A Neighbors Perspective: 8 Frequently Asked Questions about the Ford site zoning plan

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1.)   Why is the City Council not rescheduling its final Public Hearing on the Ford site zoning plan that will take place on Rosh Hashanah?

Apparently City officials must think that the public hearing will be done in time to allow those of the Jewish faith to hurry up, state their opinion on the Ford site plan, and then get home before sunset.

Do they know something the rest of the community doesn’t know?

Otherwise, one must ask:  Would the City Council hold a final public hearing on a matter of grave importance to current and future generations on Christmas Day?  Ramadan?  Or pick one of the holiest days of any religion?

2.)   Why is the City Council forcing a final vote on the Ford site zoning plan on September 27th?

There is no publicly declared reason or rationale for doing this.  When asked by neighbors our own Councilmember simply says something along the lines of “September 27th is a good day to do it.”

With no deadlines to rush the vote and growing opposition to the plan why wouldn’t the City simply delay the vote for a few weeks to review other options?  When the City unveiled its plan in November there were no other options for citizens to review.  There was one plan.  It was their way or the highway.

3.)   Why is the City Council allowing Ford to fail to clean the ENTIRE site to the highest standards possible?

Ford Motor company polluted our neighborhood.

Ford Motor company should not be allowed to sell – or leave—our neighborhood until 100% of the property has been cleaned up.  Not 60% or 70% — but 100%

Why should current and future residents have to bear the brunt of pollution in our community because the City Council refused to demand Ford Motor Company clean up 100% of their pollution in our community?

4.)   Why is the City Council and City Officials continuing to tell us that we have spent 10 years talking about this plan?

It is simply not true.

The plan that we have before us was only unveiled in November.

The City Council – the City – the Mayor – have deliberately failed to hold a series of official public meetings to discuss the plan with the community.

Not one.

Not in the entire time the plan was unveiled in November.

5.)   Why isn’t there an actual comprehensive traffic plan in place before the City Council votes?

Why would any elected official allow a massive impact of traffic on the streets, neighborhood and lives of residents not be studied before they pass a zoning plan that will create a massive impact of traffic on the streets, neighborhood and lives of residents?

Go back to Question #2 for no answer to question #5.

6.)  Why isn’t there an actual financial analysis of the cost to the taxpayers of Saint Paul on this plan before the City Council votes?

The cost to taxpayers is going to be staggering.  Any significant infrastructure on the Ford plant site under the current zoning plan will be paid for by taxpayers.

Millions of dollars.  In the long run perhaps approaching a billion dollars with general obligation bonds, tax increment financing and all sorts of other complex and complicated financial tools the city will use to raise money to pay for it.

And, remember that nearly 30% property tax increase proposed by Mayor Chris Coleman we’re going to get hit with?  Remember those days fondly because the next massive increase is going to be the result of the costs of the Ford Plant site the City is looking to pass.

7.)  Why doesn’t the City disclose its conversations and detailed plans with District Energy, Evergreen Energy, Fresh Energy, Xcel Energy and City staff about their plans for creating an energy plant for the Ford plant site?

Refer to question #8.

8.)   Why won’t the City Council tell us the real reason why they are insisting on this vote for September 27th?

When you fail to be candid with your community it raises many questions about motives and intents.

If there is a reason the City Council must have this vote on September 27th  that hasn’t been publicly disclosed, then City Council and our Mayor have a legal obligation to do so.

Above all else, the people of this community have the right to know.

 

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