Letter – Project stands to change city’s unique character

Published 9:31 pm Tuesday, August 9, 2022

To the Editor:

I am writing to express some concerns about the proposed change of an agricultural zone to M2 Heavy Industrial on the 540-acre farm bordered by U.S. 460 (Pruden Boulevard), Murphy’s Mill Road, Pitchkettle Road and Kings Fork Road.

If the City Council votes on Aug. 17 to allow this project to go forward, there will be a big change to a gateway to the central city. The project for the building of warehouses in a tax-free zone will bring construction jobs, but I do not think they will be for Suffolkians. I’ve seen the Hispanic gentlemen that are working on the new warehouse infrastructure on Carolina Road and it brought to mind the deaths of two Guatemalan men at the Amazon warehouse. So, it would appear it is standard practice to bring in the construction crews.

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Jobs that will come will be for warehouse workers. These warehouses are not fulfillment centers, but tax-free storage till the contents are sold.

If this project is allowed, I think we will wait many years to ever be in the black from taxes because we the citizens will be the ones footing the majority of the road infrastructure that will widen U.S. Route 460 (eminent domain?), Pitchkettle and no, not Murphy’s Mill and not Kings Fork. Trucks will be turning onto Kings Fork that is curvy with ditches and two cemeteries. Yes, it would be very hard to make it suitable for trucks. This is the route school buses take to the schools on Kings Fork. This is the route we take to reach Route 10 shopping, health care and the anticipated Publix.

Can economic development pursue a use for this property to enhance the lives of our citizens? It could certainly be a mixed use with businesses with good paying jobs, entertainment for families (movie theater, skating, rock climbing) and conveniences for travelers like hotels, food, service stations and charging stations for electric vehicles.

I fear that we are allowing the city to be hemmed in by warehouses. I truly do not understand how our planning department came up with their M2 designation for suburban overlay being a good fit. I cannot see how this was the intent of the comprehensive plan 2035.

We must be much more forward looking to keep the character of our unique city. Please contact the council before the vote on the 17th. If we citizens do not let them know our objections, then how will they know?

Dana Adams

Suffolk