Bob Bloch: Don’t fall for Frisco NIMBY vote
April 7, 2009
I’ve always supported the right to vote, and I always will. Nothing is more central to our form of government, and I’ll support and fight for this right to the end of my days. So, why am I against this proposed amendment to our town charter?
Because I vehemently object to the hijacking of this core principle of our democracy for the parochial purposes of a special interest group.
The organizers of this amendment have wrapped their own interests in a cloak of patriotic misdirection, in the hope of disguising their specific interest ” blocking any home development on the Peak One parcel (POP) ” within the larger, and more sympathetic issue of the right to vote. It’s a classic ploy ” imbed your personal agenda in a larger, more sympathetic issue and ride in almost unnoticed. That’s what’s happening with this amendment, and the group behind it has very cleverly employed this strategy.
Please ” Don’t be fooled! Let me paint a picture for you.
We have some people with property in Mountain Side, or who live there or within a few blocks of the POP, who want this town-owned parcel to remain undeveloped so they can continue to use this land as their park. They’ve attended many of the work sessions during the last two years and voiced their opposition to development. But, after factoring in all of the input received in these work sessions, the final decision by the town council was to continue with developing plans to create a real neighborhood of both market rate and attainable homes, at a density and character consistent with and respectful of, the adjacent neighborhoods.
This was not the outcome that this group wanted, so they began to strategize a way to get public support for their parochial position. They probably perceived that if they confined their efforts to protesting development on the POP it would probably fail because it would be perceived as a “Not-In-My-Back-Yard” (NIMBY) protest. They had to find a way to appeal to some other issue that was sympathetic to a large population and would cloak their true objective of stopping development.
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And they found it. Think about it ” land, open space and voting. Who can be against that? Get people to believe that the POP is open space (which it never has legally been, in spite of how it’s been used for 10 years) and that the town council is manipulating the public by splitting hairs with words and definitions (which it clearly has not). Get the people to believe that there are loopholes in our law that need to be closed, and that we need to have a citizen vote to transfer town-owned land over 5 acres.
Oops! Did you catch that new loophole? They’re only concerned about land greater than 5 acres, and by doing so they are creating a new loophole! If this amendment were to pass, other than for designated parks and open space, there would be no vote on any town-owned parcels smaller than 5 acres, such as the 1.37 acre parcel behind the Marina sign at the entrance the Marina. And what if the town council wanted to move town hall to a new location and sell the existing building and land? This amendment would implicitly trust the Town Council to do the right thing with these valuable properties ” because they’re less than 5 acres! Does that make sense to you?
So, are you going to vote to close an alleged loophole only to create a new one? Are you going to buy the allegation that you are being denied your right to vote, when there has been an extensive, two-year public process to work out differences on the POP? Do you trust the public process, in which people become informed and have their voices heard, to represent the collective wisdom of the community?
It’s not the size of the parcel that’s the issue, it’s the location. This group is trying to fool you by using patriotism to cover up their acute case of Not-In-My-Back-Yard. Don’t fall for it.
Please is vote “NO” so we can get on with the future!
Bob Block is a member of the Frisco Planning Commission.