Guest Editorial |

Guest Editorial

Jeffrey E. Gillette, Midway I have spent the last 30 plus days working out of state, only to come home to a tale of a hydroponic and aqua-farm project that appeared to come out of nowhere in the town of Midway. My initial reaction was "not in our town,"
  • Is this decision following the appropriate procedure and in conformance with state and city law?
  • What is the background of this company, and who is funding this project?
  • Do any local residents have a vested interest in this project other than the owners of the property?
  • Has this company actually operated this type of facility with financial success in the past, which can be documented?
  • Has a pro forma on this business concept been submitted, and do they have funding?
  • When did this project come to the attention of our town leaders, and why are our leaders trying to steamroll this through without public scrutiny
  • Is there a conflict of interest with our city leaders at the highest level?
  • What environmental impact studies have been performed on ground and surface water, waste water, wildlife, traffic, noise and light pollution (wow, 330,000 plus square feet of greenhouse could make for a great prism)?
  • What is the time line and dollar thresholds or other conditions to execute expansion?
  • What is the type of employee by percentage and when (management, laborer, etc.), and where will they be housed?
  • What will be the local tax contribution, of this business, at every $1MM of revenue?
  • Will the town mandate that this project reserve financial resources/bonds to restore this property to a natural setting in the event this project fails?

    This now raises another concern, which is how does this program fit into our town’s long-term planning strategy regarding the commercial and agricultural use of property. I am also concerned that the proposed use of this property may be out of scope with the original intended/permitted use, and there is an appearance that the town leaders are trying to sweep this under the carpet, and did not want the residents to know what was going on.

    I must also ask if our town fathers have considered alternative methods of securing our town’s charm, a home for our winter grazing elk, and establishing open land trust. Public/nonprofit alternatives could also be created for investors to receive tax credits for their investment, and it would secure the beauty and charm of Midway.

    Well, there you have it; I have lots of questions, but very few answers. With this said, I feel it would be very prudent for our town leaders to take the high road, above legal minimum requirements, provide the information needed to allow members of our community to make intelligent decisions, and support or not support this project.

    The future will tell the character of our town leaders by how these events unfold, the manner in which our town leaders honor their stewardships, and what ultimately happens.

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