Our View: URA is overstepping
August 8, 2019
Recent comments by the Green River Urban Renewal/Main Street Agency regarding the Love’s Travel Stop proposal have us confused as to how the agency thinks the commissioners can implement its requests.
According to the comments, the agency wants Love’s to partner with it and promote Green River businesses. It’s also asking the company to sponsor Main Street events. These requests aren’t out of the question, but we’re not sure why the county needs to be involved in communicating these requests.
The people the agency should send these requests to are representatives of Love’s Travel Stops. The commissioners can’t enforce these requests as part of the conditional use permit Love’s needs to build its truck stop. To do so would mean the commissioners would be instructing a business how it should operate within the county -- something no government entity should do.
That brings us to the agency itself, which receives funding from city and is provided with office space at City Hall. These comments are being made by an organization bearing the city’s name. We don’t think it’s appropriate for an agency under the city’s umbrella to make these requests through a public commenting process aimed at discussing if a truck stop is an acceptable use for a parcel of land outside of city limits.
A downtown redevelopment district can extend five miles outside of a municipality’s city limits, an area which the proposed truck stop would be located within. However, for the Green River URA to operate within the area, it would need to declare the Jamestown area as a slum and blighted area. This would require public meetings, which we imagine would generate a tremendous amount of interest from upset residents of the Jamestown community, as well as from county commissioners likely curious as to why a Green River organization wants to make designations on land under county jurisdiction.
The commissioners could approve a request to extend that development district, but it wouldn’t be well received by a community of county residents who live where they do because they don’t want to deal with city ordinances.
Members of the organization should feel free to submit comments to the county.
However, using the Green River Main Street/Urban Renewal Agency’s name and requesting specific actions supporting Green River on a comment form aimed at Love’s application for a conditional use permit isn’t the best way to have that message heard.