And to the editor of the Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition newsletter:
Friday, July 20, 2012
Statements about the City Council Vote
After Tuesday's vote, I sent an email to the Mayor and City Council and issued a statement for the next Franklin Mountains Wilderness Coalition. Here they are:
Mayor and Members of Council,
Thank you so much for your vote to preserve the land in the NW Master Plan. Given all of the circumstances, I believe that you took the wisest and most prudent action. It has become very apparent that you and staff (both City and PSB) were trying very hard to respond to the citizens of El Paso who signed the petition. As the author of the petition and the coordinator of the petition drive, I am sincerely touched by your caring and your solid efforts in favor of conservation.
I also strongly support the PSB recommendation of Alternative 1 as a new access into the State Park. I very much appreciate your added endorsement of a separate animal corridor near the current entrance.
All of us in the conservation/environmental community look forward to working with you collaboratively in the future. We have more land than water and no land without water is or will be of any value. Therefore, preserving land as natural open space maximizes the economic value of the remaining land. May we as El Pasoans be as prudent, judicious, deliberate and conservative with our land and water management as you were with your decision about the preservation of land in the NW Master Plan. May we be faithful stewards of our land for our grandchildren’s grandchildren and may we not ever be lured by any need for instant profit and gratification.
Jim H. Tolbert
Proud El Paso Citizen and
As the author of the petition and the coordinator of the petition drive, I hope we all see the tremendous achievement which came from our dedicated work. On July 17, 2012 City Council voted unanimously to preserve land in the NW Master Plan in perpetuity by deeding and donating the land to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to become part of the Franklin Mountains State Park. Language in the deed will contain very strict covenants that will forbid the property from ever being used other than as recreational natural open space. If for any reason the land comes back to the City, a conservation easement will be created and the land will be dedicated as Parkland. The conservation of this land in perpetuity is just one of many benefits created by our successful petition drive. The NW Master Plan was redone as Smart Growth/Smart Code. Moreover, City Planners are now seeking to incorporate Green Infrastructure/Low Impact Development into the engineering tools and building codes of the City. Also, conservation and smart growth have become the goals of the City of El Paso rather than conventional growth and sprawl. The City’s Planning Department is now led by progressive, Smart Growth, New Urban, conservation advocates. Finally, a better working relationship between the conservation/environmental community and the PSB/EPWU has begun and needs nurturing.
The way is clear for all of us to begin wrestling with the bigger issue of scarcity of water as we face more years of drought and global warming/climate change. As El Pasoans we need to realize that we have more land than water and no land without water is or will be of any value. Therefore, preserving land as natural open space maximizes the economic value of the remaining land. Much of City-owned land managed by the PSB should be declared inexpedient not to sell to developers but to preserve as natural open space. May we as El Pasoans be as prudent, judicious, deliberate and conservative with our land and water management as City Council was with its conservation strategy to preserve land in the NW Master Plan. May we be faithful stewards of our land for our grandchildren’s grandchildren and may we not ever be lured by any need for instant profit and gratification.
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