When we first heard about the development we had such little time, our only focus was to ensure our opposition was heard both in written form and with public testimony at the planning commission hearing. None of us had familiarity with the planning commission process, any knowledge of city ordinances, or background in either environmental or land-use laws.
We wrote letters that detailed our concerns to the planning commission, and those letters are now part of the formal record, however, those letters did not cite the relevant (city, county, state and/or federal) ordinances appropriate to formally object to the proposal. We also showed up in droves and provided passionate feedback that punctuated the community’s complete opposition to the project.
We raised concerns that the application was materially incomplete, that the existing geotechnical report poorly represents the terrain, leaves out critical details about how the project would be completed, and understates the risks of building on the site. It contains no details about the risks to the houses next to the property. In short, it was written in such a way as to get the proposal approved on the fast-track.
At the end of the public testimony the planning commission closed the public comment period. This was a normal order of business, however, given the substantial deficiencies in the application, it was premature. We wrote a letter to the planning department with our objections and they replied that a new public hearing will be scheduled and the time for both written and verbal public commentary will be re-opened.
In the meantime, we have consulted with an environmental law expert to understand our options and have since hired legal counsel to assist us in preparing formal objections to the proposed development. Here’s the efforts that are underway now:
- Preparing an independent geotechnical review of the documentation provided in the proposal
- We have hired an expert to provide a geotechnical analysis of some of the adjacent properties
- Begun a series of public awareness efforts, including this website, to bring attention to the challenges with this proposed project (it’s not even a development)
Once those efforts are complete and we have the results, we will submit technical objections to the proposal – both legal and environmental – when public commentary is re-opened.
Simply put, we intend to fight to stop this project from being started. If we can’t do that, we’ll fight to restrict it to ensure it has the most minimal impact to the environment and to the community.