Let corn maze customers have their Halloween fun

By the Herald editorial staff

Summer is not even officially over and one small contingent in Pasco is already raising opposition to what has become an anticipated fall tradition: a corn maze.

People of all ages enjoy taking a spooky spin through the mazes. They usually aren't all that complicated to navigate, but being out in the corn in the dark, anticipating the unexpected to jump out at every turn, offers a little thrill.

Haywire Farms is planning a corn maze on leased property off Road 72 in Pasco. Nine neighbors expressed opposition to the maze at a public hearing before the Pasco Planning Commission in July.

The farmer, Phil Schmitt, has been operating corn mazes for several years and is content to let the issue work its course through city channels. Schmitt says he has never had a complaint about one of his farming or maze endeavors in semi-rural areas.

The planning commission is expected to make a decision this week. What may now be at issue is the fact that Schmitt is farming the property without a permit.

But since it has taken the planning commission two months to make a decision, he can hardly be blamed. Corn doesn't grow overnight, and maze season is nearly upon us.

We hope the planning commission approves the operation. It's good fun for Tri-City residents and a good way to diversify a farming operation. Agri-tourism is a big deal these days, and farmers need to find new ways to put money in the bank to survive the fickle economics of the industry.

Schmitt really has an ideal location, with easy access from Court Street. And the lease of the farmland came with the paved parking lot at Faith Assembly Church, which owns the property.

Where else could you find a corn maze with a paved and striped parking lot with 536 spaces? That will cut down on dust and make for better traffic flow and keep people from parking on the street or in neighbors' yards.

A corn maze by its very nature is temporary, operating for just a few weeks each fall around the Halloween season. Yes, it may be a bit of a burden for neighbors, but it will be brief.

If you haven't been by Faith Assembly in a few years, it has a beautiful and well-tended campus that was expanded and improved a few years ago. And the congregation is huge. Neighbors should be used to a lot of traffic, and not just on Sundays as there is other programming during the week at the church.

As one of the pastors there said, the corn maze "will never have more people there than we do on Sunday mornings."

We're sensing a growing trend that seems more frightening than any faux monsters hiding in the maze. These days, it seems every stadium crowd is too loud, every playfield light too bright.

When did we become so unwilling to be inconvenienced by other folks pursuing a little happiness?

When did we start turning into a community of killjoys?