Although valid arguments could be made on both sides, the Ingalls Board of Zoning Appeals chose to listen to the community and vote against Newco Metals’ expansion project. The voice of the people should serve as a tie-breaker in government decisions.
When a business expands operations, economic gain for the community often follows. The owners of Newco said they planned to create 26 jobs with the expansion, which could have created more jobs for current and future generations if the business continued to prosper.
However, other factors — such as environmental hazards, property values and scenic views — should be considered. New jobs are great, but who wants an aluminum recycling plant in the backyard? Perhaps Newco’s intentions were good but it was just the wrong place and time.
Over 350 people showed up at Monday’s Zoning Appeals Board meeting to urge members to vote against the project. Many residents from neighboring communities added their voices to the resounding “No.”
Board members were also right to consider their concerns, although the board was under no obligation to do so. Municipal borders are lines drawn on a map, and those lines don’t confine the environmental and aesthetic concerns to one community.
It may very well be that the plant expansion would have provided revenue and created jobs for the town. But it wasn’t right for the people in Ingalls, and the interests of the people is what local governments should put first.