Letter: Pork plant vote skirts legislative process
I am appalled at how the folks that have used, know and understand the zoning process are now trying to ignore it and make the whole process irrelevant for their personal benefit.
Of course, I am talking about the Wholestone Foods project on the November 8th ballot Having served on the Minnehaha Planning and Zoning Board for 10 years (3 years as Chair), I’ve personally been to over 100 Planning and Zoning Board meetings and thought I had seen it all. I’ve seen lawyers try to intimidate folks by attempting to swear them in. I saw commissioners lectured with bible verses and blatant misrepresentations were used to sway a decision.
But I also witnessed a process that was always open to public input. A process that analyzed our county’s current situation and was always updating our comprehensive plan to reflect growth and change. We focused on putting the right people, businesses and industry in the most strategic and sensible places. Again, this process was always open for public input. Our recommendations went to the Minnehaha County Commission for final approval. They, too, would hold public hearings to ensure transparency and were always open for input before the final vote of approval.
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The Planning and Zoning Board, Staff and the County Commissioners would then have a strategic plan that reflected the future growth of Sioux Falls. It provided the Board and Commission members with a guide to use that made the application process simple, transparent, collaborative and ensured decisions were made on predetermined merit, not emotion. The city of Sioux Falls went through the same process and any issue that was within three miles of city limits was decided by a vote from both the County and City.
Now, the opposition to Wholestone is disregarding the process and are bringing the issue to a public vote. If the process is that irrelevant, why have these boards and commissions? Why have a Legislature? Why have school Boards? Why not have a public vote on every issue? We could designate every Tuesday as “Decision Day”. Which street gets fixed? Who should the city and county buy their gas and fuel from? Which housing project gets the approval to move forward and where should it be? Got an issue with your neighbors? Put it up to a public vote.
Of course this is ridiculous on so many levels.
So, please say NO to those that are trying to manipulate the process after the fact. They had their chance to influence the process at its origin and chose not to. They didn’t care. The process is not the problem.
I ask you to respect the process and vote NO.
Wait. You think this process has been "open"? If that were the case, you wouldn't have to worry about a public vote. Residents would be aware of it and would have shown their support already. But the public is just now learning about all of this and they are very likely to reject what you claim is an "open" process.
How could Wholestone, or anyone, think that this would be welcome news to citizens?Another giant slaughterhouse in city limits? Of course there would be objections. I think they did know, so they kept it as quiet as possible.
Now, the public will have the final say. Apparently, you think that decision should be yours.