EDITORíS DESK: West Kiowa: Neighbors deserve better

       Our lead story this issue prompts a few development-related city-policy questions.
       Should developers be allowed to cut into Garden of the Gods-type formations? Perhaps like many citizens, I had always assumed they couldn't be touched. The city policy on the 3325 W. Kiowa Street infill project - to allow cutting below grade - only makes sense if you know that grade will always be the same. What if one day, because of wind or storm, more of the rock by that project gets exposed? Before, that would have been a good thing, but after this it will be an embarrassment.
       Should the city continue using clearly outdated plat maps? By doing so on West Kiowa, city staff set in motion a labored series of events that, in retrospect, appear to resemble the classic case of trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. The idea was to preserve property rights, but shouldn't there be an option where reasonable people can agree that a new plan would be more expedient and better for the land?
       Should there be more consistency in requiring neighborhood meetings for projects? I have seen the city require a developer to have a neighborhood meeting for something as seemingly trivial as a lot split. Yet for West Kiowa - in which some neighbors' lands were/are in actual jeopardy - no meetings were called because the plat had been "previously approved." This has helped lead to several outcomes, all of which are bad: poor communication, hard feelings and a sense of non- participation in the neighborhood, a few wild rumors, and city staff decision-making that has been influenced mainly by the developer.
       The neighborhood plans to take its case to City Council next week. Hoepfully, in attempting to help the residents, council members will consider the above policy questions so that the unpleasant situation of West Kiowa will not be repeated.

- K.J.