Brittney Lofthouse – Staff Writer

While North Carolina is revising the state’s Sedimentation and Erosion Control Ordinance, Macon County leaders voted to continue the suspension of the local program that provided permits to grading contractors in Macon County who do not already have a state license.

The county’s grading license program, which was enacted in 2008, relies on definitions in the state ordinance such as the definition of “land disturbing activity.” Without knowing what changes the state may make, Macon County leaders voted last month to wait until they have a more clear picture before any changes on the local level.

While the grading license program will remain suspended, commissioners wanted to continue to work on the educational intent behind the program. In 2008 when the program was first started, it was done so to educate the public who perform grading work or projects that are less than $30,000 on the correct practices and safety regarding the process.

The program was intended to reduce sediment and soil erosion that was common in 2008. The program, which distributed 85 license in 2016 the last year it was in effect, requires individuals wanting to perform grading work without an NC Grading Contractors License, to take an open book test to test their knowledge on the process.

Members of the Macon County Planning Board met last Thursday and discussed ways to continue the educational component of the grading license permit without the fees or mandates. Planning Board Chairman Joe Deal and Macon County Assistant Joe Allen presented the board with different examples of education materials that could be viable options at the Macon County Planning Department.

Rather than 8×10 sheets of paper with bullet points, the board was more in favor of researching materials that can be used as a tangible brochure or a power point presentation, that while voluntary, also included questions at the end of information sections so readers can test what they have learned.

No official decision was made by the planning board and what specific materials to be provided will continue to be discussed.