IN MY OPINION –
To make a long story short….. at the intersection of Mt. Harmony Church Road and Stevens Mill Road in planning are 141 townhomes on a 17 acre lot. This was on the Board of Commissioners meeting agenda for February 12, 2018. I had sent out a posting informing citizens of the meeting and was surprised to learn just how many people were not aware of the townhomes. During this posting it was also disclosed there was a community meeting to be held on January 25, 2018 which many were unaware of. I attended the meeting, voiced my opinion and spoke with a few that attended. One citizen pointed out “who” owned the land and asked how do you fight that? I also found it misleading and deceitful that the attorney representing the developer did not disclose his connections with the Town of Matthews. I decided to send a email to our elected public servants asking them how anyone was able to notice the rezoning sign when it blended in. I received a response from Town Manager Hazen Blodgett and found his concern for the citizens nonexistent. Not surprised. I then noted I would send another posting out and would inform everyone of his response. One resident responded with “You got the standard classic response….we don’t care what the people want or need. We will do what suits us. All with our money of course. Exactly, hit the nail on the head.
Mt. Harmony Townhomes email – Hazen Blodgett – when reading emails remember to start from the last page and work upward. I have also numbered them.
With all this being said, I guess Commissioner Kress Query was not a happy camper when I called his bud out so he decided to join the conversation. At the end of this email he questioned “Why is it always twisted that something is being done wrong?”.
Mt. Harmony Townhomes email – Kress Query – remember to start from the last page of email.
I would like to give a few examples of why anyone would think this council along with past councils should not and have not been trusted. Let’s begin with the past five years which includes Commissioner Kress Query.
PRIVATE EMAIL ACCOUNTS – I made a public records request for Kress Query to provide all emails pertaining to town business through his private email account. Town Clerk Lori Canapinno responded with “Mr. Query has reported that he has no emails relating to town business in his personal email for this time period.” That’s funny, because I had in hand at the time of the request emails in hand that had been sent by Kress Query through his personal email account. I also requested emails for Mayor Paul Bailey and Commissioner John Higdon, Jeff Miller, John Urban and Chris Melton. Mayor Paul Bailey denied using his work email account when in fact he had. The Commissioners did provide some but my request was for all not a select few. If I had an award for the best ridiculous response it would have to go to Commissioner Chris Melton. He responded with “In order to make sure I comply with the request, I’m manually searching to prevent potentially missing anything.” He then provided his ten pages with three of them being test pages. That was a hoot.
Dictionary.com Liar – a person who tells lies.
Lie – a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive; an intentional truth; a falsehood.
TOWN OF MATTHEWS v. WRIGHT – In 2013 Kress Query supported the vote to condemn Mr. & Mrs. Wrights property. Commissioners Jeff Miller, John Urban and Mayor Paul Bailey also supported this vote. The court ruled the “taking as arbitrary and capricious” and for ” the well-connect” individuals of Matthews. One of the well-connected was once neighbor to Mr. Query and financially supported John Urban during this past election. During the condemnation the Town estimated a “just compensation” for the Wirghts property to be $1,500.00. After having their property appraised the value was $55,976.00. When the appraisal was submitted to the town our Town Attorney Charles Buckley sent an email to Ms. Hopkins, the appraiser, stating “ Do you realize that 100% of the R/W being acquired is located in an existing (private) road R/W? It is not unencumbered fee simple property. The remaining road area is still public street R/W.” This was not true and lead to the lowering of the appraisal to $12,825.00. In the condemnation letter it stated that the condemnation was for “opening, widening, extending or improving roads, streets, alleyways and sidewalks and being more particularly described as Home Place.” When in fact there were no plans for any improvements to be made by the town as stated by Town Manager Hazen Blodgett. Matthews made it into the law books with the April 21, 2015 North Carolina Court of Appeals (NCCOA) decision. This was a published opinion and will now set a new precedent for the State of North Carolina. Judge Hunter even included former Mayor Jim Taylor’s use of his private email account in order to keep from public record. Only around $250,000.00 tax payer funds can be accounted for this fiasco and this includes attorney fees for some of the well-connected involved. Isn’t is nice to know your tax dollars are hard at work?
WWII VETERAN NEUBERT PURSER – In 2005 the 72 acre farm of Neubert Purser was condemned for a park. The vote to condemn included former Mayor Lee Myers former Commissioners Paula Lester, Jim Taylor and Suzanne Gulley and let’s not forget current Commissioner Kress Query and Mayor Paul Bailey who were in support. The town has denied the condemnation while the letter served shows otherwise. While learning all the details I was informed that Kress Query’s father was a friend of Mr. Purser and Commissioner Kress Query would ride by Mr. Purser’s home but there would be no answer, feeling a bit guilty? It has been thirteen years now and still no park, no worries on December 12, 2017 the Board voted to spend $37,000.00 to demolish his home.
