By Mike Barnhardt
When Ashley Furniture announced it was locating a manufacturing and distribution center in Advance, local political leaders jumped for joy.
It would mean 350 jobs for local residents - starting immediately.
Some of those jobs have come somewhat immediately - but hundreds of others were delayed for at least six months - maybe a year or more.
It seems there is a beaver pond on the property. It created wetlands. And federal environmental laws protect wetlands.
More studies will be required before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will issue a permit to continue with construction.
Assistant County Manager Jim Stockert told county commissioners last week that there is a 30-day period for public comments on the wetlands issue, after it is properly advertised.
After being questioned by Commissioner Mark Jones, Stockert said it is a federal government issue and about all the county can do is help the company navigate the red tape.
Jones shook his head back and forth, asking if that means 350 people will be delayed in getting a job. Stockert said it would ...