Reader's Letter: Will You Put the Community First?

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Reader's Letter: Will You Put the Community First?

HUGHESVILLE - 6/18/2008

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By Pauleen Brewer


Chaney Enterprises has requested rezoning of a 149 acre parcel at the gateway of the village of Hughesville to Heavy Industrial. Planning staff has stated that the rezoning is not compatible with the comprehensive plan nor the Hughesville Revitalization Plan. Yes, the court has ruled that local government does not have to follow its comprehensive plan, so, legally you can approve the rezoning despite its inappropriateness. But, just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should.

The planning commission recommended approval of this rezoning by a vote of 5-2. The two planning commissioners who voted against the rezoning were the Chair and Vice Chair of the commission. A third planning commissioner expressed doubt about the appropriateness of this rezoning in a rural area, but, voted to recommend, regardless of his doubts.

Besides the valid argument of there being no mistake in the original zoning and the fact there has been no change in the rural character of the neighborhood, it comes down to the following fact. Mr. Chaney owns numerous properties, and has other options of where to relocate his plant, if need be. For example, one that seems appropriate is located on Billingsley Road, in the development district, next to other properties already zoned industrial. Yes, he provides an important service that everyone, at some time or another in their life, will use. However, he will not go out of business if he can't locate in Hughesville. On the other hand, locating heavy industrial zoning in Hughesville WILL be detrimental to any type of revitalization and will degrade the quality of life of those who live in Hughesville.

So, the question you, the commissioners, will answer with your decision on this rezoning request is: Will you put the community first? Will you represent the desires, needs, wants and dreams of 2000+ citizens in Hughesville, or Mr. Frank Chaney?

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