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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Concerns about land deal
Saturday, February 23, 2013 4:00 AM
To the editor:
Madison Chemical recently purchased 10-plus acres of residential/agricultural-zoned land behind its facility. This land is also behind the Jefferson County Highway Department. This acreage is on Meadow Lane and addressed Meadow Lane.
Of this 10-plus acres, Madison Chemical is seeking to have the 5-plus acres behind them rezoned to heavy industry, 4-plus acres behind the highway department rezoned light industry, and will leave the 1.5 acres nearest Meadow Lane zoned as is: residential/ agricultural. Once it's rezoned, Madison Chemical has agreed to sell the 5-plus acres nearest Meadow Lane for $22,500 to Jefferson County for expansion of the county highway garage.
When commissioner Tom Pietrykowski first presented this to the County Council on Jan. 8, he indicated that the highway garage needed more space, and that this was a "good deal" that was "time sensitive". He had not spoken with any of the residents of Meadow Lane. The county council agreed to let him look into rezoning, and to have a chance to find out how the residents of Meadow Lane felt about it.
The residents of Meadow Lane have made our feelings clear: We do not want the land rezoned. We have made it known at the Jan. 24 Commissioners meeting, the Jan. 29, County Council meeting, and the Feb. 4, City Plan Commission Meeting.
The property on Meadow Lane is zoned residential/agricultural and that's one of the many reasons we all live here. Our families ride bikes, walk, run, and push our children in strollers on Meadow Lane. We have all made investments and improvements in our homes and do not want to see our property values and quality of life decline.
Everyone we've spoken with thinks this is an ill- conceived idea, except Mr. Goodman, owner of Madison Chemical, his attorney, the county's attorney, and some county officials.
To our knowledge, the county hasn't provided documentation warranting an expansion or a cost justification for it. Madison Chemical is expanding south on commercially zoned property they already own on Clifty Drive. It's my understanding that Madison Chemical wanted the 5-plus acres behind them as a buffer, for which rezoning is not required.
We, as residents, need to make it known that this is wrong. Buying cheaper residential land in neighborhoods and having it rezoned for commercial or industrial use is a dirty trick, especially when the local county government is doing it, and when they make no effort to talk with neighborhood homeowners before trying to have it rezoned. The conversations we have had with them have come from our efforts, not theirs.
As bad as all of this is, there's more: the county's attorney and Mr. Goodman's attorney have told us and the City Plan Commission that the county can declare the land condemned and take it for their use. They do not have to have it rezoned. It's called "eminent domain" and they've mentioned it enough times to cause us to be very concerned.
We would greatly appreciate any comments from other concerned residents regarding this matter, so please let your local elected representatives know your thoughts and feelings. And please know that we will be there to support you, if or when, God forbid, anyone else in the county is ever faced with this.
The City Plan Commission meets on this rezoning issue on at 6:30 p.m., March 4 at City Hall.
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