This is what democracy looks like | Wis.Community

This is what democracy looks like

I'm in Madison waiting to be on a panel about blogging, but I wanted to mention a meeting I went to last night. Vista Sand is in the process of applying for re-zoning in the Town of Menomonie to locate a rail spur and depot for sending frac sand from outside of Menomonie.  I posted about this the other day, including the flyer for attending the meeting and the map of the rather large loop that will be taken by the 100 or so trucks per day hauling sand from the mine to the rail spur.

I find this interesting almost excluseively because of the reaction.  The tiny Town of Menomonie Town Hall was packed.  I got there 5 minutes late due to another obligation, and could only get as far as the foyer of the building. From there I spent 45 minutes trying to see and hear what was going on.  Since I don't live in the Town of Menomonie I did not speak, but listened to plenty of remote neighbors who had plenty to say.  There were perhaps 75 people there during the evenining, and many of them spoke in opposition to granting a zoning change for the rail spur.

What was very exciitng about this was that everyone was civil.  Many of the speakers were extremely well-prepared.  Some of them had driven the whole truck route, carefully noting the number of small businesses, schools, schoool bus stops, parks, and other recreational venues on the route.  This is grass-roots democracy at its purest.  People were upset, and for good reason. They lived in what they believed to be an agricultural area with zoning protection, and are dead-set against the sand company making a substantial change to their area. Some of the concerns were for health reasons, some for property values, but mostly just for the fear of completely changing the nature of a beautiful and quiet agricultural area.

This meeting was only one of the experience I have had in the past year that have made me proud of my fellow cheeseheads. But this one was very close to home. Good for you, town of Menomonie, for presenting heartfelt, researched, and careful arguments for your views in a public forum. Now - everyone else in the state, do the same.

Published

April 27, 2012 - 4:26pm

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