LETTER: Comments on robotics land use change proposal

Cindy Meadows

I read the newspapers about the Walton County Board of County Commissioner's agendas and decisions.

In this case, I read about our vote against the Niceville Robotics building.

Recently, the BCC voted 3-2 against changing the land use on a property on west State Road 20 that Niceville High School wanted to use for a robotics lab.

To construct such a facility, the land use had to be changed to industrial.

Since the county doesn't have zoning, when land use is changed, it is not project specific.

In other words, when land is changed to industrial, all uses listed in that category could be placed on that land. That includes such uses as manufacturing, milling, and processing, and uses producing noxious fumes, noise, glare, and other incompatible by-products.

We can't condition land use changes so that a robotics lab would be the only approved use. The change would allow all uses industrial in perpetuity.

When the neighbors surrounding the proposed project objected to the change based on the fact that it would impact their homes and neighborhood, I listened.

I am always sensitive to how land uses impact our residents and residential neighborhoods. Industrial is not compatible with residential areas. I would vote against putting industrial next to any of your homes as well.

There are many good projects proposed but that is not part of the criteria used to justify changing land use.

As I said, this is a great project, but in another location that won't impact neighbors.

If we had zoning, it would be much easier to review developments because zoning provides sub categories of uses that can be approved — with conditions. These conditions can allow uses with specific conditions that mitigate impacts to surrounding areas.

The BCC voted several months ago to request zoning be added to our codes.

We will see if this happens.

Cindy Meadows