01/12/2011: "Craftsman Corner Concerns"
Remember the line from the movie “Field of Dreams” that says, “if you build it, he will come?” I’m wondering if the Planning Department has changed that line to, “if they build it, we will adjust regulations to accommodate it?”
It’s disheartening to know that the ongoing development project at Craftsman Corner (the saw rental place) has repeatedly violated the Eastsound Subarea Plan land use rules for its Service/Light Industrial zoning. The planning department has made some alarming blunders and oversights in handling the permits for this project. In a phone call to Rene Beliveau, chief building official, last July, he admitted that the planning department dropped the ball and didn’t pay attention to whether or not Mr. Pearson was following his original permit requirements, even after multiple code violations were pointed out in letters from concerned and worried citizens. That’s unacceptable.
The problem with sloppy management of land use regulations is that it sets precedent for a glut of unscrupulous developers to sneak in unlawful projects, with no qualms about infringing on what’s left of the natural environment and wetlands in higher-density housing areas where generally, people are middle-class and lower-income and don’t have the money to legally appeal. There are already too many infractions on what little aesthetics, peace, and natural surroundings we residents have left in the UGA area. How can the planning commission tweak the zoning rules for a developer to accommodate full-time retail in a zone that prohibits it? That’s a betrayal to the nearby residents these laws are supposed to protect, and to the businesses that will be impacted in Eastsound village core.
Anyone with concerns about Craftsman Corner and the pandora’s box of trouble it opens, the possible environmental problems it may pose to nearby wetlands and ground water, the aesthetic eyesore, and the increased high-impact vehicular traffic dangers, please submit letters, emails, and faxes before the examiner’s hearing on Feb. 3rd. Even better would be before January 12th , the cutoff date for people to raise the excessively high fees to appeal.