On a blustery November afternoon, there are no views from the 5,000-foot summit of Little Sugar Mountain in Avery County. Situated on the knob is Sugar Top, the 10-story steel-and-concrete structure is veiled in a blanket of fog. Three decades ago, the construction of this very building launched a public debate on how the state should protect one of its most valuable resources: mountain views.
Ironically, the legislation this high-rise inspired — the Mountain Ridge Protection Act (of 1983), which banned certain tall buildings on ridge lines above 3,000 feet — gave Sugar Top an exclusive mountain apex location, making it an even easier sell by its developer, the Columbia, S.C.-based developer U.S. Capital Corp.Carolina Public Press
If you don’t protect your area, they will come and destroy it!
Tonight’s commissioners’ meeting agenda was confusing when it was posted. See below:
I sent an email requesting an explanation of the line item 2-I resolution, allowing the County manager to exempt professional services.
Here is Honeycutt’s response:
Per your request, “Can you explain and define – What professional services are being excluded from as referenced in the item I agenda?”
Ma’am, in accordance with NCGS 143-64.32, I’m requesting the Board of Commissioners authorize the County Manager to exempt from initial solicitations professional services such as architectural, engineering, surveying, construction management-at-risk services, and design-build services below the $50,000.00 threshold.
Okay, getting around the Military Word salad above, I do appreciate him giving me the GS statute, which should have been included in the agenda; this is what it means.
How does a local government exempt itself from the Mini-Brooks Act?
G.S. 143-64.32 authorizes a unit of local government to exempt itself from the Mini-Brooks Act, which means that it will not be required to use the QBS process and may select an architect, engineer, surveyor, or alternative construction delivery method firm by whatever method it chooses (or no method at all). The statute does not impose much by way of requirements for utilizing the exemption – it simply requires the unit to put the exemption in writing. However, the exemption is capped at $50,000, meaning the estimated cost of the contract cannot exceed this amount. Contracts with an estimated cost of $50,000 or more cannot be exempted and the QBS process must be used. Governing board approval is not required, but many local governments choose to do so anyway, which is a good practice to follow. Sample language for a board resolution is available on the SOG local government purchasing websiteInstitute of Government
Bottom Line: this is another way to consolidate a loophole so these commissioners do not have to disclose or require a fair bidding process.
This is just another example of the County manager and these county commissioners using their positions to build a bigger government in Madison and send the goody packages to their pals and families.
There are many parts to this story that you as a county need to be concerned with because your county employees are not doing their jobs and are operating outside the scope of NC and Madison County law. At the same time, they use tactics to stop other residents from acquiring lawful permits.
Part One- The Ridge Rapers in Madison County
It took three public record requests and a threat of moving into Court to get these documents from Madison County.
I appreciate the County Manager getting them for me. I requested comments from Rod Honeycutt and Brad Guth last week, and they have not responded as of this publication. This is a republication as of October 18, 2023, and these men have still not responded.
MRPA Ridge lines NC Protective ordinances We also have an additional County ordinance that protects these Ridge Lines
Summary of General Statute
Ridgelines identified for protection by the Mountain Ridge Protection Act of 1983, North Carolina General Statute Chapter 113A, Article 14 (available at https://www.ncleg.gov/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/ByArticle/Chapter_113A/Article_14.pdf).
The Mountain Ridge Protection Act (MRPA) of 1983 established protections in the form of building height restrictions for ridgelines at or above 3,000 feet in elevation and/or that rise 500 feet or more above their adjacent valley floor. This dataset identifies, via vector line data, the ridges which meet those criteria, as initially determined on a series of hand-annotated United States Geological Survey (USGS) 7.5 minute topographic quadrangle maps and later digitized into this vector line dataset. The data will not be updated except in the event of an amendment to the MRPA of 1983.
Text of the MRPA of 1983 (North Carolina General Statute Chapter 113A, Article 14) is available at https://www.ncleg.gov/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/ByArticle/Chapter_113A/Article_14.pdf.
Photo of our area-protected Ridge Lines and link.
Below, the Toole house, while under construction, does this look like the Ridge Line was disturbed and a violation of the GS statute and County ordinance?
Below is the Public Record Request, which took three attempts to receive.
Pursuant to the state open records law, N. C. Gen. Stat. sec. 132-1 to 132-10, I write to request access to and a copy of :
- All building inspection records for pin # 9739-96-4086
- All building inspection records for pin # 9739-86-8311
- All elevations of the above two properties
- All building inspection records for Monica Sprehe Toole
- All building inspection records for David Ramsey Kent
- All Building inspection records for WILSON, GREGORY SIMS; MCCOWN, PAMELA JEAN
- All building inspection records related to 167 and 1496 Flat Branch Drive
If your agency does not maintain these public records, please let me know who does and include the proper custodian’s name and address.
