Development news not always good

Posted 3/11/21

During all the grim economic news of 2020, it appeared last December that Spanish Fort might be getting a Christmas present in the upcoming year.

Company representatives of the giant distributor …

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Development news not always good

Posted

During all the grim economic news of 2020, it appeared last December that Spanish Fort might be getting a Christmas present in the upcoming year.

Company representatives of the giant distributor Amazon were proposing to build a distribution facility that would provide about 115 jobs on the Eastern Shore. The center was expected to open on Bass Pro Drive in 2022.

On Monday, Amazon announced that it had changed its plans. The company is looking at other sites. Not all the details are known yet. The news surprised residents and officials. The Planning Commission had been scheduled to meet later Monday to rezone the site of the proposed center.

People are asking what happened.

Mayor Mike McMillan said the company indicated that it was looking for property where a larger operation than first planned could operate. The parcel, less than 3 acres in size, cannot accommodate the new proposal for a 1 million square foot center.

Amazon’s statement did not cite any fault with efforts by the city. McMillan said the company appeared to be pleased with the cooperation by Spanish Fort.

The City Council voted March 1 to change one business zoning category to allow the type of warehouse operation proposed by Amazon.

Baldwin County has been growing at a rapid pace for decades. It can be easy to assume that economic news will always be good. Things do not always work out, however.

News isn’t always good. Spanish Fort has had to deal with other challenges in recent months, such as the closing of the community’s post office.

The news that Amazon had changed its mind was disappointing. When bad news arrives, it’s important to consider what could have been done and where to go next.

Some City Council members had expressed concerns about the site’s proximity to nearby residential areas. Noise and traffic in the early morning were among the concerns discussed. The area had been planned as a retail site. That might be a more appropriate use than a warehouse and distribution center.

The public doesn’t know all the details of Amazon’s decision. They do know that losing a business with a potential for more than 100 jobs is disappointing.

Officials and residents, however, need to consider all the potential pros and cons of development.

In the end, the final question is what is best for the lives of all citizens.