Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Wild West: Farr West City Denies Developer and Dooms Taxpayers

In an ongoing drama that has been playing out since at least 2007, the final scene of a tragic comedy ended this month with the Farr West City council running itself and its taxpayers into a buzz saw.

The Standard Examiner reports:

Despite reports that the site at 1979 Heritage Drive is safe to build on, three council members voted to deny approval of the site plan and conditional-use permit for Seasons Assisted Living facility.
What the article fails to mention is that by all legal standards, the city council was obligated to approve the facility due to its own zoning statues, federal law, and other common law legal precedents.

When I attended the Farr West City council meeting in March, I was shocked at what I saw.  The packed room was unruly and frequent outbursts and heckling were heard...and that meeting was not for public input.  There was no order nor decorum.  The meeting degenerated into a circus as a prominent councilman started playing "gotcha" with the developer.  It was embarrassing to watch.  It culminated in someone keying the developer's car that night to the tune of $3,000 in damages.

Probably the most poignant part of March's meeting was the advise given by the Farr West council's very own legal counsel.  I will paraphrase his comments:

"If we don't approve this site plan and this goes to court, it will be a very short meeting with the judge.  I won't have anything to stand on."  
Despite this advise, the council members pandered to the audience and delayed their decision to May's meeting in which they finally denied the project.

The problem now lies in the fact that the developer of this project has made a significant financial investment in trying to comply with the city council's ever expanding demands to approve the project.  The demands made now appear to be beyond the legal limit and the subsequent denial of the project with respect to those demands appears to be an egregious abuse of process.

That likely means that a lawsuit will be filed and a judge will be called to hear the case to mete out justice.  Please refer to the above paraphrased comment by the Farr West city legal advisor.  It doesn't look good for the city.   

If Farr West does not want a retirement home in their city, it looks like they will have to pay to build one somewhere else.  Look for the taxpayers of Farr West to be tightening their belts in the near future.  

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