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items tagged with agriculture

Choosing Finance Over Farms: Scott County Chases Industry at the Expense of Agriculture
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: News/Features

Category: Feature Stories

2016-04-14 11:02:35

Orascom's Lee County facility

On April 7, three of the five Scott County Supervisors – Carol Earnhardt, Jim Hancock, and Tom Sunderbruch – approved a stunningly short-sighted change to the Scott County Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) that allows for spot zoning anywhere in the county’s unincorporated areas. Supervisors Diane Holst and Brinson Kinzer respected the community-at-large’s wishes and voted against the change in the spirit of true representation.

The county’s current Agricultural Preservation Zoning District prevents spot zoning – developments that don’t conform to the surrounding land use – on any agriculture property outside city limits. But the three supervisors provided the necessary votes to begin the approval process for a new zoning designation called an Industrial Floating Zone (IFZ) to skirt that protection. April 7’s vote was the first of three readings over the next four weeks that will change the CLUP to allow the county and Quad Cities First – the economic-development arm of the Quad Cities Chamber – to market prime farmland for a “megasite” (1,000 acres or more) to potential industrial operators.

The Iowa Economic Development Authority established 17 regional marketing groups – including Quad Cities First – to help attract industrial development to Iowa, and it’s offering marketing grants of up to $50,000 per project. The fund expires in November, so the pressure is on to get the IFZ passed before that deadline. (See RCReader.com/y/ifz1.)

The Greater Davenport Redevelopment Corporation – a partnership of Scott County, the City of Davenport, the Quad Cities Chamber, and MidAmerican Energy – owns and operates the Eastern Iowa Industrial Park, but it’s running out of sites to market, and none is large enough to qualify as a megasite. Ergo the Industrial Floating Zone, which by circumventing current protections for prime farmland will open up the entire unincorporated county to potential industrial development.

And this is precisely what makes the Industrial Floating Zone so egregious. Most counties and municipalities allocate specific acres of property for site certification as a megasite. Certification criteria demand that qualifying properties have infrastructure already in place. With the IFZ, this is not the case. It’s all up for negotiation, and no surrounding properties are protected from the intrusion, leaving an entire rural community economically insecure going forward. And county residents can bank on their tax dollars paying for necessary infrastructure as part of the incentives used to entice an industrial operation here.


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Industrial Spot Zoning Would Carry a Hefty Price Tag for Scott County
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Commentary/Politics

Category: Editorials

2016-03-16 14:36:50

Every now and then, an issue arises locally that poses a real threat to our natural resources and subsequent standard of living. This time it is in the form of an amendment to Scott County’s Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) that currently protects our most precious asset – the richest soil in the world.

Residents will have an opportunity to be heard on this matter during a public hearing scheduled for 5 p.m. on Thursday, March 24, in the Scott County board room on the first floor of the Scott County Administration Building at 600 West Fourth Street in Davenport.

The amendment, called an “Industrial Floating Zone” and recommended by the county Planning & Zoning (P&Z) Commission, would permit spot zoning for large-scale industrial operations anywhere in the unincorporated areas of Scott County (outside city limits). At a July 2013 meeting, the Planning & Zoning Commission was told by Planning & Development Director Tim Huey that the Board of Supervisors was interested in reviewing and updating the CLUP to better reflect the county’s strategic-plan goals – with a focus on language for commercial and industrial zoning to further economic-development objectives. This was in response to losing the $1.4-billion Orascom fertilizer plant to Lee County because of the Agricultural Preservation Zoning District that protects ag land and prevented this industrial intrusion into dedicated farmland.


Read More About Industrial Spot Zoning Would Carry A Hefty Price Tag For Scott County...


Ted Rall: A Petroleum-Based Diet
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Lifestyle

Category: Ted Rall

2013-01-14 11:08:08



Ted Rall: Radioactivity Is Organic
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Lifestyle

Category: Ted Rall

2012-12-03 11:57:16



Ted Rall: Corn-Price Skeptics
Written By: Jeff Ignatius
Section: Lifestyle

Category: Ted Rall

2012-04-30 12:14:24






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