TRC and GLPC recommended subdivision that doesn’t improve traffic or safety, REZ-2013-09

What is so important about yet another subdivision of 360,910 square feet in 173 houses when we have a glut of houses that the TRC unanimously recommended it despite significant defects and omissions? According to Technical Review Committee (TRC) analysis, REZ-2013-09 Moody Family will not lessen congestion in the streets or secure safety from fire, panic, and other dangers. TRC also said the application didn’t meet ULDC standards and in somewhat tortured language: “although not a proposed condition, it should be noted on this request that a future traffic study will be required.” Why not require these things before even sending the application to the Planning Commission?

In email to the Greater Lowndes Planning Commissioners of 23 July 2013, forwarded to the applicants 29 July 2013, July 29th GLPC Lowndes County Rezoning Materials,

2) REZ-2013-09 Moody Family, 0072 191, Val Del Rd, 64.92 ac., 2 lots, R-1 to Residential PD, County Utilities

a) The TRC recommended approval of the request unanimously.

b) Additionally, although not a proposed condition, it should be noted on this request that a future traffic study will be required. Acceleration lanes/Deceleration lanes and/or a dedicated left turn lane may be required.

Rumor has it that this development is being pushed not by Moody AFB, rather by the Air Force itself. We know that Ian C. Smith, Deputy, Housing Division Air Force Civil Engineering Center, San Antonio, Texas, directly inquired about the status of the proposed big subdivision next to the base, REZ-2013-08 MFH Tract-A and the site plan for REZ-2013-09 says “Family Housing Privatization, Moody AFB”.

We know that when the applicant withdrew REZ-2013-08 he specifically named Balfour Beatty as a factor in that withdrawal, and Balfour Beatty is listed as both builder and developer on the REZ-2013-09 site plan. Balfour Beatty Communities lists on its website

Balfour Beatty PR 1 August 2013, Balfour Beatty Communities Reaches Financial Close on Air Force Northern Group Project: Project privatizes 4,540 family homes at Minot, Grand Forks, Cavalier, Ellsworth, Mountain Home and Cannon Air Force Bases.

We also know that the lawyer who protested at great length to the Planning Commission about REZ-2013-08, Tom Kurrie, is one of the lawyers for this Val Del Road subdivision.

It’s conceivable that the Air Force wants development to be far from Moody’s front gate. But why do we need new subdivisions at all when we still have a glut of houses and new home sales actually dropped below 2010 levels in Q1 2013?

These and other documents related to REZ-2013-09 are on the LAKE website so you can examine them for yourself. I obtained them through an open records request. The county could just post such materials on its own website so we’d all have a better idea what’s going on with developments such as this that affect all of us in traffic and safety.