EARLIER: What we think: Fiscal Court has made a bold bid for Harley

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By The Staff

Though the minutes of its meeting will not mention the name Harley-Davidson, Shelby County Fiscal Court’s vote Tuesday morning may well have been the most  significant card the county could play in its bid to lure Harley-Davidson’s plant from southern Pennsylvania.

By voting to introduce a zoning change on two large parcels of land that would be appropriately positioned for such an industry, Fiscal Court has confronted what is likely the most sensitive aspect of this project with unprecedented boldness.

County Judge-Executive Rob Rothenburger identified  acreage north of Interstate 64 and both east and west of Joye’s Station Road that would establish a footprint that officials of Harley most likely would find appropriate and perhaps even desirable.

Fiscal Court, with Magistrate Michael Riggs offering cautionary commentary, unanimously supported that initiative.

The fact is that any manufacturing facility with 2,000 employees will require a large parcel of real estate that almost certainly would mandate some zoning changes. The traditional process would be for the corporation or developers to ask for that change.

But Fiscal Court for the first time in at least 20 years has taken the step of representing the county’s interest in new industry and asking for the change for land owned by Norfolk Southern Railroad and the Pike Family, land surrounded by the Martinrea Plant and Ford’s mixing center.

There is sensitivity here because of Shelby County’s agricultural heritage and embraceable, bucolic landscape. Those elements always emerge for debate at decision points such as these.

And certainly these are important aspects that our county must preserve. The discussion is welcomed.

But the opportunity now to lure an industry as large and stable as Harley-Davidson requires adjusted visions and an aggressive planning calendar.

Fiscal Court has put this issue squarely in the public forum by directing Triple S Planning & Zoning to undertake its processes immediately.

With Harley-Davidson’s decision on such a fast track, we encourage the court’s lead to be followed with all due speed.