Friday, October 16, 2009

The Ark of Eagle Mountain

It has been interesting to observe this project evolve over the past several months. The Ark of Eagle Mountain is a mental health and drug recovery facility that is being established in City Center. On March 17, 2009, an open public comment forum was held regarding resident’s thoughts for this proposal. On that night 100% of the public comments shared were NOT in favor of the project as proposed. No vote was necessary by the Council at that time. At the next City Council meeting on April 7, 2009, there were 17 people who publicly spoke in favor of the proposal, but not one of them a resident of Eagle Mountain. However, there were many others who spoke in opposition to the facility, who indeed were residents of Eagle Mountain. In all, 14 of 15 public comments in opposition were by Eagle Mountain residents. These residents expressed concerns of location, safety and aesthetic fit of the facility. At that April 7th meeting, Councilman Lifferth took special measure to ensure that the violation schedule was clearly outlined and when the motion to approve was presented a specific landscape design was approved, including a 6 ft fence, and to be installed within 6 months. The landscape plan was to help appease concerns regarding the aesthetic fit of the facility, ensuring that the facility would not be an eye-sore to the neighborhood. However, with time running out, a request for additional time for landscaping was made on behalf of the Ark facility at the October 6th City Council meeting. Despite taking previous measures to clarify the consequences for not meeting the requirements, Councilman Lifferth made an extremely liberal motion to grant the Ark another 8 months to complete their requirements, without penalty. For Councilman Lifferth to verbally express disapproval of the facility but yet create such liberal opportunities is disappointing. As a result, the residents get to enjoy 8 more months of eye-sore landscaping, for a facility they never wanted and even legally fought. I applaud Councilman Ochsenhirt for not voting in favor of this time extension. He expressed his concerns and then voted Nay according to his conscience; being honest to himself and us as residents and not playing political games.
Moving forward, I’d like to see Eagle Mountain do better at holding those who make promises accountable, whether it’s promised parks, future developmental plans or simply landscape implementation.

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