Tuesday, November 28, 2017

A Good Compromise

Over the last year I have shared thoughts on the need for residential development in our community. For your reference, please read my comments on October 10, 2017: 'At the Table or on the Menu'. Or if you really want to dig into the archives, check out my piece on September 29, 2016: 'Supporting Residential Development in Hudson'. The fact is, I am not alone in my support for these developments. Likewise, I would go so far as to suggest there is near universal, broad-based support among Hudson residents. At a minimum, our citizenry understands the economic impact of growth and development. The benefits to our school district have been established, and the broadening of the tax base is well known.

However, support often deteriorates when the proposed development is set to occur in our own backyard. I understand the objection from our neighbors to the North just as much as I understood the concerns of our neighbors near Springfield Avenue. Yet surprisingly enough, in both instances these residents expressed clear support for development. At the same time, they implored our city leaders and developer to listen to their concerns and allow them an opportunity to provide input into the process in an effort to make improvements that would benefit everyone. I have found this to be a very fascinating observation over the course of the last 12-18 months. Upon further reflection, I don't believe anyone has stated they didn't want these developments. Quite the contrary: they want to make them better, for those who will be their immediate neighbors, and for the entire community. Perhaps that is an anomaly. Instead of 'not in my backyard', I believe what I have heard is, 'let's make sure we do it right'.

In the interim, proposals have been modified and public hearings have been held. Engineers have 'engineered', and we have discussed traffic patterns on Ranchero Road. We even had a brief discussion about how the school bus stop is going to impact residents. Truth be told, this latest iteration probably makes the school bus route a bit more complicated, but I am confident we will be able to figure this out, just as we would have figured out the last design.

That is what happened on Monday evening. The city council took action on an amended proposal that had been suggested with input of residents. Working with the developer, I believe we have reached a satisfactory resolution and enthusiastically offer my support and endorsement of this project.

Admittedly, the process has seemed to take a bit longer than I would prefer. Certainly this has been stressful for our neighbors and our city council. But I take solace in the fact these proceedings have always been respectful. While there has been sharp disagreement with how best to proceed, I have been incredibly impressed with the conduct of everyone involved. It was through this discourse the amended plat proposal was approved by the city council on November 27 with a 5-0 vote. Is it perfect? Not at all. Is it without further modification? Probably not. Does it demonstrate a willingness to work together? Undoubtedly.

I would like to applaud everyone who has taken the time to engage on this issue. First our Ranchero Road neighbors for your thoughtful dialogue and willingness to work together for the good of the community. A tip of the hat to our developer for your open-mindedness and ability to take the input from our residents and continually improve on your concept. And finally our city council, for your bold vision and willingness to listen to the community you were elected to represent and making the hard decisions that will position us as the destination of choice when families are searching for a place to call home.

Finally, let's remember these residential developments are occurring in Hudson because people want to live here. Now, my narrow focus on the reason [why] is because of our outstanding school system. I continue to believe that. But, I think another reason has become apparent over the course of this discussion: a true spirit of cooperation, teamwork, and just being downright good neighbors to one another. With all we have going for us, who wouldn't want to live in Hudson?

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