Chesterton Tribune

Developers build, damage and then move on

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Voice of the People

Patrick Moody’s letter to Voice of the People is quite good and deserves serious consideration. He enumerates an alarming number of reasons why the town of Chesterton should seriously resist the lure of the “Big Box.” Without going into detail (he does it masterfully enough, and his letter in Nov. 20’s paper should be carefully read by all), he highlights:

Sprawl, created intentionally for personal gain; Decentralization of the business and commercial districts; Devaluation of downtown properties that still must be maintained by taxes; Weakening of Wal-Mart’s (or any Big Box’s) consumer pool; Serious damage to environmental infrastructure; Increased tax burden by encroachment into other taxing units; as well as other points of demanding interest.

His letter is very much worth reading.

It has been said that this is a logical location for business and commercial development. In an ideal world, it is true that certain configurations of traffic patterns and the provision of desirable services will drive an economy; however, most commonly that happens soon afterwards. The Indiana Toll Road has intersected SR 49 for over 50 years; ByPass 49 improved that configuration, and added another one, over thirty years ago; but in the meantime, the area has only drawn one store and a cellular tower on its south confluence. There has, however, been some relatively successful agricultural activity.

Land sold desperately cheap, infused with easements that are troubling to surface development, and topologically inferior for large volume retail and residential use is always going to appeal only to those who build and move on. The true value of any development can only be realized after the damage is done - not predicted.

Tim Cole


Posted 11/23/2007