Here’s my thoughts on this whole thing. It’s your choice to ignore what I say, or to read it. Completely up to you.
Holding back the ocean with a broom. It’s a silly, old saying. It’s quite apt as a parable here however. Your words are the broom, the ocean is change, and Amazon is just the current wave in front of us. Like a broom and the ocean, there’s nothing that can be said to prevent the project. At this stage, even a lawsuit will only work to hinder progress.
However, before ground breaking, there were words said. When it mattered. Those who spoke up had many changes made to the plans. Honestly, these changes should had been implemented from the beginning by the designers. Some of the notable changes made to the plans is the addition of a high living barrier (dirt wall with plants), trailer parking and warehouse docks on the interstate side of the warehouse, and traffic restrictions for trucks entering and leaving the warehouse.
I joking commented earlier about wanting the area to be a pig farm. (I love bacon, ham, porkchops) The absolute stench a pig farm would produce would be terrible. However, until Amazon became interested in the area, there was a high potential for the land to be used for agricultural uses. Mind you, the city would not had allowed a pig farm there, I’m certain. But that being said, there are worse things which could exist there than a warehouse.
Yes, from my understanding, there was a sign placed on the property indicating the arrival of a Publix. However, I happen to know that Publix never had any solid plans of building at that location. Their interested waned greatly due to new housing “crash” – Their interest was based on the developing and growing area, which ceased for quite a while. Publix also has a long standing habit of pulling out of a project if their name is attached without their consent. This is doubly so if their interest in a parcel or building is not solid. The sign itself may have been enough for them to withdraw their considerations.
As far as traffic is concerned – there will be two types: commercial/delivery and employee. From my understanding, the commercial and truck traffic will be using an entrance much closer to interstate, but still on the main through-way. Employee traffic will be routed to the entrance at the end of the residential feeder. There may be the occasional vehicle at that intersection throughout the day, but most of the employee traffic will be during 3 or 4 times a day. Trucks will probably be leaving and entering at all hours. They’re actually not as loud as people think, and won’t be disturbing anyone’s sleep.
Consider for a moment that Publix had built a store and retail center at that area. This would cause a constant and continual flow of traffic for most of the day. Consumers entering and leaving at all hours of day. Trucks and delivery vehicles would still exist (albeit not at the same quantity) and there would be no traffic restrictions preventing residential roads from becoming a through-way for those shoppers. There’s the possibility of an alcohol serving restaurant, or even a bar existing at that strip mall. Now, there’s a high potential of drunk drivers on these roads, which lead to our communities. Roads where big trucks won’t be driving. Personally, I say that’s a win for the area. Employees won’t be driving inebriated.
Let’s talk about the economics real quick. The sale of the land, lots of taxes to the county and City. Yearly taxable income. 500 new jobs (say 10% are filled by transfers, that’s still 450) This has already resulted in another parcel being considered for commercial building – so yet more taxes, more employees. $15 per hour wages. Ok, so let’s consider the work those employees will be doing, and the conditions in which they’re doing it. Warehouse workers are the new coal miners, the new boilermakers, the new high-rise riveters and steel workers. It’s a job not for everyone. Extremely physically demanding. Very mentally draining. There’s going to be a lot of burn-outs who will look at less stressful positions, even if it means taking a pay cut. But in the mean time, those employees will be living and shopping in the area. They will be spending their money in our home. That’s more taxes, more little stores getting income. That’s the potential for /more/ little stores.
Housing and property valuations. This is a big concern for high end communities. I get that. It’s also quite true that the values of houses will drop slightly. With the amount of employees Amazon will have at this location, there are certain to be new homes in the area built. Older homes purchased. The area will grow. If these homes are high value family residences, that will ultimately bring the value of existing homes and neighborhoods up again. However, if these new constructions are allowed to be dozens upon dozens of low-end or starter homes – I can’t say the values will raise at all. Now, I’m not talking about new neighborhoods of high-end communities, but rather $250-$500k homes. So, it is with that concern that the residents in the area should concentrate. Ensuring that any new developments have stipulations of being mid-level communities. Not just for area housing valuations, but so they are actually affordable by those who will be working at Amazon, and thus will purchase them and live there.
If the area were to have been used for a retail center – Publix or not – it would drive a lower end push for housing in the area. Sub $200k homes. Starter homes. In a few years, they would be sold off to others. There’s no attachment, and thus those neighborhoods would quickly fall into less optimal aesthetics. With Amazon, there is a chance of new neighborhoods being valued higher – both financially and emotionally, and will be better taken care of… and add to the value of existing neighborhoods.
There will be new homes, new commercial, retail and industrial projects in the area. It’s not stoppable. Not unless someone purchases all of the surrounding land. It’s progress (like it or leave it) It is up to us, the stewards of our community, to help shape the direction this growth takes. There will always be things not in our control. There is still plenty which can be done however. We just need to pick the fights we have a chance to win. Having the new construction and businesses make concessions to ease the burden they will put on the area. To compromise on designs to increase the overall happiness of both parties. To help direct the City in area restrictions and code. But it must be done appropriately, at the times and places when it matters, and always with high moral, ethical and legal intentions.