If you decide to deny this request, please provide a written explanation for the denial, including a reference to the specific statutory exemption(S) that you rely on. Also, please provide all segregated portions of otherwise exempt material.
Please be advised that I am prepared to pursue whatever legal remedy necessary to access the requested records. Violation of the open records law can result in the award of reasonable attorney fees, for which you may be held personally liable.
Thank you for your assistance
From: Brad Guth <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Friday, September 29, 2023 4:37 PM
To: Records Request <email@example.com>
Cc: Rod Honeycutt <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Public Records Request
Here is the information.
pin # 9739-96-4086 has a dwelling permit in Monica Toole’s name. The elevation is approximately 3,780 ft
pin # 9739-86-8311 No records on file. Owned by Wilson, Gregory & Pamela Jean McCown The elevation is approximately 3,880 ft.
There are no records for 167 Flat Br. Dr.
1496 Flat Br. Dr. is owned by Monica Toole. permit BR-23-92
Brad J. Guth
Development Services Director
Madison County, North Carolina
5707 US Hwy 25/70
Marshall, NC 28753
Notice the above picture screenshots and the pins attached. Now, below are Public Records from this request.
After receiving the public record request, I sent this to Rod Honeycutt and Brad Guth.
Ok, gentlemen, explain to me, per the PRR just requested, how the Madison County Zoning permit is checked, not on a protected ridge.
Please see attached.
Thank you for your assistance
Honeycutt and Guth never responded. Understand the MRPA maps clearly show this as a protected ridge. Now you understand why they didn’t respond.
It is a coverup.
But it gets worse; remember the date above on this application, after the general election in 2022, after Allan Wood Pile Wyatt was elected.
Anthony Willis, James Willis, and Josh Jenkins are the contractors on this house construction. Anthony and James own Builders Express in Mars Hill, now called The Hardware at Mars Hill – (hardwaremh.com).
Willis Boys are big Republicans and are Buddy Harwood Friends. Alan Wyatt, whom Buddy donated to in the 2022 election, is a County Commissioner and former planning board incompetent stooge who is their close relative by marriage.
Wyatt, a Republican, also works for this company. Remember, while sitting on the Planning Board, Wyatt changed the ordinance setbacks to profit himself and his rental units.
According to public records, Monica Toole, the owner of this home, is also a Republican.
There are many other connections, including French Broad EMC. French Broad EMC has recently hired the Willis boys as private contractors, which speaks volumes.
The breakdown of this home and the other lots that are sitting on this protected ridge. According to the legal maps by MRPA, which designate the protected ridges under GS § 113A-205. Short title.
What can be done?
The first thing we can’t do is notify the Madison County Soil and Water Conservation District Supervisor because it is Russell Blevins, the tallest man in Madison County and another Ridge Raper.
In the article below, you can read about what Blevins is up to in trying to alter these ordinances and violate these General Statutes.
Plenty can be done to stop these Hillbilly Deepstaters from destroying these Ridge lines and turning Madison County into an eyesore for these opportunists.
- Complaints need to be filed with DENR immediately; you can use the resources on this website in your filings.
- File a formal complaint against Russell Blevins with DENR
- All contractors listed above hold NC licenses; they should be held accountable for what they have done in filling out these applications. Let them explain whether they knew or not to the State that regulates them.
- All County Employees involved in approving any of these permits- Madison County Environmental Health- Madison County Planning and Zoning Brad Guth- Madison County Building Inspections. They are state-licensed and cannot violate NC Laws. If the County told them to do it, then they better turn in the boss.
- File also against French Broad EMC through DENR, which protects North Carolina’s environmental resources. These Ridge Lines are not being protected with French Broads spraying and clearing and running their ugly power lines up these ridges.
Below is out of this statute the penalties for violating this Ridge protection GS; now get to work to save your County.
If you need assistance, let me know; my email is below.
§ 113A-211. Enforcement and penalties.
Violations of this Article shall be subject to the same criminal sanctions, civil penalties
and equitable remedies as provided by G.S. 160D-404.
Any person injured by a violation of this Article or any person who resides in the county
in which the violation occurred may bring a civil action against the person alleged to be in
violation. The action may seek:
Injunctive relief; or
An order enforcing the provision violated; or
NC General Statutes – Chapter 113A Article 14
Damages caused by the violation; or
Both damages and injunctive relief; or
Both damages and an enforcement order; or
Both an enforcement order and injunctive relief.
If actual damages as found by the court or jury in suits brought under this subsection are five
hundred dollars ($500.00) or less, the plaintiff shall be awarded double the amount of actual
damages; if the amount of actual damages as found by the court or jury is greater than five hundred
dollars ($500.00), the plaintiff shall receive damages in the amount so found. Injunctive relief or
an enforcement order under this subsection may be based upon a threatened injury, an actual injury.