Tonight’s hearing outcome: Planning Commissioners voted 5 to 2 to deny the appeal of the Borough land management proposal called Elbasan Acres.
What does this mean?
The Planning Commission tonight affirmed the Jan 30, 2013 decision of the Platting Board to approve Elbasan Acres in North Pole.
What is Elbasan Acres?
The Borough proposal to develop Borough land included a school site for an elementary school and possibly a second school on Borough land near the intersection of Repp and Hollowell Roads. In addition, it includes at least 115 home sites, perhaps up to 200 home sites, in a new subdivision near Brock and Repp Roads.
What’s the harm of Elbasan Acres?
The school and major subdivision would be located just outside the PM 2.5 nonattainment area, outside any protections or controls eventually applied inside the nonattainment area. Residents in the area and the students and staff at the new school would be at increased risk of premature death from lung or heart problems associated with highly polluted air.
In addition, putting these house lots on the market will further saturate an already struggling housing market, driving down private property values and harming the interests of current private property owners in the area.
Isn’t there a requirement to “protect and improve” health, safety, and welfare?
In the past, yes, when the landowner was a private property owner. But when the applicant is the Borough itself, apparently not. The code requirement applies to all property owners without exception. The Planning Commission decision tonight authorizes the Borough to ignore this provision of code for this particular subdivision and school.
Can the decision be appealed?
Yes, to state superior court.
If Jeanne Olson, the appellant, decides to appeal, your donation will be essential. If you’d like to pledge your support now, please send a message of your interest to firstname.lastname@example.org. Jeanne has already made significant commitments of time, energy, and expenses to bring the appeal to the Planning Commission.
Are other approvals needed for Elbasan Acres?
The Assembly will need to approve funding to construct the roads, survey the lots, and build the school. The Assembly has full authority to deny funds for these expenses and stop Elbasan Acres.