many other road expansions and road “diets”, but it also includes (approx.) a 50 mile Bus Route, 50 miles of rail, and almost a 100 miles each of bicycle and pedestrian paths! And Lake Norman RPO/Centralina COG/NCDOT is pressuring our Commissioner’s to approve this plan. In the Feb 1st Commissioner’s meeting the CTP was tabled by the Commissioner’s. The Shelby Star did not report about that either. It is supposed to be discussed more fully in the Feb 24th Commissioer’s working session. Click the CTP link below to see Lake Norman RPO/NCDOT proposed maps for the pedestrian, bicycle, bus, and rail lines.
I am sure it is just a weird coincidence that ICLEI’s STAR Guidelines state under the HOUSING section:
[sustainable communities] Foster the preservation, construction and maintenance of an adequate supply of healthful, affordable, resource-efficient, and inclusive housing. Residential development should be available to all ages, abilities, incomes, and household sizes and be located in environmentally safe areas near public transportation…
AND our LUP calls for compact walkable communities, and transit-oriented [residential] development,
AND our CTP calls for BUS, pedestrian, Bicycle, and Rail lines right?
If you believe that, I have some beachfront property I want to sell you located in Asheville. Centralina has also informed our Commissioners that most of the CTP is unfunded at this point, but that they should approve it anyway.
It is my sincere hope that my fellow citizen’s of Cleveland County will begin making their presence felt at the Commissioner’s meetings, and that they will make their voices heard about an LUP that places “sustainable growth” ahead of economic growth.
In October of 2010 Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz, speaking at the 7th World Business Forum, stated ”Even if the U.S. economy manages to grow, it will be too slow to provide enough jobs needed and a high unemployment rate will be a new normal for Americans”. (Click here to read source)
In a previous post (click here to read) detailing how the LeGrand Conference Center, and the new Shelby Middle School are being constructed using Federal Stimulus money, Gaspee quoted County Manager David Dear:
“The county unemployment rate is currently 14.3%. Retail sales have continued to decline and local housing starts are currently very depressed. Despite declining revenues, this budget focuses on maintaining overall public expenditures at current levels.” (Click here to read)
Cleveland County’s unemployment is 14%… the new normal is “High” unemployment for Americans…really? I’m NOT ok with that.
Gaspee interviewed Jason Falls, newly elected Cleveland County Commissioner, and Commissioner Falls made no bones about the need he sees for economic and job growth in Cleveland County. So what’s holding our county back? Why aren’t we growing?
At 14% unemployment, is ANY idea off the table?
The answer is yes. Cleveland County leadership, at least since 2005, is only interested in “sustainable growth.”
In 2005 42 of Cleveland County’s community leaders, including business and government, signed on to the UN’s agenda of “Sustainable Development“. I know that sounds wildly unbelievable, but I implore the reader to continue before you dismiss me out of hand.
According to the Cleveland County Land Use Plan of 2005 Cleveland County became a member of an EPA funded program called Sustainable Environment for Quality of Life or SEQL. This is from the About Section of SEQL’s website (click here to read)
“SEQL is an integrated environmental initiative for the 15-county metropolitan Charlotte region in North and South Carolina.
SEQL involves elected officials, local government staffs, business and industry groups, economic development groups and environmental stakeholder groups working together toward viable solutions to regional growth.
SEQL is regional in its vision and influence, but local in application.
SEQL promotes implementation of specific Action Items on Air Quality, Sustainable Growth and Water Resources and consideration of environmental impacts in decision-making at local and regional levels.
SEQL is funded by a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to Centralina Council of Governments in cooperation with Catawba Regional Council of Governments.”
The EPA and SEQL knew local elected officials would never sign on to something with “sustainable development” or EPA, in the title even in 2005. So SEQL cleverly “laundered their EPA funding” by setting up Centralina Council of Governments. Centralina Council of Governments then assists government and business leaders in Cleveland County to create the Cleveland County Land Use Plan, published on April 19th, 2005. (Click here to download)
Before we go further please make note of this. Gaspee recently posted on a very significant declaration that came out of the latest United Nations climate summit held in Cancun.
Martin Chavez, the Executive Director of ICLEI stated:
“For the first time in the history of climate negotiations, the United Nations has officially recognized the crucial roles of local governments in fighting climate change – as local governments are now identified by delegate nations as “government stakeholders”. (Click here to read post)
Note that SEQL , and ICLEI also use the term, Stakeholder. That is a very popular term within the UN’s sustainability agenda.
And that is only the first of MANY similarities between SEQL, ICLEI, the United Nations Agenda 21, AND Cleveland County’s Land Use Plan. Please print both and compare them for yourselves.
ICLEI-STAR Sustainable Community’s Index (click here)
Cleveland County Land Use Plan (click here)
On a separate note…does the Cancun declaration potentially mean that Shelby City Council members or County Commissioners could go and participate in official UN proceedings without the consent of our State or Federal legislature? Gaspee will save that for another story.
There are a few parts of the Cleveland County Land Use Plan that make good sence, however for the most part, it reads like an economy killing manifesto written by Al Gore.
In my brief reading of the Land Use Plan Open Space is discussed on 12 different pages. I enjoy Crowder’s Mountain as much as anyone, but bear in mind that for every OPEN space, there is one less JOB space. Bicycles and sidewalk space are discussed on five pages each, and coincidentally I’m sure, people riding bicycles and walking on sidewalks are on the cover of ICLEI’s STAR Guidelines. Housing built around mass transit are discussed in both. The Land Use Plan also states Cleveland County communities should be “walkable” in nature just as ICLEI’s STAR Guidelines mandate.
