June 29, 2016
As for this Newsdog, I’ll stand with the West Side neighborhood knowing all too well the ways of pushy developers and a P&Z committee that quite frankly could give a Tinker’s damn about what the community says. Never mind an official and formal planning document – developed by both community stakeholders and city staff – that supposedly guides the development in a given community. This critically-thinking canine would like to call attention to the overwhelming conflict of interest in this case, specifically when city staff heavily lobbies during a committee hearing in favor of this developer’s project. That same city staff advised the West Side community on the crafting of an official neighborhood planning document that doesn’t allow for such developments on such a massive scale in the neighborhood. Can you say conflict of interest? This news-dog will just call it the devil within.
Note to the West Side community: Think of this issue like a marathon wrestling match. P&Z’s unwritten strategy in postponing this case yet again is to wear you down and ultimately beat you with the help of a deep-pocketed developer. They know that maybe half of you will show up to testify against the development in July when it is due to be heard again. If it gets postponed again, their fervent hope is that even fewer people will show up, so that their corporate welfare project will pass with ease.
Let’s not forget how this same P&Z committee sided against the Westport-Plaza Area plan and a host of historic preservationists and neighborhood activists. In that instance, the committee sided with the deep-pocketed developer despite the fact that the community-developed and driven plan called for adaptive re-use of the historic Nell Peters apartments on the Plaza. You’ll recall those apartments fell to the wrecking ball recently in order for a city-approved TIF project to be erected in their place. At the risk of sounding cliché’d, we’ll echo the historic words Revolutionary War Captain John Parker said to his Minutemen on Lexington Green on April 19, 1775: “Stand your ground, don’t fire unless fired upon, but if they mean to have a war, let it begin here.”
The city and the developer have already fired upon the Westside community. Now it is time to rally your troops and stand your ground because it certainly looks as if this developer and the city’s P&Z committee have brought war to your doorstep. As for this dog, I’ll stand with the West Side.