‘The will of the people’

“The will of the people.”

That concept was debated during Tuesday’s meeting of the Ward County Commission. But defining and interpreting “the will of the people” can be difficult, to say the least.

At issue Tuesday was a proposed housing subdivision in Eureka Township that had been the subject of intense debate. Planning commissioners previously failed to make a recommendation on the project, which would build housing on 41 lots.

Some residents living nearby object to the project, citing traffic concerns, storm sewer management and other issues. The Eureka Township board previously approved the project. Ultimately Tuesday, the county commissioners also approved the project, by a 3-2 vote.

Commissioner Jerome Gruenberg voted against the project, siding with the township residents who oppose the plan. “This country is supposed to be run by the will of the people. If you have some issues with the rules that were set up, then maybe those need to be changed. The majority of the people were against this,” Gruenberg said.

Eureka Township chairman Gary Granzotto disagreed: “In my opinion, it’s either rule by the crowd or rule by law.”

And there lies the debate. Should the “will of the people” trump established laws and procedures??If the project in question meets all the requirements set forth by governing bodies, should it be rejected because some nearby residents object? Are the majority of all Eureka Township residents against the housing project, or just a vocal minority?

Any discussion of how our elected officials should best represent the “will of the people” is certainly useful, but we doubt the differing interpretations will ever end. It’s a matter of individual philosophy, and maintaining consistency in such matters can be difficult for elected officials.