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NIMBY is not enough

March 4, 2011
Morning Journal News

At its core, zoning seems so un-American.

How can a bunch of people, strangers even, write a bunch of laws telling you what you can and cannot do with your land.

It is your house, your land.

A simple concept. But life is not that simple.

Take Middleton Township and the landfill that dominates the landscape above Negley.

The landfill has been growing through the years, and could grow even more now that the company that owns it has purchased a neighboring farm.

The fears of the residents also are growing. They fear for their water, their air, their lifestyle.

When the landfill first started years ago, a push was made to institute zoning laws in Middleton Township. That proposal went down in flames. Most people wanted no part of it.

A successful zoning campaign would not have kept the landfill out of Negley. Laws would have come too late. But it could have limited the future growth and scope of the dump.

And there are a lot of areas in Columbiana County like Middleton Township. Many of us can look out our back door and see wide expanses of land. Land perfect for farming, for wildlife.

A waste management company could look out the same door and see land perfect for demolition debris from Islip, N.Y.

The truth is, landfills are a necessary evil. You have to put the waste somewhere. You can say NIMBY - not in my back yard - but that will not necessarily keep the view from your doorstep pristine. You need things like zoning laws and other regulations.

For a long time we have been leery of zoning in rural areas of the county. That feeling has changed.



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