Letter to the Editor by Cheryl Beckley, North Pole, Subdivision issues 4/26/2013 FDNM
As I sat in on the borough Planning Commission’s meeting about the proposed residential neighborhood and elementary school in North Pole on Repp and Brock roads, I was left wondering. The school is desperately needed in North Pole, which we all agree on. But when pressed as to how to justify that particular location, seeing the air quality rivals that of Woodriver Elementary on its worst days, the commission backtracked and said, “Well, the school doesn’t have to go in there, we can wait on that.”
Then why is it OK to throw another 115 woodstoves over there? And 115 idling cars, at minimum?
If the site is a new school location — and I’ve seen the letters back and forth from the land management department to the school district to the platting board indicating its approval by all three — why then, when pressed about the health, safety and welfare of these kids and all of us neighbors, did the commission backtrack and say “Oh, we don’t need to put the school there.”?
Either this is for the school congestion solution or its bottom line is the borough making a profit off land sales regardless of the effect on the home sales market. Testimony from two independent realtors confirmed the North Pole market is behind by eight months. Who will buy these small, 1.2-acre parcels? They’ll just be destroying the forest over there at Brock and Repp (our only source of filtering this low-lying area’s air pollution) to have parcel after parcel sit empty and then still not build a school because the air quality in this particular location is horrendous. Or they’ll build these 115 homes and the school, and all of us will suffer the health issues.
We need a new school no doubt, but there is a huge amount of borough land on the Old Richardson Highway and Bradway that needs to be looked at, as it sits in a better type of geography for air flow. No, Brock is not the best place, health-wise, for the school. Let’s keep looking.