Good neighbors make good business

Published 6:52 pm Saturday, May 15, 2010

Everyone is in favor of a garbage dump, unless it is set to be built in their backyard.

Everyone is in favor of a recycling operation, unless it is set to be built in their backyard.

Such is the case with a group of residents along South Saratoga Street in downtown Suffolk who stand opposed to a planned metal recycling facility by Mid Atlantic Recycling Solutions.

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During the normal planning and development process, the company went before the Suffolk Planning Commission three weeks ago and was faced with strong opposition from the area residents. Commissioners asked the company to organize a meeting with the residents and work to address the many concerns the residents had.

Three weeks later, the company’s owners not only have not addressed those concerns, but have cancelled their appearance at a planned meeting shortly before it was to be held.

Area residents claim the facility is nothing more than a glorified “scrap yard” that will pull the area back into the poor condition it was in just a few years ago. Only now, thanks to a combination of public and private investment, the South Saratoga Street area is starting to show signs of economic development and strong civic pride.

Residents feel this “scrap yard” will only hinder that progress.

While we reserve judgment on the proposed facility itself, we applaud the efforts — which have been both well organized and cordial — of area residents in their opposition. We also applaud the Planning Commission for suggesting the two sides — developers and residents — get together to work out any disagreements.

With the next Commission meeting set for Tuesday, the chance for a meeting between ownership and residents prior to the commission meeting seems very unlikely. And the failure of such a meeting to take place does not sit well with the residents, but rather the business ownership who could not seem to find time to work with their hopeful neighbors.

For business in downtown Suffolk to prosper, it must do so in an environment of cooperation between those its customers and its neighbors.

Unfortunately, it appears the owners of Mid Atlantic Recycling Solutions, don’t have the will to be the good neighbors they say they want to be.