But last week, the meeting regarding the Highland Estates, Trailside, Old Ranch Road, East Basin and Quinn's Junction neighborhoods drew a healthy-sized crowd. Many of those who showed up were there to ensure that any revision to the plan for Highland Estates would not preclude residents from running home-based businesses.
And that is the beauty of public input. Residents coalesced to highlight a sensitive issue. They were respectful and well-informed. And perhaps most importantly, their input was offered as part of the process, not after-the-fact.
Those in favor of allowing home-based businesses raised several good points suggesting that their neighborhood layout and location at the intersection of two major highways, makes Highland Estates particularly conducive to small commercial enterprises. They also cited a long history of mixed uses.
For its part, the council listened and offered to incorporate residents' concerns into their deliberations. They are now considering separating the plans for Trailside and for Highland Estates. That makes sense because Trailside is home to a school campus and playing fields that aren't necessarily compatible with commercial traffic.
But now that the business proponents have had their say, other property owners in Highland Estates are now coming forward to ask for more protection for the residential character of their surroundings. And they deserve to be heard too.
It won't be easy, but if the process works as it should, the input should help the council find a balance between allowing limited commercial uses and maintaining a safe, quiet residential atmosphere. A lot of that, though, will depend on the citizens' willingness to continue participating in the public process.