Response to Inaccurate Information
As the Chairperson of the Blowing Rock Civic Association, I am writing in an effort to correct the inaccuracies put forth in a letter to the editor on September 15th in the “High Country Press.” The Blowing Rock Civic Association was founded in 2015 by a group of Blowing Rock residents who were dedicated to preserving the special qualities that make our community unique and beautiful. Our organization has now grown to 350 members who support our mission of being a voice for homeowners in keeping them informed and in advocating on their behalf on issues facing Blowing Rock that affect them.
Therefore, when incorrect information about the Blowing Rock Civic Association is printed, we believe in honesty and integrity and so want to correct assertions that are not true.
First, the Blowing Rock Civic Association under current and past leadership has never been a politically active lobbying organization. We have always followed the rules and laws governing a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization and have recently elected to report the limited lobbying expenses we may have in the current year under 501(h). This year the Blowing Rock Civic Association’s leadership determined that issues were being presented in Blowing Rock and in Raleigh (short term rentals, county elections by district) on which we might want to lobby, subject to applicable limitations.
The Blowing Rock Civic Association never spent $60,000 to influence a building project on Rainey Street that eventually became a 40-room hotel. The truth is that when the Blowing Rock Civic Association, a homeowner focused group, saw that the residents of Morningside Drive and adjacent streets were concerned about the increased traffic and congestion that were coming on their streets, we assisted the neighborhood to hire an attorney to establish standing and to represent the neighbors, as required by the quasi-judicial public hearing process, and to express their concerns and to present facts related to compliance with the Land Use Code. The total was $12,800 or about 1/5th of the amount stated in the letter, and BRCA was endeavoring to help homeowners protect their property rights and values.
We were also accused of waging an aggressive disinformation campaign about burying power lines on Main Street. All information printed and spoken by the Blowing Rock Civic Association came directly from printed material on the Blowing Rock town website or from a DOT representative in Boone. None was “disinformation.” As it turned out after only one bid was submitted after several attempts to get more bids, the cost to bury the power lines would be about $6.4 million in cost plus interest to service the debt (not the $4 million suggested by the Chamber’s task force before the bid came in) and much of this project would have been paid for with property tax increases that would impact homeowners, who pay 85% of property taxes.
Finally, Hunt Broyhill was not recruited by the Blowing Rock Civic Association to run for the Town Council. He was on the Blowing Rock Civic Association Board but resigned after announcing his candidacy in order to show his impartiality, just as a sitting council member declined to serve in a leadership role on the board of the Chamber for the same reason. Hunt and his wife LeAnn live in Blowing Rock, and he commutes to Lenoir to work some days.
The Blowing Rock Civic Association has not endorsed Hunt Broyhill or any candidates ever. The Blowing Rock Civic Association had nothing to do with his decision to run; he said he surprised his wife with his decision but has been closely tied to Blowing Rock since he was a child visiting his grandparents and wants to use his business experience to serve the community on the Town Council.
The Blowing Rock Civic Association has always encouraged people to exercise their civic duty and vote. The North Carolina Nonprofit Center encourages nonprofits to promote voter registration. Everyone who votes in Blowing Rock is required to be in complete compliance with the law of the State of North Carolina that governs who can vote and where.
The Blowing Rock Civic Association was called out for not releasing its membership list. We do not know where this comment originated since no nonprofit publishes or is required to publish its membership list, that we are aware of. Do all the other nonprofits in Blowing Rock do this? They do not nor do they need to do so. We do have a link on the website that lists our Board members and are grateful that these individuals are willing to serve our community and care about the homeowners of Blowing Rock.
We are truly sad that someone would publish so many blatantly incorrect comments about our group of homeowners who are working with Blowing Rock One to collaborate for the betterment of Blowing Rock.
Jean Kitchin, chairperson of the Blowing Rock Civic Association, on behalf of the Executive Committee