Originally published Thursday, July 12, 2018 at 05:59a.m.
Like many days, the Opinion page (May 5, 2018) included several letters opposing excessive development: a retiree who moved into a condo six years ago but is now leaving due to the expected impact of the planned housing tract developments; another decrying the related degradation of the Dells; and a featured editorial on development’s impact on the water necessary to sustain the Verde River. This pattern repeats day after day. (Full disclosure: an occasional letter extolls the virtues of development and/or argues that private property rights overrules all other concerns.)
Clearly the locals want the governing bodies to proceed with extreme caution in granting approval of development plans by limiting density; requiring setbacks from and continued access to public lands; and ensuring realistic contribution by the developers toward future infrastructure associated with the development and the resulting increased population.
My question: Does local opinion and wishes have any impact on this process?
Granted, I have only lived in the area for four years, but I have seen little indication that the local government gives sufficient weight to local wishes or the long-term impact of developers’ plans. Having lived decades in suburban sprawl, and with enduring gratitude of being able to now live in Prescott, it saddens me to see the failure of short-sighted thinking, and the failure to learn from the mistakes of other areas.