Guest Editorial |

Guest Editorial

Evidence that I lack any form of social life can be demonstrated by my regular visits to the planning department in search of adult conversation. On Monday, I even downloaded the planning commission information packet from the city’s Web site. I actually had to call the planning department and hurry them along. The meeting was, after all, not ’til Wednesday and perhaps I was being too eager in wanting some time to digest the information beforehand. Thanks, Renae. Out of curiosity I dipped into the Treasure Hill report. Nothing new there except a "Construction Mitigation Plan." I thought the phasing made sense, but the "employee drop-off" zone clearly indicated off site, and carefully located on my client’s property, seemed a tad presumptuous. I trudged through the snow to Wednesday’s meeting, thinking I would ask Pat and Mike if they would explain their declared intent to occupy my client’s property. My immediate concerns were somewhat mitigated by the actual presentation. This was, of course, a completely different Construction Mitigation Plan than the one offered for public consumption two days earlier. On a general note, during the meeting a planning staff member chastised the public for not visiting the planning department and reviewing the available drawings. Not for the first time, this individual feigned surprise at the growing level of discontent evidenced by those members of the public who dared to speak. We were told that the applicants have a Web site with all current information available and planning staff is willing to share all the drawings and reports with anyone who cares to ask. As a concerned citizen at what was supposed to be a public hearing, I noticed the palpable irritation by those who feel unjustly patronized. On Friday, I thought that I would take up the aforementioned staff member’s public offer to review the latest information and drawings regarding the Sweeney brothers’ efforts. As she walked passed me in the corridor, perhaps on her way to lunch, she didn’t pause long enough to explain; said staffer told me that the information I had downloaded from the city’s Web site on Monday was out of date and the report presented on Wednesday was in fact the latest proposal. I asked for a copy. With a voice trailing into the distance as she walked away, I was told that the planning department didn’t have a copy and that further information would be made available at some unspecified future date at the library. I shall report back to my client that the only published documents that remain are a series of block diagrams unchanged from August 2004. These wire-line drawings continue to indicate an interface with the neighborhood that more closely resembles Hadrian’s defenses of the Roman Empire than any other project I can remember. The encampment of the occupying forces — "employee drop-off" — as illustrated on my clients land merely reinforces the image. To the Sweeneys: I am told that you are nice people. My own experience confirms this common belief. However, so is my mother. My mother is not qualified to develop a hotel. If you want to convince the neighborhood that you are, then bite the bullet and engage the public with information of a type that they can digest. The planning department’s best efforts at PR on your behalf seem to be creating more enemies than friends. The mind-numbing, uninformative and unproductive planning commission hearings are doing nothing for either side. You are frustrated. The neighbors are anxious. The government is not serving either side well.

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