EDITORíS DESK: Reviving the Westside Plan
Jim Fenimore, who became president of the Organization of Westside Neighbors (OWN) this year, is on a quest. He
believes the city is not enforcing the Westside Plan, which City Council enacted as an ordinance 25 years ago.
The plan contains a great number of objectives, ideas and recommendations. Some parts of it have proved dead on, such as the improvements at the Bijou Street/Walnut Avenue intersection. Other parts are dated now, such as the anticipated industrial park in what is now Red Rock Canyon Open Space. And some, such as the plan's anticipation that the state would soon be synchronizing the signals on Highway 24, still seem implausible.
Unlike a typical ordinance, the Westside Plan does not contain "shall" phrases, thus leaving the door open for differing interpretations. However, the plan's writers repeatedly seasoned the text with key words, and "compatibility" was one of them. New development should not be at the expense of old. That sort of message appears over and over again.
One major plan proposal - for specific Westside design standards - never got implemented. Westside City Planner James Mayerl says this omission ties his hands when it comes to enforcing residential compatibility. OWN's proposed historic overlay zone may prove to be that tool. But it's too bad that for now (or forever) a solution can't be as simple as Fenimore has requested: Enforce the Westside Plan. If common sense is so elusive for us now, how do we expect a new layer of bureaucracy to find it?