EDITORíS DESK: Equal-opportunity offending
Oh my, oh my... who to offend this week?
I could climb all over the Villa de Mesa perimeter wall - at least the part that's built.
I could drive home points about the city's "road to nowhere" - Centennial Boulevard between Mesa Valley Road and Van Buren Street - but who would listen, outside of some prairie dogs and illegal dumpers?
I could roll out arguments about city staff's public-involvement strategy for a new bicycle plan, but a question related to meetings remains unanswered: Will participants not wearing spandex be made to sit in back?
OK, let's just focus on the first one. Seriously, I don't really know which side to chide in the battle of the Mesas (Gold Hill and Villa de). Project developer Bob Willard has proven himself repeatedly to be a stand-up individual, but on this issue he appears to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. We had him on record five years ago with the same statements he made to Planning Commission last week about not building the remaining sides of the wall until the project got down to them; on the other hand, it's got to be frustrating for the Villa folks to put up with daily dust and noise for six-odd years and now see a Gold Hill filing that's right next to their townhome enclave, only to be told it's a side that already has a wall, so it's not a "next to" that would trigger new wall construction.
Still, it seems unfair for the Villa group to claim total victim status. As Don Magill of the Planning Commission commented, there seem to be "two bad guys here." If the wall had been so important to the residents, they should have gone for a legally stated timeline right from the start. And even though tight money is hard to argue with, Willard could have started putting quarters in a wall-building "piggy bank." As he himself said, the structure helps his development too.
Last thoughts: One of Willard's side points is that the wall tiff is more proof of why developers often avoid infill developments. I agree. The city says it wants infill, then regulates such projects like crazy. This is inconsistent behavior and should offend somebody... at least, other than me.