TO THE EDITOR:
Our city hall has conceived a 2045 Land Development Plan which will direct growth in our town for the next two decades. The new plan, created behind closed doors by a select few, is critically important and impacts every citizen of Statesville.
On October 1, 2021, I made a Freedom of Information request to the City of Statesville for all public records relating to the creation of the new 2045 Land Development Plan. To date, the city staff has still not fully complied with my request, and will not release, among other things, 25 hours of secret “stakeholder” interviews that helped mold the secret, corrupted land plan.
Here is what we do know from public record and the limited documents provided by our city hall: We know that the entire western side of Highway 115 north of Interstate 40 was designated for heavy industrial use, which will permit easy expansion for the Martin Marietta rock quarry. We know that the land plan evolved through at least three drafts to expressly include heavy industrial as the primary land use in “Employment Center/Industrial Flex” zones. We know that quarry expansions over the past 40 years have devastated residential neighborhoods surrounding Bradley Farm Road. We know that Mayor Kutteh’s law firm has previously represented the quarry before the planning board and city council. We know that Martin Marietta is now eight for eight in successful rezonings and expansions. We know that Mayor Kutteh never told his citizens nor his city council that his law firm previously had a financial interest in the quarry rezonings. We know that Councilman Morgan has voted for quarry expansion towards north Statesville residential neighborhoods since June 23, 2009.
We know that Statesville taxpayers and ordinary citizens paid $150,000 for a land plan which benefits Mayor Kutteh’s longtime law firm client Martin Marietta. We know that Mayor Kutteh and his business associates own over half of the undeveloped land on Davie Avenue, identified in the land plan as a Long-Term Strategic Focus Area for “future public investments,” which will enhance the mayor’s land value.
Now that the corrupted land plan has been exposed, our city hall is scrambling to correct its grave mistakes. But the citizens of Statesville will never have confidence in such a corrupted land plan. Join me in asking the city to scrap the corrupted land development plan and start over. Join me in asking Mayor Kutteh to resign. He must ask Martin Marietta to reimburse Statesville taxpayers $150,000 for a corrupted land plan which favors out-of-town millionaires over hardworking Statesville citizens.
James Hendrick Pressly