Mocksville and Davie County have a problem that many communities across our state and country would love to have. That problem is growth. This is the third small town I’ve had the pleasure of serving as a manager in and I can tell you that managing growth is far better than wishing for growth.

Our town and county happens to be in a strategic growth location and has had the benefit of visionary leaders over the last twenty years who made sure the infrastructure, processes and relationships needed for growth were developed. Both Mocksville and Davie County went through an intensive public input process to inform and develop their comprehensive plans. These plans have accurately predicted where growth occurred because they identified areas that already had both public water and sewer service, or where this service could easily be connected. These plans also recognized the fact that growth naturally occurs along major transportation corridors because speed to market is one of the most important factors businesses consider when they locate or expand.

I attended the Davie County Growth & Development Workshop back in August and discovered that more than 90% of all land in Davie County is zoned at the lowest development levels. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this fact. This means that developers have to go through a multi-step process if they want to increase the density of residential sites or use land for commercial or industrial buildings. This process involves people who live in Davie County and volunteer to serve on county or municipal planning boards and boards of adjustment. The community votes for the final decision makers who serve as mayors, county commissioners and town commissioners.

I have a great deal of respect for our friends and neighbors who volunteer and are appointed by elected representatives to serve on planning boards or boards of adjustment and even more for those who are elected to represent our county or towns. The decisions they are faced with are never easy, nor are they always clearly “right” or “wrong”.

Members of appointed and elected boards should listen carefully to the residents most impacted by a development project. They also need to rely on the guidance from their zoning ordinance and comprehensive plan. There should be a balance between the interests of property owners, residents impacted by development and the needs of the community as a whole. Finally, everyone needs to understand that managed growth is healthy. No one wants to be one of the twenty (20) counties in North Carolina that lost population in 2022 and whose communities are only a shadow of what they once were.

Growth can be painful, but managed growth helps build stronger and more resilient communities for everyone.

Kenneth Gamble