Letter to the Editor: Town can’t exempt certain businesses from ordinances
Recently, there have been a few articles written by people who do not live in the town limits of Mount Jackson suggesting a conspiracy against our Farmer’s Market on King Street.
The Town of Mount Jackson welcomes, promotes and supports new businesses. However, the Town Council cannot cherry-pick businesses to exempt from town codes and ordinances.
This is the case with Mr. Forsburg’s property. Mr. Forsburg was given an extension in the fall of 2011 to meet the code requiring his parking lot be hard surfaced. He was given a second extension through 2012 and a third extension through June 2013.
The Town Council offered nearly two years of extensions to allow Mr. Forsburg to get the business on its feet, and, additionally, made and placed way-finding signs in the town center to allow traffic moving through town to locate Mr. Forsburg’s chosen site on a side street.
This was an unusual move for a municipality to do for a for-profit business, but we nonetheless felt it was the best way to support this initiative.
How can we waive the requirement for one business to hard surface its parking area, while requiring others to adhere to the town code? Every town or city has the basic requirement to hard surface parking areas. Imagine what downtown would look like if the local store, gas station, bank or church all had gravel parking areas.
Furthermore, there is already an approved location on Main Street in town for a farmer’s market, or the town would be happy to discuss having someone use our town park for a farmer’s market. Instead of fostering a spirit of cooperation with the town, Mr. Forsburg has chosen conflict and negative press at every opportunity and incorrectly blames the town for his inadequate planning, lack of funding, and ultimately for his lack of success.
Todd Holtzman, Mount Jackson