Monday, June 04, 2012

A Simple Question


It is a simple question, really.  It is raised here today in two instances. 

Why would a local businessman attempt to locate a business in an area where he is clearly not wanted? 

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We ask this question in reference to David LeVan’s attempts to locate a casino close to the Battlefield here, and we ask in reference to Hillandale, a large corporate chicken products company, which through a front man with no experience wants to place a 60,000 chicken warehouse on the site of a former turf farm on Mummasburg Road, less than a mile and a half from the Eternal Peace Light Memorial.   

If you faced a large group of irate neighbors who opposed your effort to locate a business in their neighborhood, would you ignore them and go ahead anyway? 

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In the case of the chicken warehouse, it would not have a retail side to it, so local opposition can be ignored.  But why would you do so?  Clearly, the project is a nuisance one, and one with health implications.  Clearly, your neighbors do not want that kind of an operation in that location, and face it, it IS too close to town, and too close to the Battlefield.  It will affect business in both. 

In the case of the casinos, local opposition played a much bigger role in licensing approval than LeVan expected, and twice his efforts were defeated by the state Gambling Commission, which didn’t like his projected business model the first time and liked the one in Nemacolin a whole lot better the second time.  In LeVan’s case, he could care less that there is a strong opposition…he cares little for anything beyond his own pocket, and his own ego-pride.   Undoubtedly, the local casino project is just shunted off onto a siding while traffic clears in the other direction, then it will be full steam ahead with round three [we do not count the abortive attempt to create a sulky race track in Littlestown in conjunction with the Hanover Shoe Farms outfit, and with LeVan attaching a casino to it].

So, we are still faced with the question, ‘If you faced a large group of irate neighbors who opposed your effort to locate a business in their neighborhood, would you ignore them and go ahead anyway?’, concerning the chicken warehouse.  

For those who care about animal treatment, this is a one man operation, almost completely automated, and the manure which filters down to a conveyor belt under the chickens is stored in a warehouse until a contractor comes to remove it “once or twice a year!” {Gads, can you imagine driving those trucks?  Or even worse, being stuck in traffic behind them?]   

Additionally there is the health risk…so many chickens so close upwind from a heavily populated area could be vulnerable to the bird-flu viruses [avian influenza], which are easily transmitted to humans.  Yes, the chicks are vaccinated, but I want to see a guarantee that there are no missed chicks in the vaccination process.  I want a guarantee that all the chicks get the same dose and it is sufficient to ward off avian influenza in its many forms.  I want a guarantee that no new version of avian influenza will evolve on Mummasburg Road at this chicken warehouse.   

Why on God’s Green Earth would anyone subject so many people to such a risk? 

For the same reason the casino project will never go away as long as LeVan is alive:

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Civic awareness and civic responsibility are no longer priorities in American corporations, large or small.  For example, the second proposed casino was to be located next to a toxic waste site, and in an area where the increased water need would require a new supply.  Marsh Creek can surrender only so much water before it begins to dry up in the summer-fall dry season.

LeVan didn’t care.  Nor did he care about the proximity of the Battlefield to his casino.  Based on his example, why should Hillandale care about its proximity to the Battlefield? 

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For Cumberland Township, the money derived from taxes and fees from the casino would have been a boon to a township saddled with so much public non-taxable land.  For the Township, there is little to be gained financially from the Chicken warehouse. 

Why, then, would they even consider approval, especially in the face of such opposition?

We await further developments on both these issues.  For the casino, we watch the Pennsylvania General Assembly, which is considering two bills that may affect the area.  One is a buffer bill that would prevent any casino from operating within ten or fifteen miles [still up in the air?] from either Gettysburg Battlefield National Military Park or the Flight 93 National Memorial Park near Shenksville in western Pennsylvania.  The other bill would strip Philadelphia of one of its guaranteed casino licenses which remains unused, and put it out for auction at a hefty price.  We hope the first passes and the second fails. 

For the chicken warehouse project, follow GettysBLOG and the new and inspired blog about the chicken warehouse issue, Gettysburg Battlefields At Risk.

The key to both is the chickens and the casino is:

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1 comment:

GettysBLOG said...

We would add that just yesterday an article appeared on page B-6 of the Gettysburg Times that indicated a large Iowa egg processing farm was infected with salmonella.

Downwind from the proposed chicken warehouse:

Gettysburg schools, HACC, Weis supermarket, the Adams Count Home for the Elderly, the Battlefield, the Borough.