Scott Alderfer chair of our townships EAC (volunteer position) wrote an op-ed last week about the perceived “polarization” of the township. Here’s the link.
I agree that Jaindl’s proposed Spring Creek development and questions surrounding the rezoning process have been polarizing. And Conrad seemed to try to vilify residents who exercised their First Amendment right to petition the courts for redress of their grievances relating to the township’s actions in rezoning Jaindl’s land. So it seems that the polarization has been created not by some residents suing the township but by the township commissioners preferentially listening to one powerful landowner to the exclusion of thousands of other township landowners who actually live in the township.
Further Scott gives more evidence to the fact that the Board solicited very little in terms of feedback from township volunteer bodies when negotiating the flawed plan “A”. I’ve also spoken to a former planning commissioner who expressed frustration at a lack of available information on exactly what was being negotiated in late 2009/early 2010 that resulted in the MOU to rezone hundreds of acres of prime farmland into industrial, housing and strip commercial.
I’m disappointed that these commissioners never asked their Environmental Advisory Council, on which I still serve, for its opinion on the rezoning. We would have advised that rezoning for development in the rural, western part of the township would be a catastrophic loss of open space and of the quality of life inherent in an agricultural district. We would have warned that removing the agricultural protection designation to allow development creates a dangerous precedent that could encourage other agricultural landowners to demand the same opportunity to cash in that was afforded to Jaindl. In fact, the township recently received a new request to do just that.