Editorial: Delay right response to residents’ concerns
In an era when governments are struggling with rising expenses and dwindling tax bases, it's not easy to do what the Glenville Planning and Zoning Commission did Monday night.
It listened to the concerns of its constituents about the potential negative impacts of Amedore Homes' proposed 140-unit housing development, and it hit the “Pause” button.
The board had the authority to grant preliminary approval for the project Monday night.
But a standing-room-only crowd of vociferous neighbors raised a list of concerns about the cluster of single-family homes, including the potential impact on traffic on existing neighborhood roads, groundwater and flooding issues, the cost of annual road maintenance, stormwater management, and the quality of life of the people living in the Glen Oaks and Indian Hills neighborhoods adjacent to the proposed development.
The commission had already done its own work, examining studies and reports, and determined the project would not have a significant impact.
Despite that, after hearing the concerns of residents Monday, it will take a step back and review the issues further, asking more questions of the developer, giving residents another opportunity to comment on the project, and initiating the process for state and federal permit approval.
Who knows? Maybe there's something the studies missed. Maybe there's something officials didn't consider earlier that was raised Monday.
Maybe they'll find after looking into the public’s comments and asking more questions of the developer that more work needs to be done to determine the actual impact of the development on the water table and traffic, and that more needs to be done to alleviate those potential impacts before a shovel goes in the ground.
Taking more time was the right decision. But the town can still go forward with this if it chooses. So residents who are concerned can't just speak out at meetings. They can’t just rest on their laurels.
If there is more information out there, residents need to bring it to the commission's attention in the next few weeks — before the next button the town pushes on this project is "Fast-Forward."