The future of a large Garmin expansion plan is now in the hands of the Olathe City Council. And despite concerns about the project, elected officials have ample reasons to approve it.
That action would keep Garmin in the city for years if not decades to come. It would allow the company to build a warehouse and production facility, which in turn would lead to more employment and more housing in the city.
Garmin is extremely important to the economic future of Olathe, and City Council members will put that reasoning at the top of the list when they consider the expansion request on Dec. 1.
However, before the council votes, city officials should scrutinize the reasons why the Olathe Planning Commission, a citizens group, narrowly rejected Garmin’s proposal earlier this month.
Specifically, the council should see whether it needs to negotiate some changes that could reduce the concerns neighbors have expressed about the expansion.
That includes added traffic at the site; the possibility of increased noise; the size of the building; and even complaints that too many Garmin employees are smoking in neighborhoods, forced to leave work premises because of the company’s no-smoking policy.
A few nearby residents do support the Garmin expansion. They make the reasonable point that houses near the new facility could gain in value rather than lose it, as some opponents contend. After all, living close to work is one reason some people move into communities.
Most Olathe leaders would love to see Garmin hit its prediction that up to 2,700 more people could be employed there sometime in the future.
Still, city officials in the next few weeks should keep the door open to resolving complaints from neighbors of the company. That could lead to a better final project — for Garmin and for Olathe residents.