A key element for Southfields is the PUD Zoning Ordinance as it establishes the rules for development and defines the permissible uses. On Oct. 2, the Mayor and Town Commissioners voted favorably on Ordinance 5-2019, effectively establishing the PUD Zoning Ordinance in 20 days.
Any ordinance should be developed in an independent manner so that it protects the rights and interests of the population it serves. It should also present a fair and impartial set of rules for any project and be applicable without bias toward any commercial interest.
I have been to the meetings, asked questions, made objective comments, offered alternatives, and watched the process. I am left with the conclusion that the PUD Zoning Ordinance has been created with a bias towards Southfields.
Representatives of Southfields have been involved with shaping the language of the proposed Ordinance through numerous requests and comments. This is illustrated by their specific request to include element 10.210, “storage within completely enclosed structures (warehousing)”, as a permitted PUD use in Article X, Section 7. It is the key to their warehousing jobs concept. This request came after the Planning Commission meeting on Sept. 16. As a result, the Planning Commission was denied the opportunity to discuss and vote on the request. Southfields request should have been denied at the Oct. 2 meeting and referred back to the Planning Commission for proper consideration given the significant impact on the community.
The Town should amend their Oct. 2 vote to exclude element 10.210 from consideration. There is still time to do the right thing for our community.
Removing element 10.210 does not end the Southfields project. It shapes the PUD ordinance to protect the residents of the area. It also presents an opportunity for the Town leadership to help shape Southfields by specifying professional sector jobs with better pay. Do not settle for what the developer offers. Set the standard. That is a legacy to be proud of.
Previously, Mayor Alt said that Southfields is a legacy project. This is true. It started with the PUD Zoning Ordinance and Southfields representatives attempts to shape it. The first step in this legacy was on Oct. 2 when the Town effectively voted in favor of Southfields and their dollars. In my view, it is an ordinance biased in favor of Southfields, not a good foundation on which to build a legacy.