To the Editor:

Excelsior’s green and blue space continues to be leveraged by the motivation from financial benefit for a few. The most recent example is the City Council’s consideration of accepting another variance by a developer. The intent is to subdivide a property in order to fit two house structures into the existing lot line. Besides the Commons and the Port of Excelsior, there are few open spaces remaining in our neighborhoods. In order to accommodate a possible new build, consideration of drainage, infill, erosion and the topographical nature of the property will be compromised. In the back of the property there is a pitch that any snowboarder would envy. Unfortunately, there are other residents’ backyards that would be adversely affected.

We have 0.3 square miles of residential property. Not much. The preciousness of our landscape is at a high premium. From economic models, Excelsior is called an asset management source where profit over people is practiced. The approval of this variance might also set a precedence for others to consider subdividing their property. Squeezing in as much house density as possible could very well be the new de jour of development. Even though the newly formed Residential Review Process is not included protocol, the elements of good neighborhood guidelines will be sorely compromised.

In addition, the Planning Commission voted 3-1 to deny the variance request. A second attempt to appeal, this time, to the council is disappointing but not surprising. When nine out of 10 answers to every question is money, why not run the gambit? The council has overridden the Planning Commission decisions in the past. For once, a denial by the council would be refreshing. To make a stand, to have the courage toward maintaining our sense of place. A decision likely will be made Tuesday, Feb. 16. Please join or write to the city to deny the applicant’s variance request. Our quality of life here is more than just financial profit.

Peter Hartwich


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