A ruling from Judge Roberto Lange last week reminds me that our Lake County Commission may be more in tune with my thinking on economic development than I sometimes think. Judge Lange dismissed Ben Elliott's complaint that his rights were violated when the county denied him a permit in 2002 for a 940-head hog confinement operation.
That hog facility would have meant a boost in economic activity for the county. But the commission said some economic gains aren't worth the costs.
Likewise with the new public access area at Lake Madison. The best argument folks opposed to the project could offer was that the county could generate a lot more tax dollars by selling the land for private development of swanky McMansions on some of the last undeveloped lakeshore property. But the county said it has enough money for now, at least enough that we can forego a few dollars of potential tax revenue and protect quality of life in non-monetary ways.
I find such foresight encouraging.
Update 12:43 CST: An eager reader notes that credit for both of the above actions goes to previous commissioners Ron Jorgenson, Shirlee Leighton, Kent Peterson, Craig Johannson and Bert Verhey. The current commission of Chairman Verhey, Scott Pedersen, Chris Giles, Dan Bohl, and Roger Hagemann get credit for sticking with and finalizing the Lake Madison public access plan.
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