Sunday, December 30, 2007
Coody Confused about Aspen Ridge
They told him that they were going to build 220 luxury townhomes, a nature preserve with beautiful lake, and bike and walking trails on 28 acres at 6th Street and South Hill Avenue. He took their word for it and required no performance bond. Two and a half years ago, Developer Hank Broyles staged a grand groundbreaking of the Aspen Ridge project with buffo publicity and fawning news coverage from the local media, and Mayor Dan Coody was there on center stage like a trained pup. "We are very pleased to see this development occur,” swooned the Mayor, “Not only is it a stimulus for other area economic development, bringing tremendous value to the region, but also it will solve some existing environmental problems.” It didn’t quite work out that way.
One of the neighbors said, "I was listening to Dan that day, since he's the Mayor, about it, and he was confused about some of the ramifications. It was obvious that he just hadn't simply read the documents, so I wanted to tell him that he just needed to read it with his own eyes and not rely on anyone else's interpretation. I just wanted him to see whether the potential situation or if our concerns had been addressed. It was no big deal. I just wanted everybody to be on the same page with all the right information."
Then came that right information -- the treeless trail, increased noise, the scrapping of promised rain gardens, silting of Town Branch Creek, the filling of wetlands, removal of the topsoil from the proposed park land of less than an acre, denuding the natural tree canopy, rejection of the Audubon proposal, broken silt fences, massive erosion, and everything else that Mayor Coody must have been confused about because he swallowed the developers' interpretation and didn't listen to the neighbors' concerns with his own ears.
"It’s very unfortunate,” said Developer Hank Broyles of what everyone now has come to know as the Aspen Ridge debacle, and no one -- not even Dan Coody -- could be confused about that. Bait-and-Switch Broyles now wants to turn the Aspen Ridge Mud Hole into 19 or 20 big buildings of rental apartments for students, and he says, "I think it’s going to be a great solution for a big problem that the City has in that area."
I can hear it now, as a dazed Mayor Coody stands proudly by Developer Broyles in the red dirt mud where trees used to stand, "We are very pleased to see this development occur. Not only is it a stimulus for other area economic development, bringing tremendous value to the region, but also it will solve some existing environmental problems.”