I want to share with you something very refreshing and invigorating that I feel will help sooth some wounds today.
I received a call from our planning commission representative, Michael Lawson. He informed me up front that he could not discuss the Ascente project or vote, but he wanted to share something else with all of you.
He was in awe of our presentation and commitment to our area. He said in his decades of experience in planning that he has never seen anything like it before. He believes that everything that we had to say was compelling and relevant. He was very surprised at the outcome and could not sleep that night. He went on to say that he wants to work for us to make the system better.
He felt the system worked against us Tuesday night for many of the same reasons I shared in my last post and in my opening arguments. This process moves forward in small steps that places our representatives in the position to make split second decisions in a vacuum. It is unfair that we cannot rebut a developer’s answer to our questions. It is not right that they cannot take the time to research hours of contradicting testimony before making a decision. Developers know this and have the time, money and experience to know how to work these system flaws to their advantage. They deftly maneuvered away from the arguments where we had ground to stand on, and sought out the ones that made us look ill-informed. Mr Lawson believes he can work to change these system issues. He was very struck by the comments that if we keep mitigating, eventually there is nothing left to mitigate. I must also point out that representative Sarah Chvilicek had comments to the effect of wanting to change the system as well.
I can say since the meeting I have talked to A LOT of county officials involved in this process. The people that have worked on this to this point have been shackled to code requirements and job description limitations. But I come away with the honest belief that though we may feel that the system isn’t working for us right now, that our representatives most certainly are. I don’t know if this will be able to help us in this fight, but at the least I feel that we have made a difference in the long run.
I find myself renewed and invigorated to keep this up regardless of the potential outcome, if only for the simple reason that we can make a positive change here and now. The next step: we do what we do. We fight. We will be appealing this decision and we feel strongly that we have ground to stand on. We are following up on every potential point and will have talked with every department that matters by tomorrow to refine our best argument. We have a shot.
Take heart and push forward fellow warriors. Fight the battles as they come. Do not allow this to run you or your spirit down. The world is run by those who show up. Have faith in your representatives. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Stick with us and together, even if we can’t win the war against Ascente, know that we have made a difference, not only in mitigating the impacts of this very development, but in the efforts to make this system work better for everyone in our beautiful county.