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More Rampant Growth Considered
Have you seen lots of signs opposing irresponsible development?
Again, last night a packed house at the APC, a lot of new neighbors but the same concerns about irresponsible growth and development with no consideration for existing residents. Who has the authority to do something about it? According to the City, and very specifically the Economic Development Director and his Department, APC, Council, BZA and the City attorney, they hold all the power, even the power to ignore the Comprehensive Plan or UDO or interpret them so differently than they were intended, all to please the developers and “grow” the City in ways the people couldn’t have imagined. No, they could have imagined what’s happening which is why they spent 2 years working on the Comprehensive Plan, passed in 2007 and ignored by Town Council President Cook who soon became Mayor Cook. And you don’t work for the City or serve if you don’t do as he wants. Ask two of our City Councilors.
We get development as PUDs because a PUD doesn’t follow zoning or the limited development standards we have. They become their own ordinances/law. Is anything being done proactively to change the future of development to protect the environment which draws so many people here? No. Any improvements to development standards? No. Anything to limit the timeline on development? No.
Last night, both an 8-year old PUD and a 14-year old PUD were challenged as to the negative impact on existing residents. Any consideration for the people of Maples of Spring Mill, Countryside or Water’s Edge? No, because the PUD is the law and the developer is going to maximize his profits. In the case of Water’s Edge, the developer made no effort to make sure families moving in knew what non-family friendly stuff would be built in front of them on SR32. No concern for the quality of life for the families and children. It’s still a secret as to what will be built on “20 blocks”. No cooperation, not even to the smallest extent. As for Spring Mill Trails (formerly known as Maple Knoll East) the town said they could do this 14 years ago and so they will do it. The City will not challenge the developers to do better as the City’s debt requires them to accept whatever. But wait, the City truly isn’t opposed to whatever the developer wants to put in Westfield. If they make a little noise, that is orchestrated. Wait for their vote of approval like they are helpless to demand better.
One by one each neighborhood shows up at an APC public hearing to ask for better, and one by one each neighborhood is listened to (as required by law per the City attorney – the EDD said last night he doesn’t know why we have these public hearings), but the decision has already been made. Divide and conquer, one neighborhood, one PUD at a time. Years go by and you can count on one hand the times the APC or Council turns something down. But watch out, it may be coming back like Westchester (WoodWind).
What power do the people hold? Power of the vote. Our local officials are intertwined on one board or commission to the next. The officials are overlapping in as many positions as possible. Do a little digging…we have.