Thursday, April 13, 2006

When Does "Final" Equal "Not Final"

I've rewritten this post a half dozen times in the last 24 hours. Anger, bewilderment and disappointment took over my hand in the various drafts. I felt pole-axed at the City Council meeting Tuesday night by the actions of the Plan Commission and the full Council.

As part of the Plan Commission report there was a motion to fill in the blanks left in the Westfield Meadows Final Land Divider's Agreement from November. A part of that motion was a request by the developer to be relieved of the obligation to finish the detention pond north of Porter Road before begining work on the development.

This request, so far as I can tell, has not been discussed as part of the agenda or minutes of the Plan Commission.

Why would the Plan Commission give up the leverage to compel compliance?

Why change a compromise that was a victory for all the parties?

If the intention was to roll over for the developers all along, why allow the annexation of the parcel north of Porter?

Why was there not one voice at the full Council meeting to at least speak up and ask why the restriction was being changed?

Now that the developers can begin grading and building without protecting Abbey-Koth, who do I call when the water starts coming across the field?

6 comments:

Mark Schnepper said...

Grumps,

As to your question, I don't know?
I attended most of the meetings in regard to this development. I skipped this weeks. Perhaps, I would be considered apathetic. However, I am quite busy after work with a newborn in the house and Mom wanting a break when I get home. I also feel like it was a done deal as soon as it was annexed and people voicing their concerns really didn't affect the outcome. Initially we were told that annexation was just part 1 of a three part process and that it wasn't a done deal. I feel that once they "jumped through that hoop" the PC's oversight was abdicated and the rest was just a formality. Kind of reminds me of the complacency we saw in Congress as far as how we ended up in Iraq!

Karen Aikman said...

Well, it seems as a member of the planning commission and Council, I need to come forward. It was my understanding that we were allowing building but no occupancy of any homes in that subdivision until the detention pond is completed. From my point of view, that seemed reasonable. It seemed reasonable to me to build homes and detention ponds at the same time, during the building season.

If we are talking leverage, it seems to me withholding occupancy until compliance may actually be more compelling as money would be tied up in the completed empty house. But you are right, I'm not sure I remember detailed discussion of this matter. I may be thinking of thoughts in my head as I determined my vote. I admit I never considered grading. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I will make some calls to find some answers for you.

Going forward, I have left Council with a proposed ordinance that would allow for Public Comment at the beginning of Council meetings. I hope people come out to support the passing of this request. It would allow people with interest on an upcoming vote that same meeting to speak and voice their opinion BEFORE the vote is taken. This is important because it is easy to miss notice of a public hearing in a committee, but Council should be a clearing house of information for everyone.

Mark Schnepper said...

Grumps,

As I imagine you are aware some people on our street have talked to Lawton & Cates about a class action suit against the city. I was really not into that and tried to give the city the benefit of the doubt. Not sure what their objective was, stopping Westfield Meadows, punitive award, etc.? However, if the idea that this new development would help our situation turns out to be untrue and everyone's suspicions that all of the pavement, roofs, etc. would intensify our water problems I would be open to reconsidering that option. Maybe you should call lawton and cates if problems our occur in our neighborhood.

grumps said...

I was vaguely aware that there were some rumblings to that effect. I assumed that since the rumblings stopped so had that effort, for whatever reason.

I wouldn't be a fan of going down that path in this case anyway. The development is coming whether it's wanted or not. My point is that the Agreement was changed to benefit the developers under the guise of "filling-in-the-blanks." I don't think that it was done with harmful intent. I think it was done as a coutesy to the builders without considering the effect of the change on the people affected.

When elected officials hear things like, "They just don't care," or, "They make things too easy for the developers," this is the kind of thing they need to remember.

I'm sure that the request sounded reasonable. That it was approved with no thought to the neighbors, or even an acknowledgement of why the change was being made, is the galling part.

Karen Aikman said...

WoW,I hate it that you are galled. I will take my share of the responsibility here. I have made some calls and have been assured this construction will not adversely affect the Abbey-Koth subdivision. I have expressed my concern and promised to keep watch on the goings on over there. I understand some phone calls may be coming your way. I saw the water problems over there. I trust the engineered plans for water managment will work. I need you to keep me informed. Please feel free to contact me if I can be of help.

Mark Schnepper said...

I would not be a fan of going down that road either. I wasn't when several people approached me about it. However, if water problems are intensified by this development rather than improved (as promised in the earlier meetings) and I ended up with foundation damage etc. and my house became worthless due to water tables etc. , I would be left holding a mortgage for worthless property. If this worst case scenario occured, I wouldn't have a lot of options, except to start a class action suit. I don't alledge anybody has harmful intent, but I do feel like the greater good of the community took a back seat to that of the developers.