One of the great things about living in Juneau is the amazing sense of community we have. We see it at grocery stores, schools, ball games and even in city government. I like the fact that my Assembly members are my neighbors.
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As a resident of the North Douglas Neighborhood, I have felt a responsibility to do the right thing and advocate for the rephasing of the North Douglas sewer project to serve the majority of existing residents before serving undeveloped land. The reasoning is simple: We are a small community with limited funding and a history of not being able to finish what we started with available funding. Our high school project is a perfect example.
I have no problem with reasonable development, and the vacant properties on North Douglas might be a good development opportunity. They won't fix the "housing crisis" because these properties are lacking many of the criteria for "affordable housing." These properties do not have close proximity to schools, shopping or even regular bus service. To use the "housing crisis" as a means of arm twisting to go against the wishes of the neighborhood association is underhanded at best and downright sleazy.
If you would like to get a better picture of the kinds of people we are giving priority to by opening up this land for development, take a look at the Web site for Tigar Properties at www.tigarproperties.com. Is this the kind of neighbor we want to give special favors to? Is this the kind of neighbor we want running amuck in our community?
I think not.
If this sewer project runs short of funding before completion, what recourse do we have to ensure that our residents get the services we all pay to support? I can think of more than a few people who will be very unhappy if they must continue to walk on polluted beaches while unethical developers destroy the watershed simply for the sake of making money.
I urge all the members of the Assembly to remember who elected them to office and who they have a responsibility to serve. I urge the city staff to remember who pays their salary. They are here because of us, the citizens of Juneau, and we have a right to be served before Outside interests.