Letter – Are citizens really heard?
Published 6:26 pm Friday, February 3, 2023
I read with appreciation your editorial, “Be heard on Suffolk 2045” this week. I wish that these opportunities to be heard could have the effect that you, and I, desire, in potentially speaking out on the issue of warehouses in Suffolk.
Unfortunately, the public hearings on the Port 460 project — a large warehouse project, approved by our City Council in recent months — shows that, at least at the present time, the Comprehensive Plans of our city are largely meaningless, and the voices of the public are, for the most part, ignored.
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We are two years away from the fulfillment date of the 2025 Comprehensive Plan, and 12 years away from the 2035 Comprehensive Plan. Those plans called for the agricultural area contemplated for use by the Port 460 project to be changed, at most, to residential.
When residents raised concerns about the Comprehensive Plan as objections to the proposed change to heavy industrial zoning, the mayor dismissed the objections, saying that was “just a plan” and “we can change it.”
In addition, at the first of these meetings, concerns about traffic safety were shut down as “not our concern.”
If the Comprehensive Plan has no impact on the planning and zoning decisions of our community, the rather obvious question becomes, “why do we have them?”
I would like to think that the input of the community on this process would have an impact on the direction of the city. However, the attitude of the present council certainly makes one question if there is any purpose to these meetings, other than to give the appearance of community input.