Final Public Hearing – Welaunee Comp Plan Amendments

We are here tonight to watch the Adoption of Amendments that in other times would have been Stamped – DOA – Dead on Arrival.

Denial would have been based on obvious and glaring deficiencies. The Planning Department staff, as independent professionals, would have recommended Denial, and should the Amendments have moved forward based on some political maneuvering, the Department of Community Affairs at the State would have objected and stopped them.

The Deficiencies:

Expansion of the USA boundary – this is the largest expansion of the USA in the history of this Plan back to 1990. It is unprecedented. And yet no fact based documentation of the need for this expansion has been provided as required by law. There is in fact adequate vacant land inside the current USA to accommodate all the projected growth over the next 25 years.

Substance of the Master Plan: There is no fiscal impact analysis of the future costs to taxpayers of this approval; no Transportation Master Plan; no Environmental Impact Analysis; No required donation of land for Public Facilities such as roads, fire stations, transit hubs. Until recently there was no requirement for a Master Stormwater Plan. This Plan allows for a minimum of 12,500 homes and 3 Million square feet of commercial development. The development rights being granted to the Property Owner are worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Procedural Irregularities: The City is the Applicant; the city is the Author of the Plan; the staff is the reviewer of the Plan; the City Attorney is charged with being the legal arbiter. All of this is unprecedented, done at taxpayer’s expense and surely represents a conflict of interest. And yet, the Property owner retains the right of veto power and can refuse to donate ROW for Welaunee Blvd. I cannot understand how the city allowed itself to get in this untenable position.

These points have been all been made before – on the record. Our attention has been intentionally steered away from the USA Expansion and the Procedural Irregularities and focused instead on tweaking the Master Plan which is considerably improved. But, the public is still paying attention and asking questions. If you don’t listen to them now you will surely hear from them through the Ballot Box.

IT IS TIME YOU REMEMBERED HOW TO SAY NO. Say no to bad proposals and you will get better ones. Continue to say No and you will get the best deal for our community. Exercise your power and authority to serve the Public’s Interest.

Don’t make your citizens do all the thinking, the hard work and then struggle for months trying to be heard. It shouldn’t require this kind of desperate, last minute citizen effort to get an acceptable Plan. You have professional staff that should be capable of doing this level of work.

Thank you.
Debbie Lightsey