More about the I-35 proposed 11.5 million square foot commercial and industrial development, including this intersection of Co. Rd. 46 and Co. Rd. 1 (imagine Co. Rd. 1 with a five lane I-35 over pass and the traffic):


On Wednesday, I went to the Committee 1 meeting and was appalled, as usual. The draft AUAR was handed out, and I do have a copy for my reading pleasure. Paragraph 9 of the AUAR is disturbing because they anticipate the retroactive Comprehensive Plan changes necessary to make the Comprehensive Plan cover the zoning changes. And of course there is no “no-build” and cost info just isn’t there.

In today’s Northfield News:

Letters to the editor

Big Brother in the making

To the editor:
At Wednesday’s county committee No. 1 meeting, Commissioner Jim Brown suddenly realized that the county master plan for the rezoned land on Interstate 35 could be jeopardized by the free market process. You see, there might be all sorts of businesses that want to locate in that area but they might not be the right type — regardless of how much money they might pay the landowners and bring the county. Or they may think that the perfect location for their business is in a completely different place than the master plan designation.

So, after some discussion with the consultants, Brown decided that probably the best thing to do is get some new restrictive zoning language to “support” the master plan. This, of course, means the creation of yet another committee that would integrate the zoning language with the master plan by the Dec. 31 deadline — which will, of course, require a consultant to work with it for the attendant substantial fee.

Now, in the past, Brown has stated to numerous people that property owners should be able to do what they want with their property. And his votes and discussion on planning and zoning items certainly back that up. So, this turn-around is puzzling. After all, this type of zoning language would basically tell the landowners when they could sell and who they could sell to.

In other words, if you own land on County Road 1 and you get an incredible offer for your property but development has started on Highway 19, you have to wait until the development reaches you to act on it. Will the offer still be on the table by then? And, if you own property in an area designated for office space but you get a great offer from a retail chain, you just may have to turn it down. Or will the county take total control and require any business wishing to locate in that area to see planning and zoning before a landowner may be approached? And what about those landowners who find themselves in a “must-sell” situation before development gets to them? How about the people in the immediate path of the development who don’t want to sell? The ones who are connected to their land and community in ways Jim Brown can never understand?

To me, this is a huge loss of control for the property owner and puts Jim Brown (who has put himself in charge of this development) in the position of taking control out of every real property owner’s hands. As time goes on, the number of questions and issues grow instead of being remedied, and more money is being thrown at the project than the public was ever told to expect. Timelines before seeing substantial tax revenue are lengthening. And through it all, Jim Brown takes more and more control to try to ensure the success of his pet project. A very real Big Brother in the making.

Debra M. Sullivan
Bridgewater Township

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