Image Link 07/11/2017

July 11, 2017

Meeting opened by Chair Dan Rosales. Pledge of allegiance led by Justin Klassen. Eight members of PC present.

Continuance of June 27, 2017 hearing. No public comments to be taken at this meeting.

Baseline Engineering introduced staff available for questions.

Continuation of Applicant Rebuttal
Tim Craft showed slides - almost 5,000 page application in total.

-plan to install 4 more wells, have met 300 year supply requirement

Water consultant engineer spoke - went through water court process; no objections were filed; water court judge signed off in 2006 (before Independence was property owner)

Craft stated that they have no plans to pump water out of Elbert County (even though proposal states that they can). 65% of new residents will only be on EC roads for about 1/2 mile. Will create 4,000 temporary jobs and 500 permanent jobs for the county. 20% of new residents will spend their tax dollars in the county; net positive of $250,000 to county each year; (Editor note: Being up so far up north, residents would have no reason to drive to Elizabeth over more services that are available in Parker. Also, jobs jobs purported to be created in the county are ridiculously overblown as to be unbelievable)

Diane Miller, attorney for Craft, stated that special districts allow new developments to “pay their own way.” No HOA anticipated for Independence (makes taxes that are imposed tax deductible). No new taxes will be applied to anyone outside the community.

Planning Commission/Preliminary and Final Plat Questions

*Several PC members were unaware that their paper copies and electronic copies were different, so had not read the electronic copies.

Special District Questions

No acknowledgment was made nor was any discussion held of citizens’ concerns from the public testimony at the previous Planning Commission meeting; interesting to note, citizens against this development outnumbered citizens in favor by a 4 to 1 margin. Citizen concerns were completely ignored.

Motion to continue discussion to a future date because PC members had not all been aware of differences in electronic information and paper copies. Kyle Fenner stated that all PC members had been made aware of these differences. Tim Craft stated that his firm had presented everything timely, and that it was “expensive” to bring all of his staff out to EC each time. Motion failed 5-3.

Several of the PC members admitted that they hadn’t read all of the information presented in electronic form, yet they voted not to continue the hearing. Consequently, they were clearly rushing ahead to vote on the Independence proposal, knowing full well that not all of their fellow planning commissioners had read all of the documentation.

Motion then made to accept the Water and Sanitation District - with condition of approval that water not be allowed to be exported out of the county and 3 additional conditions of a approval recommended by staff. Motion never taken off the table, nor voted on, nor withdrawn. (Robert’s Rules of Order were nowhere to be seen).

Some members of the PC felt too rushed to make anymore decisions (at 10:53PM). Mr. Craft was clearly unhappy with this decision and tried to get the hearing continued until the next day; however 5 commissioners were unable to meet on Wednesday evening. Kyle Fenner also attempted to schedule the continuance for the next day, clearly in violation of the 24 hour notice requirement for public meetings.

Motion to continue to July 18 made (after 11PM, a violation of county regulations). Moved, seconded and approved.

This meeting was an embarrassing demonstration of the lack of proper procedure and protocol for a Planning Commission. All parties, from the public to the staff to the applicant, were justifiably frustrated and disappointed at the lack of professionalism and absence of a semblance of order (i.e. Robert’s Rules of Orders). It is incumbent upon the chair of the Planning Commission, particularly as development knocks on the door of Elbert County, to resolve the inefficiencies that were evident, and to make sure that all members of the Planning Commission have performed their due diligence.

As one citizen stated, heading out the door, “This was the most poorly run meeting I’ve ever attended. Robert’s Rules of Order were clearly lacking.” And from another citizen, “This was painful to watch.”

- Jill Duvall