Letter – Cost/benefit of project wouldn’t support its approval

Published 9:29 pm Tuesday, August 9, 2022

To the Editor:

As a former, long-term member of the Suffolk Planning Commission,  I believe that I am qualified to address the issue of a rezoning request to rezone property from general commercial and agricultural to heavy manufacturing zoning.

This area is close to a school (K-12), businesses, a veterinarian’s office, and P.D. Camp Community College. As I understand it, the proponent for this zoning change claims that the project would produce 2,600 construction jobs, plus 9,000 permanent jobs. Let’s not consider the construction jobs, only the permanent ones. Let’s be reasonable and say 20% or 1,800 (Suffolks current population is about 91,000) of the new jobs will go to people who now reside in Suffolk. Second, let’s further assume that the other 7,200 new hires will primarily move to Suffolk. 75%, or 5,400 we’ll assume have families (worker, significant other, and one child). That makes 16,200 new residents. We still have 1,800 single workers. Thus  we now have 18,000 new residents. So we have a Suffolk population increase of 20%

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The impact on the city will be huge. These jobs (mostly warehouse) are not high skill level jobs with high pay. All will require apartments, townhouses, or small houses on small lots.There is no way this influx of people will pay(through taxes) for all the infrastructure necessary to support them — schools, roads, health care, social services, fire and police, to name a few.

When I served on the Planning Commission, cost/benefit analyses were required for all proposed rezoning. The type of rezoning proposed here would always have shown that the costs were huge compared to the benefit (I suppose the development community didn’t like the cost/benefit requirement and it was done away with).

Suffolk already has the Northgate Commerce Park and the U.S. 58 corridor from downtown to theVillage of Holland and beyond. We do not need this rezoning. Don’t make the quality of life worse for those of us who are already here. Be responsive to your constituents!

E. Brian Pritchard

Suffolk