In recent weeks you, our county commissioners, have been inundated by information on why you should not rezone the some 1,000 acres on the west side of Highway 21 south just inside of the Chatham County line. The folks bringing their pleas to you asking that you do not rezone this property are passionate about their position. They are doing what every American citizen has the right to do, speak their mind.
It’s now time to listen to citizens on the other side of the argument. Citizens who are not the owners, the real estate agents, the developers, etc., but just the everyday, tax-paying citizens.
To many of us, the tax-paying citizens, it’s a “no-brainer” — yes, it not only should be rezoned, it must be rezoned.
Why? It’s not rocket science to know that the county must have commercial and industrial development to provide a solid tax base. “Rooftops” as houses are referred to in the vernacular cannot support the county’s financial needs to provide services to citizens.
The reasoning is simple — acreage on which there is commercial and industrial development carry a much higher tax evaluation than those occupied by houses. Houses require a higher level of services from the county, they increase the school population and push up the tax payers cost of education. The current tax millage is 56 percent dedicated to schools. It is expensive to educate children.
When one weighs the cost of services to individual houses in such a large parcel with that which will be required by commercial and industrial sites we see another huge savings for the taxpayers. Such a large housing development would also probably require the construction of an additional school.
While I do not wish to argue all of the points against the rezoning made by those opposed to this rezoning, I have read some of their material. My comment is that much of their reasoning, as published and depicted to notebooks they have put together, makes one wonder about their research and applicability of points made to the current circumstances for this property.
A danger for school children? Hardly; the plan does not include factories belching smoke and other fumes. What will go in the warehouses — not toxic waste — our zoning ordinances will address that issue directly.
They state a need to have their property protected and their children protected from being hurt on the property. The plan calls for a 17-foot berm that will be landscaped to have plantings that will cover side and top and will add another 10 feet to the berm. There will be security fencing around each facility.
As for this being a danger to the children of Effingham, it appears that all the children and their parents will have to do is observe the privacy of adjoining property that will be essentially out of sight and not easily accessible with the plans for the berm.
The plans further call for all of the lighting to be directed down so that it will not light the adjoining areas and all truck traffic on the side of buildings next the berm and the neighbors will be directed to the other side of the building where all loading/unloading will take place.
It appears that the developers are going to satisfactory lengths to protect any neighboring property from sight, sound or disturbance from the warehouses/industry that may be placed there.
I do not know the population of the subdivision of homes and families so concerned. But say there are 50 houses there with the average of three and one-half persons per — that’s a total of 175 persons living there.
This is an issue that is of vital importance to the entire county and every citizen, there are now over 50,000 of the rest of us.
As commissioners you have been elected to represent Effingham County, the entire county. While you are elected by district there is an over riding responsibility to the whole. On an issue such as this, involving action that increases the level of taxes for a large tract of land, the benefit of the whole must take precedence.
We understand citizens need to voice their “not in my backyard” feelings, but we disagree with their position. Without substantial evidence of real danger to the community, as a whole, as the caretakers of the county you must vote “yes” to this issue of rezoning, it offers a real and substantial benefit for all citizens of Effingham County.