Letter – Words from recent meetings ‘stick in my head’

Published 3:30 pm Friday, May 19, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...


We’ve all had it happen. The words to that song or saying that won’t leave our head.  I mention three of these that I’ve learned from meetings, readings and open conversations — all to do with the City of Suffolk’s growth.  

The first one that sticks with me:  “It’s inevitable.” It used to be held that only two things were inevitable, death and taxes. Now, Suffolk’s growth has been added to that duo of inevitability. Since it is clearly defined as “certain to happen,” the question is whether Suffolk was prepared for the wave of rapid growth. Were resources available and dependable? The seven town hall meetings sponsored by the City of Suffolk gave citizens the opportunity to present ideas and expectations, past and present. To find a summary, go to Suffolk2045.org and search “Preliminary Results, Winter 2023 Community Engagement.”

Email newsletter signup

The second set of words I’ve got in mind is that Suffolk must “progress or stagnate.” Could there be the proverbial two-edged sword in those words? No progress — stagnate. Progress too quickly and have the possibility of lowering citizens’ standard of living and quality of life.  The opinion piece of the Oct. 26, 2022 Suffolk Herald recognized the “collective funk of Suffolk’s citizenry” brought on by the City Council’s “fateful, less-than-unanimous decision to bless a mammoth warehouse complex.” Suffolk’s vibrant and progressive Agriculture will keep the City from becoming stagnant. 

Suffolk’s citizens aspire to “smart growth,” the third set of words in my head. CARE4Suffolk is a group of Suffolk residents who believe in smart growth. Their focus is on opposing rezoning that allows developers to build houses and other structures where adequate infrastructure does not exist, that impinge on natural resources, wetlands and farm land, not giving value to our agriculture community.  Visit the CARE4Suffolk.org. website.

Participants at a recent Planning Commission meeting sported smart growth tags to send a realtor and developer’s message that building expensive, modern homes benefit Suffolk’s citizens and community. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, “What may be good for the goose may not be good for the gander.” Expensive new homes have increased the assessed value of existing homes causing hardship for residents.  My real estate assessment  for FY 2022-2023 increased by 32.5%. That’s correct, by 32.5% with no chance of dividing that over two or three years.

City representatives are elected to serve its citizens. Contact them and express your concerns, ideas and opinions.

Ed Kapinus