Council ignored will of people

Published 5:49 pm Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

I attended and spoke at last week’s Smithfield Town Council meeting. The Town Council members voted 5-2 to thumb their noses at the people by approving the proposed Mallory Scott mega-development.

Let’s not forget that one member of the council is a developer, one owns a construction business, one is a Realtor and the overly vocal town attorney represents most developers at the county level. But these so-called leaders saw no ethical reason to recuse themselves from pushing their agenda or voting.

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Two members echoed the sentiments of Planning Commission member Dr. Thomas Pope by stating that they owed approval to the developer because he owns so much land in the town.  Apparently, we’ve reverted to a feudal state wherein a major landowner must be appeased.

The mayor talked nostalgically of the Smithfield of his younger days but cast his vote for his legacy to be the destruction of the historical and “quaint” town of Smithfield. He ended his speech by challenging the citizens to find someone to run against him if they didn’t like the way he ran things.

A TV reporter stated that a majority of the people were against the development, when the truth was that the developer, his team and five members of the Town Council were the only supporters in the standing-room-only crowd.

The Dillon Rule requires a developer asking for rezoning to prove how his plan will improve the quality of life for current residents. His only arguments were that we need urbanization, and that it might attract chain stores.

But urbanization leads to more traffic congestion, more stress on schools and emergency services, and more crime. More chain stores will lead to the demise of many locally owned businesses. How do these outcomes enhance our way of life?

Everyone who lives in this part of Isle of Wight will have his way of life irrevocably and negatively changed by this mega-development. This isn’t growth; it’s overgrowth such as we can find in any nearby city.


Richard Gillerlain