By Chicken R. Little
As a bird who has never been known for modesty, I feel vindicated by what the planning consultant the city hired is telling us. It sounds like the same advice, albeit more sophisticated, that I have been giving for free. Here are a few examples:
- The Joe B Jackson area should be designated as a business park. I have learned, however, that the consultant has been pressured to dilute this recommendation. No wonder. If you read the definition of a business park you can see why. Its restrictions might irritate developers here.
A Business Park zone provides an attractive working environment for development of offices, research institutions, and specialized light manufacturing.
The uses allowed within this zone, which has a park-like setting, are more limited than in other commercial or manufacturing districts. It is characterized by beautifully designed buildings, abundant landscaping, and uses which don’t create air, ground, noise, and water pollution. These zones are assets to the community and can be located next to quality residential development.
Pressure to dilute the consultant’s recommendations
I learned last week that the city’s planning staff had pressured the consultant to designate Joe B Jackson as a light industry zone instead of business park. No wonder there is pressure to throw this recommendation out. It is too restrictive. It might be harder to rezone business park to heavy industry than it was recently to convert light industry land there to heavy.
Here are other things the consultant is telling us:
- We should try to attract only “green” manufacturing, not the old smokestack industries. So much for the slogan: “Raw materials in and manufactured products out”. Or at least products made by polluting the air and shaking the ground. We on the south side shouldn’t have to take a bullet for those living on the north side.
- It’s a mistake to chew up valuable land by going after logistics and warehousing businesses. They don’t create many jobs or attract the white collar workers the city is seeking.
At least sabotage the consultant’s plans in public
It was easy for the city council to ignore me. I want to see how they go about ignoring the consultant they have hired. If they do this, at least we can insist that they do it out in the open and not through a decision made behind closed doors at the city staff level. The consultant held a public meeting Tuesday to get your reactions to what he is proposing. Few people came. He is telling us a lot of good things. It is up to you to support what he is saying because the pressures coming the other way are strong. Stay silent, and we will get what we deserve.