2014 RAIN/FLOODING – Remember all the rain we receive in July of 2014? It was called the 100 year storm. Many citizens around Matthews had flooding and property damage and reached out to former Mayor Taylor, John Ross, Joe Pata and current Commissioners Jeff Miller, John Higdon, Chris Melton and Kress Query. Citizens were told they were responsible for the clean-up on their private property. After the storm former Mayor Jim Taylor received a phone call from Paul Jamison who was Chair of the Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) at the time, informing him of the storm debris blocking a pipe that was located on his private property. Even though this was Mr. Jamison’s responsibility as stated by former Public Works Director Ralph Messera “While we have helped clear this driveway pipe in the past of trash such as this, this is really “Paul’s responsibility to maintain, by keeping it clear of trash and debris and open to flow.” Matthews Public Works spent two days cleaning up the storm debris. The cost for clean-up was $783.67 but according to Charlotte Mecklenburg County Storm Water Services funds cannot be used on private property.
FORMER CHIEF OF POLICE RONNIE MORRIS AFFIDAVIT – In May of 1992 Virginia Wright went to the Town Hall in effort to file a complaint against the town. Town Attorney Charles Buckley instructed Mr. Morris to find a way to keep her out of the Town Hall. This is a public building paid for by public funds and Mrs. Wright had every right to exercise her Constitutional Rights.
SECURITY LIGHTS FOR THE WELL-CONNECTED – In 1986 the Town had three security street lights installed along Home Place. Your taxes which are allocated to the Powell Bill are used by the town to pay for these lights. In 2015 one of the lights went out and the town was not allowed to replace because it was located on the Wrights property. In 2013 Judge Beal placed an injunction upon the Town of Matthews. No one from Matthews or working on behalf of the town is allowed to enter the Wrights property without their permission. Somehow the light was replaced so this then gave the Wrights the legal right to sue the town. After the Town was notified of the trespass during a Board of Commissioners meeting it was decided “a good samaritan” replaced the light. With the determination to replace the light Town Manager Hazen Blodgett wanted to put a new pole and light across the street. I wondered if Duke Energy was aware of the injunction so I contacted them and to no surprise no one from Matthews had informed them. By putting the light up this would have put Duke Energy in violation so the light was not replaced. This is pretty much how Home Place, Town of Matthews v. Wright, all began. The Town had lights installed and after 20 years they could claim prescription (legally steal) the Wrights property. So they sat back, kept their mouths shut and just waited until the Town could claim the Wrights property. Luckily Mrs. Wright learned of all this just in time.
REVERDY FARMS SUBDIVISION – Vicus Builders Inc. submitted preliminary plans for a 12 lot subdivision on the southeast quadrant intersection of Reverdy Lane and Home Place. On August 27, 2014 these plans were approved by the County and Town staff and on September 8, 2014 was unanimously approved by the Town Council which included former Mayor Jim Taylor and Commissioner John Higdon, Jeff Miller, Chris Melton, John Ross and yes Kress Query. In the plans it states “All area between the PL and the exist R/W will be dedicated to the Town of Matthews with the platting of the lots.” In Matthews and Mecklenburg County lots cannot be sold that do not abut a public street. Home Place is a private street, it has never been dedicated to the Town of Matthews so how could this be approved? How can half a street be dedicated? By approving Reverdy Farms wouldn’t subdivision laws of Mecklenburg County have been broken? Something’s fishy here.
HILL SAND AND GRAVEL – This is an oldie but a goodie. Without the owners knowledge of Hill Sand and Gravel the town decided to change their zoning. This then would open the door to get rid of this business and this was one business the town was not a fan of. When the owner learned of the plans he preceded to employ an attorney, the town then changed it’s tune.
I could go on but I think we all get the picture here. A new year has begun and new to the Council is Barbara Dement who has already begun to show her true colors. The council was informed of an incident that could have taken the life of a citizen. I found her lack of concern appalling and sent her an email, she has not responded. So to answer Commissioner Kress Query’s question of why he feels things get “twisted” maybe he should take a look at himself and his past decision making. Maybe he should really look at how he, along with other elected officials, have treated citizens. Instead of claiming transparency DO IT and start by properly disclosing where our tax dollars are going. For example – Budget Ordinance Amendment this should say, reimbursement to Wright family for legal fees not just “legal fees”. ALL the lie’s have to stop, how can anyone trust a liar?
As for the townhomes, there was a request to defer the public hearing which was granted to April 9, 2018.
As always please remember to support MATTHEWS WATCH by telling your friends and neighbors. Thank you for the support, take care and God Bless. Gina Hoover