Why not consult neighbors first?
To the editor:
As residents of Walton Lake, we are deeply concerned about the location of the large-scale industrial facility Heartland Co-op is building so close to our homes. We understand that there are other locations that have been looked at that could also serve Heartland’s needs and the needs of area farmers. We support the well-being and prosperity of our local farmers, but are opposed to the facility being built so unnecessarily close to the city.
1. Heartland Co-op’s property taxes will go exclusively towards paving Osage and Nutmeg which is primarily for Heartland’s benefit and will take 25 years to pay off. (Refer to AHEAD-iowa.org for details). Who will pay for upkeep on the other county roads impacted by the massive amount of truck traffic? And then there is the railway bridge on Nutmeg – it’s unsafe for the semi-truck traffic projected to use the underpass, and BNSF has no plans to pay for upgrades. Who will pay for this?
2. The quiet enjoyment of our homes, and the significant investments we have made into living on Walton Lake is likely to be seriously compromised by:
• Airborne grain dust - 28.5 tons of particulate matter yearly (Heartland Co-op’s estimate) affecting the quality of our air and health. (Refer to globegazette.com ‘AgVantage accused of being a poor neighbor’ for the deleterious health experiences of Chapin residents.)
• Noise from the grain drying process running 24/7 during harvest, made worse when magnified over the lake.
• Scarring of our lovely lake view; even at night as the complex will certainly be lit up when in use.
3. Fairfield residents have been actively involved in formulating a plan for Fairfield’s future. The Green Strategic Plan covers conservation, local farms and food, alternative transportation, recreation areas, etc. A compromised quality of life from the Heartland complex could make living and growing businesses here less enticing, and may undermine Fairfield’s growth.
4. The Heartland Co-op representative at the April 21 Jefferson County supervisors meeting said his company was committed to being good a neighbor. Here are just two indications that this is not the case:
• In choosing this site Heartland Co-op did not consult with the citizens of Fairfield, especially those living close to the site who will be massively impacted by this development. Is this right? Neighborly behavior for us, as individual taxpayers, means we often have to check with our neighbors to see if they object to our building plans.
• Heartland Co-op has not considered how their facility might put to waste decades of planning and investment that Fairfield residents have put into progressing our city.
5. There is the risk that the facility will one day expand into other industries, such as an ethanol or fertilizer plant, with consequent larger negative impacts on our community.
Those of us residing close to this facility, will suffer the above outlined impacts more keenly; surely a more suitable location can be found for the project with less impact on taxpayer dollars and local residents.
–Walton area residents/owners:
Jerrie Evans Noyes