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  • Writer's pictureCraig Richards

Three Cheers for the Joint Land Use Board

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The purpose for any government entity is to enhance the quality of life for the residents they serve, hence the term public servant. It is frustrating for people to watch those same “servants” tend to make decisions based solely on economic or personal reasoning. It is refreshing to encounter public servants serving their public. My experience has not always allowed me the opportunity to see those in positions of authority and responsibility committed to the people they serve.


Most recently in Petersburg, Va., a similar board designed to protect the citizenry as they advanced economic development opted to approve a massive 186 bay warehouse expansion in a residential community. Not only did the seven-seat board unanimously approve it, but they also changed the zoning laws to allow commercial development in a historically agricultural area.


Many homeowners, renters, business owners, and even Chamber representatives opposed the project both at the board meeting and the council meeting. Those objections fell on deaf ears. Despite considerable arguments including quality of life and even safety issues due to increased traffic patterns, and many more complexities of a warehousing complex in their backyard, the Petersburg Planning Commission and ultimately the city council approved the project without hesitation.


But Hammonton is quite a different animal. Last week’s paper reported on the Harbor Freight Tools facility as discussed in the Planning Board meeting. Unlike their Virginian public servant counterparts, our board put the concerns of the residents ahead of the desires of a company. Hurrah!


The concern over a singular truck and its affect on residents after hours was a refreshing twist, seeing public servants serve their public. It should never be taken for granted that such attention to the people is the norm for any elected or appointed official. The real concern for their fellow friends and neighbors by those in positions of service such as the Planning Board is commendable and deserves recognition.


So, three cheers for the Joint Land Use Board. Well done.


Craig Richards

Hammonton Gazette


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