Many Suffolkians still waiting to have their opinions heard
Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 8, 2004
Editor, the News-Herald:
My neighbors and I are still waiting to give our opinions to the city.
The Suffolk City Council gave a lady $8,500 to call citizens and give a report back to them on various topics. Why no calls to anyone with a mile of me? We don’t believe the city really wanted our opinion.
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I attended the community meeting on the 2025 plan at Robertson School. This meeting was conducted by a firm called U.R.S. Not one councilman or woman even bothered to attend. Mr. Mills in charge of planning was not there. Three members of the planning commission were there.
Did they want our views on the city or the direction we desired our city to move? How much is the survey costing the city taxpayers? My neighbors and I will give these council members opinions for free if asked.
The following items were discussed:
The city using the UDO has rezoned open land for houses. The planning commissioners approved 1,500 new homes; the city then approves this new housing project. The mayor then only a few months later complains about all the growth in the city. If the goal is controlling growth, why rezone the open land in the first place? The planning department and the city council have to approve both rezoning and the housing project.
The southeast bypass was discussed. The council has decided we don’t need this bypass. This bypass would improve traffic both in and around Suffolk. The council seems to fear that the downtown would die if this bypass were built.
This council supported a tax increase for transportation projects, but now does not want this traffic improvement.
It was also felt the city was spending too much money downtown and not enough in the southern part of the city. We pay first class taxes and receive less than our share of benefits. Services in the southern part of the city have not improved in the past 25 years. The people out here are happy and we did not want to live in a crowded city environment. Some wanted bike trails and suggested the use of the old Whaleyville railroad right of way to Suffolk. The idea of the city taking over maintenance of all the roads in Suffolk is best forgotten due to the good deal we have. The state, not the city, pays for the roads, ditches, repairs and maintenance.
William H. Harward