Monday, April 27, 2015

City Council Appears Ready to Seal the Deal on Kern View Estates

Hikers get exercise and enjoy the trail where Kern View Estates II could have gone.
City Council seems poised to pass an amendment to Title 19 which will seal the deal on Kern View Estates II. (The amendment is stated in agenda item 16.2 for tomorrow's meeting.) The amendment allows the owners to get a refund on a park dedication fee that they had to pay. That reimbursement is part of the deal to purchase the land from the owners and re-zone as Natural Open Space. Without the reimbursement, the sellers would call the deal off.

Last week Representative Noe said that he would oppose the amendment on the grounds that it was giving money to rich west siders. Will the politics of envy never stop in El Paso? Will the forces that eternally seek the lowest common denominator rather than the best for El Paso ever quit? The land to be preserved is for all El Pasoans. People from all around the city are doing more and more hiking in our mountains. For a city with such a high rate of diabetes and obesity, the increased outdoor activity is good news and should be encouraged.

Of course, Noe may see what some owners are doing: threatening to develop land on the mountainside so that the City will buy and preserve that land. So what? The land only has value as developed or preserved. As owners, they have a right to be recompensed if turning the land to the City for preservation.

There are also other good reasons for supporting the amendment and, thus, closing the deal. The development would have negative impact on stormwater and emergency services. It's not a matter of protecting "rich west sider's" view of the mountains; it's about safety and recreational opportunities.

Dr. No strikes again - oops - I meant Dr. Noe.

However, there are clear indications that the amendment has at least 5 solid "yes" votes. It may turn out that only No - I mean Noe - and Limon will be the only negative votes.

Here is an email from activist, Ellen Esposito, sent out yesterday evening:

"On Tuesday, April 28th, City Council will vote on an ordinance which directly impacts the approved purchase of Kern View Estates II.  One of the conditions of the purchase is that the owners receive a refund of the fees already paid to the city. These fees must be paid when the development plan is submitted for approval if park lands will not be dedicated in the development. Because the owners are conveying the property to the city, the City Planning Commission supports this refund to the seller. 

"There will be discussion and dissension is expected at the city council meeting. Because it is next to impossible to build a park in mountain development zoned property, a landowner would be required to pay these fees.  Many of us recognize that this reimbursement will encourage landowners of mountain development zone properties to abandon their plat and convey the property to open space.  In the interest of protecting open space as designated in Plan El Paso, we believe that City Council's approval of this ordinance is vital. The Franklin Mountains are ecologically sensitive areas which we have a responsibility to protect for future generations of El Pasoans. 

"Please mark your calendar to attend the city council meeting this Tuesday. It is important that city council see that their constituents care about protecting the mountains from development. It is important that they pass this ordinance to facilitate the purchase of Kern View Estates II.  The meeting begins at 8 AM, though I am sure this will not be addressed until later in the meeting."  

Next time Noe wants something for the east side, maybe it should be voted down because all the rich east siders have too many new and fine restaurants. Hmmm? No, Noe, it is better never to play the politics of envy.

No comments:

Post a Comment