The Transylvania Times -

Chase McKelvey Interview


Chase McKelvey

Chase McKelvey

Age: 29

Employment: owner of Chase Insurance in Brevard

Past boards or committees: none

Education: Brevard High School; Blue Ridge Business College; National Association of Insurance & Financial Advisors; Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow

Family: Bob (father), Violet (mother), one brother (Shawn), two sisters (Monica and Angela)

Should you be elected, what would be your top three priorities as commissioner?

We have to look at infrastructure. We definitely need to make sure our education stays top and front and foremost. My number one is probably economic development. We need to do whatever we can, exhaust every resource that we've got in order to bring business in.

That way we can provide a living for anybody that graduates here, and it gives them the option to stay here and actually have a family and be able to provide for them.

What is your position on the proposed Ecusta Trail project? Do you support it? Why or why not?

I don't think there's enough information out there right now to support it or oppose it. I actually sat down with (Friends of Ecusta Trail representatives) for an hour-and-a-half, and the thing I know first and foremost is that (the former Ecusta site) is one of the hottest economic development sites in North Carolina, and I think until that's been determined – whether or not we're going to bring industry there and will need the rail – I really don't know if we can make an educated decision on it.

Would I be opposed to it? No, it's something that's family friendly and something that would encourage exercise, as well. If we can do it, then I would be for that, but when I spoke to (Friends of Ecusta Trail) they said the Ecusta Trail – they would railbank it. You wouldn't be able to use the railroad and it at the same time.

I think there are too many things involved, especially given that Norfolk Southern hasn't decided to abandon the rail. If they do, I think it would be left up to the property owners because the property would go back to them.

So, if I could have signed documentation from every property owner that this would affect, saying they're okay with it, then I would be for it.

I think we need to first and foremost look at private property rights and then also see if we're going to bring industry in.

What is your position on land-use planning? Are you in favor of it? Why or why not?

Land use and planning – there's always good issues there, but we haven't identified what we want to use our land for yet.

We can plan all day long, and sometimes we get in a situation of paralysis by analysis, where we plan so much that we never get anything done.

I'm more about, let's plan and figure out what's the best thing to do, but then let's follow it up with action and not submit another committee to dig into this or do another committee to fact-find this. You can fact-find things to death."

I think it has its role but it's important to keep into consideration the citizens and their private property.

The Transylvania County Independent Economic Development Task Force recently named, as part of their recommendations to commissioners, a list of targeted industries that include: small/medium manufacturing, destination health club/spas, camps, sports health & wellness, events/conferences, music recording industries and motion picture industries. Do you agree with this list of targeted industries? Are there other industries you feel the county should also be targeting? Specifically, what do you think are the best ways to bring those industries to the county?

I do believe what (The Task Force) has recommended is a good fit for our county. We've got a lot of nature trails, we've got a lot of national forests and we need to take advantage of everything we have to offer here. So, I think those are all good fits, but we also need to be open for all avenues of economic development.

It all goes back to identifying what the county wants. We haven't identified what we really want besides those (industries). I think they are good fits. They would work well here and would offer good jobs, as well. We need to really emphasize the things we do offer but we need to be open to all forms. Those industries are good fits. The only thing that would probably concern me is having jobs that provide a career for local graduates. To offer graduates of Transylvania County the option if they want to stay here that they won't have dead end jobs to where they can't get married and have a family and be able to live.

The City of Brevard has various staff positions and resources that assist in managing and operating the city. Do you think the county should provide the Town of Rosman with additional staffing and/or funding to help acquire grants, manage the town, etc.?

I would say we need to work together with Rosman because they are part of the county. I know people kind of look at Rosman as the red-headed stepchild of the county, and we really need to work together and help them because if they grow, the county grows.

If they need staffing, then we need to look into it. We need to do whatever it takes to bring the entire county up because it's not just Brevard within the county.

In 2013, commissioners voted to enact a 12-month moratorium on the proposed biomass plant in Penrose and recently voted to enact a 90-day moratorium on cell tower applications. When do you feel moratoriums are appropriate? When are they inappropriate? Do you feel moratoriums send a negative message to prospective investors or are a necessary tool of a commissioner's job, in certain circumstances, to protect the interests of the community?

If you have to vote on a moratorium, that means the county is unprepared and we don't have a comprehensive plan in place. It means that we need to be prepared, and all (moratoriums) do is stall the issue of what we should have had already had done to begin with.

I do believe that commissioners are elected to be a leader for the county, and I think that voting for a moratorium doesn't set that precedent in the county or give that precedent to any incoming business, and I think it does have a negative feedback on business.

In the past, the county has had no long-term plans concerning water. In light of recent events (such as the state's attempt to takeover Asheville's public water system) should the county become involved with Brevard and Rosman to devise a countywide water plan?

When it comes to water, we do need to utilize all the sheds we have without limiting economic development.

Anytime you do that you can actually zone out an issue or a whole temporary spot where you can't even build.

I would be against outsourcing. I know Atlanta has looked at buying our water and that doesn't do us any good. There's no tax base we're going to get out of it, and I think that we shouldn't sell (water) unless we're treating it here, and we're at least getting compensated for something.

I do think we need to offer water down the corridor between Brevard and Rosman. If we had water down the corridor, it could entice businesses to come in that area and would help Brevard and Rosman grow together and become more unified.

Do you think the county adequately funds Transylvania County Schools? Do you think Transylvania County Schools adequately informs commissioners as to how those county funds are spent?

When it comes to education, Transylvania County Schools have been schools of excellence, and we shouldn't hold anything back and should do everything we can to maintain that.

I do think that once the county has budgeted the schools' money, I think it is their prerogative as to how they spend it. I'm not into micromanaging, and if the county gives them money, they already know why they're giving it to them. So as long as that gets taken care of, I don't think there's any issues with that.

I do think that there needs to be more of a communication line between commissioners and the Board of Education to where we can work together and get stuff accomplished. I think we need to take care of the school system and the benefits for the children and should exhaust every resource possible to make sure we remain a school system of excel


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