Braving the Storm for I35 Community Discussion

Griff Wigley, blogger, Braving the Elements

The League of Women Voters held a loosely moderated discussion about the I35 corridor development last night at the Northfield Public Library. The development is the result of a controversial rezoning of 1,046 acres along the West side of Interstate 35 that was carried out in a controversial manner under the lead of Rice County Commissioner Jim Brown. About 25 residents and public officials from throughout Rice County braved the weather to participate in the discussion (including one County Commissioner: Jessica Peterson), though no proponents of the development chose to attend.The rezoning, which was passed in December of 2004 -- before the current slate of Commissioners were seated, does not go into effect until the end of this year or until a

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That's Abraham, Loren Abraham. His web site's not working, but his boat's for sale (link on my blog).

"The fact that Anderson suggested the costs would likely be higher than current official projections led people to question where this money would come from. One worry was that the costs would be shifted to residents, thus negating any economic benefit that might be gained from the development." Not quite right, it isn't that they are higher, it's that there ARE costs that causes people to ask who will pay. Taxpayers get stuck with infrastructure in cases like this, Owatonna for Cabela's for example. That's not right. At what cost do we forever alter the character of an area, and for $7/hr jobs? The entire balance of costs and benefits must be addressed. And we need to know who and what is driving this -- let's get it out into the open.

Oops! Thanks for the name correction. I have corrected the post.

The fact that no proponents of the rezoning were there is a bad sign. By the way, in Dundas we are trying to do it right, and one buzz-phrase we are learning to keep in mind is "impact fees". The real hard part though, is quality of life, which trascends simple money concerns. All other things being equal (and they never are), I'd prefer to see heavy trucking transshipment points at I-35 rather than in downtown or even peripheral Dundas or Northfield, but commercial and shopping, I'm not so sure.

"The fact that no proponents of the rezoning were there is a bad sign." True, Bruce. Where are the proponents of this development? That notable absense is also how it is at the public hearings, which is why it begs the question, "Who is promoting this" and "Who will be benefitting from it?"

At the County Planning Commission hearing about adopting the Master Plan, after hearing the many many clear and specific comments against it, the Chair asked for a Motion, and there was utter SILENCE. Well, I had to snort! NO ONE wanted to take that responsibility and make that Motion! Hmmmmm... yet ultimately it was made -- filling in the awkward silence, the Chair made the Motion (do they follow Robert's Rules?) and it was passed unanimously. UNANIMOUSLY, even when no one wanted to put their name on that Motion.

Where are the proponents? Keep looking!