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Comprehensive plan

Last week’s Meridian Press headlined a story the city wants to complete a revision of the comprehensive plan by fall 2019. Given the City Council’s recent vote approving Costco, one must ask: why bother?

Last April, the City Council approved a Costco store at the southwest corner of Chinden Avenue and Ten Mile Road. Under the city’s comprehensive plan, the property was to be zoned Commercial-Community, meaning no big-box store like Costco could be built there. Many people testified that, when considering buying in nearby residential developments, they read the city’s comprehensive plan, saw the zoning, and purchased homes. No surprise, they feel betrayed; no surprise, some of them filed suit in June asserting the city violated the legally required process for processing applications like Costco’s.

If the comprehensive plan prohibited a Costco, how did the Council approve it? I attended the meeting, spoke against it, and heard those councilors who voted for Costco claim the city’s comprehensive plan was really only a suggestion and therefore not binding on them. Really?!

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For most people, a plan is a statement of what, how, when, where and by whom something will be done or a goal will be reached. Imagine telling your kids the plan for this year’s vacation is to go to Disney World; then, at the airport, you announce that plan was only a “suggestion” and you’re all going to Las Vegas instead. Think you’ll get away with that?

Well, if the city’s plan isn’t really a plan, just a suggestion, why bother? Why waste hundreds of hours of city staff time and thousands of dollars, and take hours of public testimony, if the result is, well, just a suggestion? Please don’t tell us we’re vacationing at Disney World if you can change our “plan” to Las Vegas later.

— Jonathan Kahnoski, Meridian

 

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