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When local business wins, we all win

Brookhaven Alderwoman Shelley Harrigill was not shy about her disdain for the portable building business that sprouted at the corner of Industrial Park Road and Union Street Extension.

Harrigill and the rest of the Board of Aldermen were asked to vote on the city’s Board of Adjustments’ recommendation to grant a variance to zoning ordinances so the business could locate an office in one of the portable buildings.

The Board of Adjustments had signed off on the variance, but final say rested with the Board of Aldermen.

During the discussion before the vote, Harrigill said she didn’t mind the office being there, but didn’t want the rest of the portable buildings to be there at a busy intersection.

“That’s the problem that I have with it,” she said. “They have about 10 modular buildings sitting on the corner of Industrial Park and Union Street Extension at a main thoroughfare and it looks awful. I don’t have an objection to the office, I just have an objection to the location.”

“It’s the absolute worst place ever,” she said. “They can do it, but they just threw those things out there. It’s the worst looking eyesore.”

That particular lot is zoned for commercial use, meaning a business can locate there and sell just about anything, including modular buildings. It might seem odd since it is very close to an apartment complex, but it’s the business owner’s prerogative to locate there.

While we understand Harrigill’s desire for aesthetically pleasing businesses, it’s an overstep of government to punish a business simply because members of the board don’t like the looks of the establishment.

The board voted 4-2 in favor of the zoning variance. Alderman Jason Snider was the other “no” vote.

If board members do not feel that the lot is appropriately zoned, then they can fight their battle from that angle. But it feels unnecessarily harsh to so publicly denounce a business based only on its appearance and location. The business does not appear to be breaking any laws or harming anyone. If the business succeeds, the city stands to benefit from the sales tax collections.

That’s a win for everyone.