One particular resident wrote a critical letter to Chairman Ken Hagan and tells him that the community was cheated out of a fair process.
How does Commissioner Hagan respond? In a letter dated August 26, 2013, Commissioner Hagan tells this citizen, "Since there is nothing the County can do to stop this development, and you feel the County acted improperly with Redstone's approval, I strongly encourage you to consider legal action."
Hmmmm. We have a sitting commissioner...no wait, not only a sitting Commissioner, but the Chairman of the BOCC telling a concerned citizen to sue what we've elected him to defend. There appears to be a strong whiff of arrogance, spritzed lightly with a hint of sarcasm in the air...do you smell it?
Well, Commissioner Hagan, your wish is going to be granted.
The Coordinated Active Neighborhood for Development Organization (CANDO), a Bloomindale community group which was created to fight this big box development, held an "Update the Community" meeting on Monday, September 9, 2013 at the Bloomingdale Library. With approximately 100 in attendance, the audience gave a resounding "yes" when the CANDO steering committee asked them if they thought filing a lawsuit against the county was the best option. The approval rate was in the neighborhood of about 98%.
The lawsuit will point out how the community was disadvantaged when the proper zoning process was circumvented back in 2011. Commissioner Higginbotham held the county's only outreach meeting back in June of this year and I've never seen a politician get trounced so badly. The trouncing, however, was well deserved. In spite of Higgingbotham's laughable claims about not knowing what he was approving, the case had been in the process for a long time and the documentation clearly outlined what was being proposed. It's amazing how the commissioner who motioned to approve the case (Higginbotham), has the utter gall to stand before his constituents today and claim he didn't really know what he was buying into. If that truly is the case then he should resign right now based on his inability to faithfully carry out the duties of his office.
The CANDO group has retained Attorney Pamela Jo Hatley. The developer, Redcast, has refused to meet with the community. They have submitted their final site plans and are anxious to move forward quickly. Unfortunately, the lawsuit against the county will not stop them from applying for building permits and/or breaking ground.
CANDO is in the process of becoming a legal entity so it can begin raising funds for the civil suit.
Community groups need to stand their ground as the Bloomingdale community is doing. It will put the county on notice that they can't just ignore the needs and desires of our neighborhoods and rubber stamp commercial blight as though they were ordering a take-out lunch.
For those that want more info on the Bloomingdale Big Box scandal, you can reach them on-line at BloomingdaleBigBox.com, or www.facebook.com/BloomingdaleBigBox