Letter to the Editor,
So now what? Last night was the final vote by the City Council of Edgerton, Ks to rezone the land between Gardner Rd and Moonlight Rd. A land mass of over 600 acres. The City Council voted to rezone the land that has always been zoned rural residential to industrial. This vote cleared the way for NorthPoint to cover all of the rezoned land in concrete.
While sitting outside the building in Edgerton, I noticed signage on every corner that indicated NO Trucks. However, in this small city with one intersection, a mammoth truck hauling a bulldozer turned the corner and snaked along trying to avoid curbs and parked cars. It wasn’t the only one, other semis also made their way through this narrow intersection. Although the police were present, no attempt was made to enforce the NO Truck signs. As I sat there, quietly waiting for the doors to open for the meeting, others arrived some like myself opposed to the rezoning took their place in line, but also, many others who were overheard saying they didn’t know Edgerton existed and were wondering what the Bank of Knowledge, the library across the street, was. More of these people arrived.
As NorthPoint executives arrived it was evident that they knew these people. They were friendly and conversed with them. These people began to press past us toward the door of the building. When they opened the door a NorthPoint executive stood in front of the door blocking us out so the people with them could enter. The people with NorthPoint took up most of the seats with only a few left for the people opposing the rezoning, causing those opposing to retreat to the Bank of Knowledge, the library, or go home. I’m not sure why the NorthPoint executives where hovering at the door, they had many reserved seats and a city official making sure they had everything they needed.
So now what? The city council voted to rezone the land. One councilman said that farmers wanted to sell their land to NorthPoint, another said that property owners, in proximity to the property owned by NorthPoint, had no right to say what could be built there. The way has been cleared for NorthPoint to build warehouses 7.8 miles, 17 minutes away from LPKC.
Now that the land has been rezoned , NorthPoint can proceed to build the warehouses. They will lease or sell them to companies like Amazon. If we, their neighbors, have a concern we will be referred to a management company in some other state. From listening to their responses to our concerns before the rezoning, it is evident that NorthPoint will take no responsibility, nor will the City of Edgerton, Johnson County or the state of Kansas. So now it seems that we, the property owners in proximity to the rezoned land, are collateral damage.
Once the warehouses have been built, who will be held accountable when people in our community and surrounding communities are killed on the roads by semis too massive for the roads? Who will be held accountable when our children are kidnapped, we are robbed, murdered or rapped by people or truck drivers passing through, who see an opportunity and have ill intent? Who will be held accountable when our water supply is tainted by runoff from the warehouses and our land is flooded? Who will be held accountable when Hillsdale Lake is polluted?
Once the warehouses have been built and all interested parties have received their Payday, there will be no one to hold accountable. It will be like appealing to a circular firing squad. Concerns or complaints regarding the warehouses or intrusive semi truck traffic or other crimes will be deferred to the City of Edgerton who will defer to Johnson County who will defer to the state of Kansas who will defer back to the warehouse management with no resolution of the concern or complaint.
In 5,10,15, 20 years when the tax incentives expire and the warehouse buildings are no longer desirable, we will be left with the eyesore of empty deteriorating warehouses. The companies that occupy the warehouses will move on to a new city with new buildings and new tax incentives. We have all seen this happen in other cities. There will be nothing that the surrounding property owners/community can do. Our beautiful community, an area comparable to what some people go on vacation to experience, the Jewel of Johnson County/Miami County, will be decimated.
President Lincoln, in his Gettysburg Address, said that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the earth. Maybe it has, because now it seems our government is of the money, by the money and for the money.