Letter to the Editor

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the comments made at the Feb. 9 Edgerton Planning Commission meeting.

Addressing the residents of the area being considered for rezoning, Mr. Robinson stated that NorthPoint is only building these warehouses in response to demand from its clients. He expressed that AMAZON has ordered several million square feet of warehouses to be developed on the proposed land and asked “how many of you buy things from AMAZON?” He went on to say that it is our fault that NorthPoint is looking to destroy our neighborhood by constructing warehouses among homes.

He continued to argue in favor of the rezoning saying that because the residents are all likely customers of AMAZON, they shouldn’t object to the large-scale construction of AMAZON warehouses in their backyards. Keep in mind, Mr. Robinson had just listened to residents express their concern for the safety of their families and to their way of life. Many residents also provided evidence of how the construction of the AMAZON warehouses would destroy the value of their homes leaving them to choose between financial ruin and living in an industrial park.

So according to NorthPoint, AMAZON customers should be willing to forfeit their families’ safety, their way of life and their home value in exchange for enjoying the benefits of being an AMAZON customer. I guess that Prime membership is far more costly than advertised.

Mr. Robinson went further with this argument saying the same was true of Walmart (Jet.com) and UPS, saying you all shop at Walmart and get package deliveries from UPS so why are you objecting to warehouses being constructed among the homes in your neighborhood?

I guess the hidden cost of the convenience of ordering online is living with giant warehouses in our backyard and having our children’s lives endangered by hundreds of trucks running up and down our narrow two-lane roads. I guess we have to take NorthPoint’s suggestion and quit ordering so much from AMAZON and WALMART. I guess I should read those service agreements more closely instead of just checking the box marked “I Agree.”

The reason that the industrial park is expanding east across Gardner Road is that they don’t want to spend the money to improve the intersection of 199th Street and 56 Highway. They made the decision that it would be cheaper to change their original plan of building north of Edgerton where there is far more open land and very few residents.

The Chairman of the Edgerton Planning Commission, John Daley, stated that it was not an option to go north because that would require a $100 million interchange to be constructed at 199th Street and 56 Highway. In my research of KDOT studies conducted in the area, I believe he’s referring to project C19 which KDOT estimates would cost around $26 million. Coincidentally, that cost is fairly close to the aggregate property value loss that would be borne by the families surrounding the proposed area to be rezoned.

I wonder what information Mr. Daley has that KDOT is not aware of that would lead him to estimate the project’s cost at nearly 400% higher. Maybe he was just trying to portray the cost of the project as being far above the projected loss of property value that would impact the residents.

Regardless of the cost, the residents surrounding the proposed area should not be compelled to subsidize NorthPoint, AMAZON, WALMART, or UPS with the value of their homes. If NorthPoint is not able to deliver on the promises that they’ve made to these companies without forcing their customers to forfeit their home value, then maybe they should re-evaluate their business model.

I understand that companies and online retailers need additional warehouse space to keep up with demand and that AMAZON is currently revolutionizing the way logistics is done, which is no small task. What I don’t understand is how anyone could think it is appropriate for the city of Edgerton and NorthPoint to hold themselves out to these retailers as being able to provide the warehouse space they require if they aren’t able to do so without requiring the customers of those companies to subsidize the cost with the largest asset their families have, their home.

NorthPoint is a business who sells a product, warehouses. They need to rethink their business model if they aren’t able to procure the materials needed to deliver that product without endangering the safety, community and financial wellbeing of the people who patronize the companies they supply.

Can you imagine if all businesses asked the public to subsidize their production process? Most would quickly find themselves out of business. Unfortunately, in this case, NorthPoint is able to leverage the power of a city government, Edgerton, to make sure the public continues to provide subsidies whether they like it or not.

Dennis Koch

Spring Hill

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