Letter – Rountree back to true form

Published 7:07 pm Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

In January when Renee Rountree left the Smithfield Town Council and joined the Board of Supervisors, her first order of business before the first week ended was to recommend a “growth task force.” 

She appropriately cited concern with the current number of housing units already approved in the county yet to be built: “Jointly we have residential projects currently on the books, some dating back to more than a decade. They represent more than 3,000 housing units.” She called for a moratorium on approving any new developments.

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Part of her reasoning was that “we are fortunate that our past growth has been to the benefit of our citizens, however, if our county and town governing bodies are truly interested in managing the inevitable growth to come we need a comprehensive and managed growth strategy before moving forward.”

A “managed growth strategy.” What a novel idea! I wasn’t sure where this new, enlightened perspective came from, but I was delighted with this change of direction; heretofore, Ms. Rountree hadn’t met a developer she didn’t like. 

Too bad this revelation that Ms. Rountree had only lasted for a hot minute. On Thursday, May 16, she made the motion to approve 615 residential units behind the Sherwin Williams, the “Sweetgrass” development. I guess when she discovered a moratorium on approving new developments is illegal, she discarded the silly idea of managed growth and went back to her old ways of approving any development in front of her.

I don’t need to tell anyone how bad our traffic is or how overcrowded our schools are. I don’t know what compelled Supervisors William McCarty, Rudolph Jefferson and Rountree to approve this after the Planning Commission recommended denial. I just know that this toothpaste isn’t going back in the tube. The public needs to pay attention and remember the voting records of our “representatives.”


Angela Cusick