Saturday, September 27, 2008
Take a Pass on South Pass
Fayetteville City Attorney Kit Williams has delivered a memo to the City Council telling them that they cannot consider the failed past non-performance of developers, cannot consider whether the development violated the anti-sprawl spirit of City Plan 2025, cannot inquire whether developers have sufficient financing to complete a project, and cannot use common sense in deciding whether to approve a Planned Zoning District submitted by Southpass Development Company, LLC . Got that? Got it. It would be illegal to use common sense.
Like the much quoted line from Charles Dickens, “If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble,… “the law is a ass—a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is that his eye may be opened by experience—by experience.”
Attorney Williams does say that the Council can consider the development's "placing a burden on the existing road network" and the "impact on public facilities and services." We know that the existing road network is insufficient to handle the traffic generated by 4,000 people in the proposed development, and that is reason enough to deny approval of the sprawl merchants.
What we do not know is the development's "impact on public facilities and service," because Developer Dan Coody and his administration have provided no financial information about the total cost to the taxpayers for providing the infrastructure for this development beyond the current city limits. Until the mayor can provide a firm cost -- not one subject to surprise cost over runs like his $63 million sewer plant debacle -- then it would be irresponsible to even consider voting for approval of the SouthPass project.
Neither the City Council nor the citizens have any idea what this scheme will cost or how many times we will have to raise taxes to pay for infrastructure to serve the developers. We do not know the "impact on public facilities and services" that might have to be delayed or denied in order to cash the blank check demanded by SouthPass. That's a good reason to vote against it, and a legal one, even if the city administration doesn't want anyone using common sense based on experience.