Here are the ISSUES facing Cleveland County as defined by the 42 author’s of the Land Use Plan:
STEERING COMMITTEE ISSUES OF CONCERN
ISSUE 1. RURAL CHARACTER
Cleveland County residents value their rural lifestyles, their views, and their green space, and DON’T want to lose them.
Maintain lower-density residential development.
Keep the “rural” feel of the community—protect viewsheds and ensure that new development fits with older.
Limit industrial or commercial growth to existing towns or major corridors—but preserve the sense that one has “arrived” in a town by not having continuous development from town to town.
Include some type of design guidelines for commercial development to ensure that it “fits in” with its surroundings.
Green and open space is critical—preserve it in any new housing developments. Viewsheds should be preserved by buffering.
ISSUE 2. CITIES, TOWNS, AND VILLAGES
Development should occur FIRST in existing cities, towns, and villages.
A healthy mix of uses should be encouraged—people should be able to “live over the store.” Mixed use can work in any community if it’s designed properly.
More urbanized areas should be walkable and connected—especially in communities with water and sewer.
Sidewalks are a must in more urbanized areas, and in new subdivisions in towns.
Multi-family development is appropriate for all communities if it’s in an area with water/sewer and is designed to fit in with the environs.
Parks, greenways, trails, and civic space should be included in urban and village planning.
Our towns and villages should not be simply extensions of highway sprawl, but should have identifiable “gateways” or perhaps even greenbelts.
Commercial development should have a sense of permanency—it should not look “thrown together” or “temporary”. It SHOULD fit in with the image we want our community to project.
Traditional “strip” development is not preferred, but development that shares driveways is a possibility IF the development is well designed.
Commercial development should not be “strung out” along the highway but clustered in nodes around major intersections.
Provide some type of proposal to handle big-box stores—either a plan to handle their abandonment or incentives to re-use them.
Signage should be better regulated.
Consideration should be given to regulating outdoor lighting so that it lights what it’s meant to, but doesn’t create “light pollution.”
Areas suggested for industrial growth include:
The I-85 Corridor
The Highway 18 Corridor
The Kings Mountain/Shelby Corridor
At selected sites along the new Shelby Bypass Grover
The residents of Grover are particularly interested in redevelopment rather than greenfields sites.
Infrastructural improvements designed to facilitate industrial recruitment should be actively investigated and implemented. [As long as it is LIGHT Industrial, read further down]
Industrial development should be sufficiently buffered, landscaped, and otherwise regulated so that it does not negatively impact adjoining uses.
Light industry is preferred over heavy industry, which is perceived as being bad for the environment.
In Upper Cleveland County, the preference for industrial uses is for smaller, low-traffic type uses rather than one or two major employers. In Upper Cleveland County, buffering is particularly important.
The one place in Upper Cleveland County where commercial/industrial development should perhaps be encouraged is along NC18 between Fallston and Belwood.
There is a sense that residents would rather not have smaller (10-15 home) subdivisions on cul-de-sacs that are one-way-in/one-way-out and spaced out along the highway—they would rather have larger (or even small) developments that are connected to the fabric of the community.
Residential development in all areas of the county ideally should reflect its context—in rural areas, that may mean that larger, non-“family” development is buffered so that rural viewsheds are retained.
Multi-family development should take place in city, town, or village centers, and not in rural areas (where there is no sewer to support it).
Multi-family development may be appropriate along the US 74 Corridor where it may be a form of transit-oriented development.
Manufactured housing will probably always be with us as a form of affordable housing.
OPEN SPACE AND GREENWAYS
There is a need for a greenway network in Cleveland County.
Open space and rural landscapes must be preserved.
Civic open space is important—parks, trails, greenways, etc.
Regulations that control clear-cutting are needed.
A Countywide open space plan should be created.
Since sewer treatment plants encourage development, careful attention must be given to where they go.
NC 18 is a potential corridor to link to I-40 and it should be planned—in accordance with the caveats listed above for rural character, commercial, and industrial development.
Upper Cleveland County should keep its two-lane road network so that additional development isn’t encouraged—although the roads should be made safer with wider shoulders, etc.
One-way-in/one-way-out residential and commercial development is not desirable.
Connectivity is preferred, where feasible.
Code enforcement is an issue now, and added regulations will increase the perceived enforcement gap.
Commercial properties need code enforcement just as much as residential properties do.
Government should provide sufficient resources to meet the code enforcement needs.
Conditional use zoning is needed to give the County better control on how development takes place.
Now I do not claim to be an expert when it comes to “town planning” however, does this plan send a message to potential companies wanting to relocate that Cleveland County covets them, or does it say KEEP OUT?
We now know that NCDENR has adopted (click here to read) the UN’s version of sustainable development. We now know that Cleveland County is a member of the EPA funded SEQL, and SEQL has links on their website to ICLEI and LA21, or Local Agenda 21 (click here to see). And we now know that SB 897 created the Sustainable Communities Task Force, and that NCDENR, listed as a partner to SEQL as well, will be the State agency that will drive the “sustainability agenda” in North Carolina.
My question is simple:
HAS CLEVELAND COUNTY ADOPTED THE UNITED NATIONS VERSION OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AS WELL?
To my freedom loving neighbor’s in other states, please investigate to see if your town has submitted a similar land use plan, to a similar EPA front group in your region.
To my freedom loving neighbors in Cleveland County; have powerful interests been hindering growth in our county, based on the biggest scientific hoax of modern times?
If so what are WE prepared to do about it?