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Caution on Mill Race

We commend county planners and supervisors in Cumberland for proceeding with caution at a slow pace regarding the proposed Mill Race subdivision, which would encompass about 67 acres on property once planned for a landfill operation.

Commissioners discussed the proposed rezoning and conditional use permit request during its Aug. 28 meeting.

During the meeting, planners expressed concerns about the consequences of rezoning a property from an industrial purpose to an agricultural purpose and potential conflicts with the county’s Comprehensive Plan.

John Godsey — the applicant — is requesting rezoning of the property from M-2, a General Industrial District, to A-2, an Agricultural District, using a conditional use permit.

Just as District Three Representative and Commission Chairman Dr. William Burger pointed out during the commission’s meeting, rezoning the property could mean less space for a potential business to locate in the county.

As we’ve said in the past, the biggest need Cumberland has right now is to grow its tax base by adding more decent-paying jobs. Eliminating a zoning designation that could make it easier for businesses to locate in the county could deter them from coming at all.

“If we were to rezone this, this would be the first time that I can think of that we would be taking a piece of property … for manufacture and (moving) it back to agriculture,” Burger said. “We would actually be losing a piece of property that’s zoned for business.”

We commend Godsey for requesting a 90-day deferral from the original deadline of Nov. 9 for the county’s decision on the subdivision application, meaning planners have until the last meeting of the year to make a decision, in order to give the board of supervisors time to consider the proposal and hold a public hearing prior to February, the new deadline.