Saturday, July 14, 2007

Gridlock doesn't care about class

There's an advertisement lurking as an op-ed in Friday's Amador Ledger Dispatch. A local person employed by New Faze Development to promote its environmentally destructive Jackson Hills subdivision argues for the project because it's "classy."

And she says that if Jackson Hills isn't built, some other development -- something far worse, in her opinion -- could be built on the site.

That's interesting logic: If the city doesn't approve this bad project, a worse one might come along? Wow.

Of course, the land could also stay a cattle pasture. Maybe even an irrigated one.

One of the biggest problems with Jackson Hills is that it will create gridlock in south Jackson (the word traffic doesn't appear in the "advertorial"). I don't know about you, but the last time I was stuck in traffic, it really made no difference to me whether the cars were shiny, late-model Beemers or beat-up older cars and trucks. And if ambulances can't get through a traffic jam on their way to the Sutter Amador ER, is that OK provided the cars in the way are nice and expensive?

Gridlock is an equal-opportunity impact that pays no attention to so-called class.

Who says traffic will be a problem? None other than Charles Field, Executive Director of the Amador County Transportation Commission, the county's resident traffic experts. As reported earlier this week in the Ledger article about Monday's council meeting, "Field repeated concerns that if Jackson Hills is built as planned, serious traffic congestion may aggravate already overburdened streets and roads."

The New Faze author also argues that Jackson Hills will "pay millions in developer fees that will benefit Jackson, Amador County, the school district and the Amador Water Agency."

What she fails to note is that under state law, developer fees can only cover the cost of a development's impacts on local government. They don't "benefit" government or taxpayers, they just cover the cost of providing capital improvements to the project. And often they don't even do that. Impact fees definitely don't cover school construction costs.

In closing, the author calls Jackson Hills "innovative." If Jackson Hills is innovative, I'm a right-wing Republican. Jackson Hills is a formulaic, suburban golf-course subdivision designed to attract affluent people in a certain demographic who are fleeing urban areas with equity from their homes for the comfort of gates and golf.

The odds of it becoming the social, economic and fiscal salvation of Jackson are slim to none.

Shame on the Ledger for allowing a developer to run an ad like this for free.

1 comment:

Joani Bailey said...

Great article......This should be published in the Ledger Dispatch, or at least on line in the Ledger's RED PHONE.

Joani Bailey, Jackson