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City staff absent from ‘neighborhood’ meeting

Letter to the Editor
Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Editor,

I attended the Lindsey Hill  “neighborhood meeting” at the Price Center the evening of July 23. I was surprised at the amount of support for that proposed project but I was not surprised that all but a tiny amount of that support came from people who don’t live anywhere near the project.

I live on Belvin Street, about a block and a half from the site of the proposed development and, as might be expected, opposition to the project runs high in my neighborhood. The Lindsey Hill enthusiasts seem to be concentrated primarily on San Antonio Street, which is protected from the adverse effects of the project by Hopkins Street, a rather formidable barrier. 

If this or a similar project were planned for San Antonio Street and I knew that residents of that street were adamantly opposed, I can’t imagine that I, safely ensconced on Belvin Street, would be cheerleading for the project. I can only ask for the same consideration in this case from the fan club on San Antonio Street. 

I know that one of the most aggressive supporters at the meeting works in a real estate related business and undoubtedly sees dollar signs for her company, but those of us up here have the safety and character of our neighborhood at risk.

Also, where was city staff at this presentation? I understood the “neighborhood meeting” to be a formal step in the city’s new process for considering zoning changes. I would have expected someone from the Planning and Development Department to run the meeting and for the developers to make a presentation within that framework. 

Instead the developers were left to run the meeting by themselves and predictably it got out of control and was dominated by a small number of assertive individuals. I do not fault Mr. Lerman and Mr. Berins. They did the best they could, particularly considering that the last thing they wanted to do was offend anyone. 

In future “neighborhood meetings” city staff needs to be in charge, setting out the ground rules and stepping in if things get out of hand.

William Agnew

San Marcos