Monday, April 17, 2006

Back From A Busy Weekend

Welcome back.

A lot of people have answered part of my questions about the changes to the Final Land Divider's Agreement for Westfield Meadows and they have my thanks for their time. The Observer has a portion of this discussion over there. Bill Connors, as usual, has been patient and forthcoming in his reply. I'd like to readdress some of the fact and opinions here.

1) Westfield Meadows is a done deal. It's coming, so it's time to stop kvetching about it. As Bill has pointed out, the city needs it to recover investment in Lift Station 6. It's in the Plans. It's been talked to death. It's coming.

2)The current plan for Westfield Meadows ain't perfect but it's a damn sight better than the preliminary plans. The developers have addressed many of the concerns expressed by the community in the early going. Lot sizes are bigger (not always big enough, but bigger.) There will be no residences without basements. Water concerns are addressed in the Plan.

3)This end of my neighborhood has been most concerned about runoff from the new development. Nobody wants Kendall canoeing through my backyard again. The city has done a lot to mitigate the problem down here, but not every promise has come true yet. The pond at the end of Vision hasn't been dry one day since it was put in. The preliminary work on Westfield Meadows hasn't started.

4)In light of the extended timeframe for some of those corrections (almost a year to get the berm built, more than half that for the swale to be dug back) it was considered a victory to have a commitment to the Porter Road pond before building in Westfield Meadows. Having that pushed back has not been viewed so charitably.

5)The developers did not have to commit to anything north of Porter. That they did was a credit to them. I've not named the developers in these postings because my beef is not with them. They have made numerous changes and incurred expense to do so.

6) My reason for posting in the first place was because of a lack of visibility and communication on the part of the City. There was a Final Agreement in November. I screwed up. I stopped paying attention and the Final became the Not-So-Final. Bill Connors says there was a long discussion about the amendment at a Plan Commission meeting. That issue doesn't show in any of the agendas or minutes posted on the city website as of last Friday. The most recent Council minutes posted are for 1-20-06.

7) During the recent campaigns much was made of getting citizens involved. Over and over I heard plaints of, "We didn't know." Evansville needs to find a way to make sure that agendas are posted before the meetings. Posting at City Hall is not enough. The postings at the Police Station are often out of date or missing. Due to deadline and space constraints the Review is often behind by a week or more. Keep the website up to date. Then there can be no excuses.

8) My last point is a procedural one. If there was discussion at a Plan Commission meeting (I have no reason to believe there wasn't) and if the motion to amend was part of the report of that committee, why was no attempt made to explain the actions of the committee at Council? Three sentences addressing the compelling reasons for the amendment may have been enough. I just want to know that someone on Council is looking out for the residents and not just the developers.

We are trying to stay involved in our government. It's frustrating that it always feels like it's a battle.

1 comment:

Mark Schnepper said...

Yes it is a done deal, it is coming. I would argue the city committed to it before it ever came to the Plan Commission. From my recollection, the lift station would have been adequate to serve the 40 acres of Ringhand farmland that were part of the 1996 city master plan and the development that went in North of porter road over the last several years. When the lincoln street sewer was reconstructed (in 2002 or 2003), the sewer was regraded so it could accomadate the area north of porter road. That allowed the city to redirect the lift capacity to the Ringhand property that was not part of the 1996 master plan and had not even been annexed into Evansville yet. I think this is why people's opposition to the project fell on deaf ears. It has been claimed to be an oversight. I may be a cynic, but I find that hard to believe. I find it unfair that it came through "the back door" this way. How many people were at the meetings to approve the street reconstruction? I wasn't and I bet most of the people that attended the meetings regarding Westfield Meadows weren't either.