Keepin’ ‘em scared
H.L. Mencken once said, “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
This last week we have MSNBC’s Brian Williams confirming Mencken’s old quote by claiming that “our job tonight (that would be the mainstream media) actually is to scare people to death” over North Korea.
Slow down and get it right
On July 26 I attended the Papillion Planning Commission’s meeting on a proposed preliminary plat that would rezone 110 agricultural acres on the northwest corner of Highway 370 and 84th Street to mixed use for the purpose of a development to be known as The Papillion Commons.
The rezoning, requested by Royce Enterprises, was approved. These are my concerns:
1. Infrastructure. What is the drainage/sewer/water/traffic/school impact on Papillion and adjacent neighborhoods? With 350 apartment units planned, and traffic analysis suggesting an additional 13,000 vehicle trips per day, how will adding a middle lane to 90th Street be enough?
2. Housing. The intention to build 350 apartment units but no single-family homes, townhouses, condos or duplexes is puzzling. At a minimum of 3-plus people per unit there will be an additional population of more than 1,000 plus an average of two vehicles per unit. Isn’t this congestion?
3. Schools. How can existing schools support this added population? New schools mean new bond issues and taxes. Where are the estimated numbers on increased student load?
4. Retail. The plan proposes new grocery, apparel and sports stores, as well as a bank, restaurants, professional offices and gas stations. Is Shadow Lake obsolete?
5. Taxes and financing. Neither tax increases nor additional sources of city funding were discussed. Papillion’s city budget just increased by millions (2017 community center). What will the “Commons” development do to our taxes? Can this issue be voted upon?
Papillion has been honored multiple times as one of America’s top small cities. Don’t we want to keep it small-town America? A rethink is in order. Slow down. Consider all impacts. Get taxpayer/homeowner input. Our elected officials and developers get one chance at this.
Do it right.
FREDERICK J. SKINNER
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