A recent editorial that I wrote about the city requiring curb, gutter and sidewalk for a community garden became the topic of discussion at the last Kuna City Council meeting. Kudos to council member Doug Hoiland for bringing it up and suggesting that the City Council should be involved in the discussion.
Unfortunately, some city officials attempted to paint my rendition of events as being only half the story. They apparently missed the point of my editorial.
Here’s the version I told in last week’s issue, and it’s based on talking to city planning director Steve Hasson: A local church wanted to put a community garden in a vacant lot along Fourth Street. This church went to the city to inquire about it and was told that it was a change of land use and that the change of land use would trigger a special use permit, design review and would require curb, gutter and sidewalk.
And so the church walked away.
Here’s the city’s version, as presented at the City Council meeting Feb. 15: A local church wanted to put a community garden in a vacant lot along Fourth Street. This church went to the city to inquire about it and was told that it was a change of land use and that the change of land use would trigger a special use permit, design review and would require curb, gutter and sidewalk.
And so the church walked away.
The city threw up a roadblock to this church building a community garden. City officials, by their very own testimony, told the church pastor that the lot would require curb, gutter and sidewalk if he were to put a community garden there.
I’m not missing any side of any story. That’s the story. Period.
Now, as I conceded in my previous editorial, this is indeed a difficult issue, and I provided a very detailed and lengthy defense of the city’s position. I appreciate it, I understand it and I respect it.
But Doug Hoiland was absolutely correct to bring this issue up, and I’d like him to bring it up again.
Because after about 10 minutes of obfuscation by Hasson and some baseless blustering by another city official that only half the story was told, everyone seemed to be in agreement that it was perfectly OK for the city to tell a local church that if they wanted to turn a vacant lot into a community garden they’d have to put in curb, gutter and sidewalk.
And so, we have a vacant lot with no curb, gutter and sidewalk instead of a community garden with no curb, gutter and sidewalk.
I know it won’t be easy to come up with a solution, but I really don’t think the solution is to just say no every time someone comes knocking on your door — particularly for a community garden.
I’d still like the city to come up with a solution to this, and a good start is by discussing it as a City Council or even the Planning & Zoning Commission. But you have to start with an honest an open discussion.
Unfortunately, in the end, the mayor’s bluster and Hasson’s circumlocution simply shut down any hope of an intelligent conversation about the matter.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Kuna will get what it deserves. Personally, I think Kuna deserves solutions to problems like this. Unfortunately, what we get is a vacant lot with no curb, gutter and sidewalk. Congratulations, Kuna.