Don’t rely on the front page article on the Elbasan Acres appeal of a major borough subdivision and school site. The Elbasan Acres appeal will be decided by the Planning Commission tonight. The “news” article largely derives from an article published over two months ago when the appeal was first filed: Appeal filed against North Pole development proposal 2/8/2013 FDNM.
Is Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reporting frozen in time as though the April 16 appeal hearing never occurred?
This morning, Clean Air Fairbanks sent the reporter, Matt Buxton, these concerns:
To: Matt Buxton – FDNM <email@example.com>
CC: Mary Beth Smetzer, FDNM <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Sam Bishop, FDNM <email@example.com>, Dermot Cole, FDNM <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Tue, Apr 30, 2013 at 11:05 AM
Subject: Elbasan Acres FDNM article
Fairbanks borough commission to decide Elbasan Acres tonight 4/30/2013 FDNM
Today’s front page article doesn’t do justice to the testimony or appeal points submitted to the Planning Commission.
This article is incorrect. The platting decision approves all 5 phases and a site for an elementary school that may also be used for another school, not “about 20 lots” and a site for a school. It appears you may have only heard Land Management’s side and not spoken to Jeannie, Wes Madden, or Gene DuVal.
The article is also incomplete:
- No mention that it adds further injury to private property values and owners in North Pole’s real estate market that is in a nose-dive. Wes Madden and Gene DuVal supported the appeal as witnesses.
- No mention of requirement in Borough Code of Ordinance that platting decisions must “protect and improve” health, safety, and welfare.
- No mention that the Planning Commission used this same Borough Code of Ordinance requirement in the past to block a development on private property proposed by a private property owner but now, with the Borough as both property owner and applicant, the Borough is pursuing its self-interest but ignoring the “protect and improve” health, safety, and welfare requirement in code.
- No mention that air pollution levels near this site have been recorded as the highest concentrations in the nation, worse than Woodriver and Watershed, worse than nearly every monitored city in the world.
- No mention that it is unsafe to locate a school or a hundreds of new families in such pollution and endangers lives.
- No mention that the Borough risks its own assets for harm it causes to both property values and health.
- No mention that all public testimony to the Platting Board raised health, safety, and welfare concerns and was ignored. No changes were made to Borough Land Management’s proposed conditions or finding of fact.
- No mention that during the Planning Commission appeal hearing all testimony, excepting that from Borough Land Management, raised these health, safety, and welfare concerns and supported the appeal.
- No mention that Dr Jim Conner submitted: “This development is very close to an already polluted area and will likely contribute to more wood/coal smoke in the borough non-attainment area.”
- No mention that Borough maps provided with the appeal, and in the public record, show this area has unhealthy air pollution when other areas of the nonattainment area are less polluted. The air pollution is not the same across the borough; this area is worse.
- No mention that the site is OUTSIDE the PM 2.5 nonattainment area, and the state has no plan to control pollution sources across the boundary line in the SIP which, as you know, is overdue by 137 days.
- No mention that the school superintendent supports the site for one or two schools.
- No mention that Dr Peter Marshall was a witness in favor of the appeal.
- No mention that a number of residents were prevented from testifying during the hearing under new interpretations of existing code. Residents who use the land currently, could have children at the school, could be assigned to teach at the school, and whose property values will decline, were blocked from testifying by the Planning Commission chair.
We recommend contacting Wes Madden, Gene DuVal, Dr Jim Conner, Dr Peter Marshall, and Superintendent Pete Lewis, in addition to Jeanne Olson, if you have not already done so. Tonight’s decision is vastly more significant than 20 house lots and a site for a school.
As of this posting, Mr Buxton has not replied or updated the article online.