Zoning should be independent
My feeling is that the rezoning request should be independent of the individual or corporation requesting it. The city officials responsible for zoning should be making these decisions based on an overarching plan that brings the vitality, spirit and culture that we are seeking to achieve as a community.
We should not change the zoning based on "who" is asking, but base it on the pros and cons of the zoning itself. Perhaps there are too many subcategories of zoning to choose from. The current zoning for this specific property seems tailored to who owns it and not to what the city needs or wants.
My first concern is once one concession is made then what’s the next? Promoters like to talk big, that’s what they do. I recall other times when the promoter didn’t want to name names and expected the rest of us to just go along. I didn’t then. I don’t now. We don’t need another NN Inc. disaster.
While I place my faith in the city to do the right thing, I am always leery of businesses who think of themselves or their plans as life or death. We should remember, 10 years down the road, if all this fuss was worth it.
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County spiked Sevier Center
The County Commission blocked the JCDA's plan for the renovation and re-purpose of the John Sevier building. When the vote had been delayed, I assumed that due diligence was being done. Upon further review, it appears that the matter has been seized upon as a political football. From what I have learned, the vote was pretty much along city/county lines, with the commissioners representing the city being in favor and those representing the county being opposed.
Robert Houk's article of Feb. 25 contains some quotes from some who voted against the proposal, but, for the life of me, I cannot understand the reasoning. Is there any?
I am strongly opposed to wasteful spending. Is that what the opponents think this is? It is not that at all. In the interest of informing the public, I suggest the citizens of both the county and city, avail themselves of the guest commentary of Dec. 16, 2018, by Craig Torbett, which shows the real revenue gains connected to the TIF district. It can be accessed online.
It is time for the commissioners to put on their big-boy and big-girl pants and proceed in the best interests of all the taxpayers. Get this back on the March agenda and approve it.
Rockslides caused by climate change
It is difficult to assign blame for one weather event to climate change, but predictions from those who study climate include an increase in heavy precipitation. For every 1 degree of warming, 4 percent more water vapor is held in the atmosphere. When this additional water vapor condenses into precipitation, it leads to heavier rain. For the last five months, it has rained more days that it has not. For the last four months it has rained at least 4 inches per month, nearly double what is normal. Just for February we have had more than 8 inches of rain.
All this rain has saturated the ground and caused flooding, mudslides, and rock slides; threatening businesses, homes, and lives. The extra holding capacity in the atmosphere can also cause droughts in some years such as the one that led to the tinderbox conditions a few years ago. Heavy rain one year and not enough the next also makes the job of farming more difficult.
As disheartening as the threat of climate change is; there is a political solution. A bill was recently introduced in Congress that would put a price on greenhouse gases that are causing atmospheric warming. The bipartisan Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act (HR. 763), if enacted, would reduce American emissions by at least 40 percent in the first 12 years. It is also revenue neutral in that 100 percent of the fee collected would be returned to all citizens on a per-capita basis. We need to ask Representative Phil Roe to support HR. 763 and for Senator Lamar Alexander to support the Senate version once it is reintroduced for a healthy, stable, and prosperous America.