“Very High Density” Development
a Betrayal of Public Trust?
By Kim Lefner
Some of you may remember the campaign in 2008 to convince us to increase our property taxes to purchase "open space" in the City of San Juan. The City’s Open Space Committee marketed the idea that purchasing "open space" in town would protect it from development, and therefore from increased traffic.
My recollection is that we were offered examples of five properties, one of which was the agricultural Vermeulen property next to the Sports Park, currently used as the Armstrong Nursery growing grounds. To many residents, the idea of taxing ourselves for an “open space” bond was attractive, considering that traffic was so impacted (now even more so). Who wouldn’t want to protect that or another property in our lovely historic town from high-density development, right?
|Proposed development includes 524 units and 41-bed medical facility*|
Five years later, community concerns about saving agricultural land from development have come home to roost in the proposed “Very High Density” development on the Vermeulen property. According to City documents*, the proposed Spieker Development project is 423 units in two and three-story buildings (the only other three-story structure in San Juan is the parking structure downtown) plus a 60-unit residential care facility and a 41-bed medical facility on 35 acres.