Commission decision a positive one

Published 9:17 pm Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Developers, potential business owners and entrepreneurs should take an extremely positive message from Tuesday’s Suffolk Planning Commission meeting.

The commission’s decision to shoot down the plans for a recycling facility on South Saratoga Street was not purely based on the proposed facility, its mission or the ownership, but rather the apparent inability of the ownership to work with the residents it hoped to call neighbors.

By scolding the proposed facility’s representatives, the planning commission reinforced what we hope is a core belief — that Suffolk is not simply focused on growing, but rather on growing smartly.

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An earlier decision to turn down a proposed school site for a combined elementary school serving both Holland and Whaleyville, because the proposed site did not conform with the city’s Comprehensive Plan, was another solid and extremely positive move.

In their role working closely with city leadership and the Economic Development Department, the planning commission is a valuable gatekeeper to positive and well-planned growth for Suffolk.

As Suffolk prepares for a continued and extended period of intense growth — in both the residential and business sectors —the commission and other areas of city leadership should continue to ensure growth is beneficial to all concerned.

The representatives for Mid Atlantic Recycling were no doubt disappointed by the commission’s decision, but it appears they have no one to blame but themselves.

Business owners were unable to get consent from South Saratoga home owners, who fear the return of what they felt would be a “junkyard,” pests and problems — items the area had been working to remove from their community for years.

The need for the proposed recycling facility is real, but such a business has its place. City planners should work to find more accommodating locations such as an industrial park, where the business’ potential neighbors may not have such a problem.

The message Tuesday was very clear and positive from the planning commission. Suffolk is a city that wants growth, but wants it at the proper pace and in the proper place.