I want to address several issues that are crucial to Warren County’s future.
First, I want to clarify that the complaint I filed in federal court is against the county of Warren because of the current “Warren County Ordinance for the Regulation of Sound Crossing Real Property Boundaries Including High Impact Land Uses & Polluting Industries.” Commissioner Tare Davis is named in the complaint only in his capacity as chairperson of the Warren County Board of Commissioners.
Next, I want to address issues related to the proposed mulch-grinding industry. Commissioners are putting the cart before the horse when they plan to allocate $115,000 in grant application money and $40,000 for a waterline extension for the mulch-grinding industry before public forums are held where citizens can learn about the arguments for and against such a high impact industry. The public has the right to know about intrinsic noise pollution and the dangers of potential contaminants from mulch-grinding, which grinds trees and pallets, as well as construction timber and utility poles which are made from chemically-treated materials such as arsenic, chromium, and copper arsenate and thus creating hazardous wastewater and waste.
Finally, commissioners must not schedule a public hearing on Nov. 4 to amend the county’s Zoning Ordinance with “revisions in the language and text that would accommodate possible development of commercial property to include both commercial and residential uses (mixed uses).” Before any action is finalized at a public hearing, citizens must be informed at an open public forum addressing the proposed revisions.
Concerning economic development that involves high impact land use, commissioners must listen as they have in the past. In 1992, when commissioners were about to finalize a deal to build a 1,600-acre regional landfill, citizens called for public hearings. Chairperson Clayton listened, scheduled three public hearings, and as opposition mounted, at the second hearing, commissioners voted to withdraw as landfill “host,” and our county did not become a regional and East Coast dumping grounds.
Warren County citizens recently pressed commissioners to pass countywide zoning in order to better protect the county. Going forward, to support high impact land use and zoning changes that will affect people and their properties without their knowledge of these decisions is to take Warren County down a road of economic development based on lack of public input, dismissal of the public’s right to know, and that endangers our county’s prospects for a healthy and prosperous future. We are calling for a moratorium on all new high impact land use.