At their virtual meeting on April 8, the City Commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the Welaunee Amendment to the Urban Services Development Agreement.
Commissioner Jeremy Matlow dissented, noting that he was in favor of waiting and getting more input before approving the amendment.
Matlow told TR via email that “I opposed this item because we shouldn’t be making far-reaching decisions that will affect our community for decades during a pandemic when public input is limited. I don’t support further subsidizing sprawl which strains taxpayer resources for our existing neighborhoods.”
Matlow added, “We could have accomplished the same goals regarding future growth that proponents claim we are achieving here at far less expense. This is not in the public interest.”
The Welaunee Amendment is the second amendment to the Urban Services Development Agreement. It reserves land within the Welaunee Arch for the future construction of Welaunee Boulevard North.
According to staff documents, the Intergovernmental Agency approved a substantial amendment to the Blueprint Northeast Gateway Project at their January 30, 2020 Intergovernmental meeting. The approval included the dedication of additional right-of-way (at no cost) necessary to complete the project.
Prior versions of the agreement provided for dedication of only a portion of the Northeast Gateway project and the I-10 interchange right-of-way. In exchange for the required land needed to complete the Northeast Gateway Phase I project, the owners will receive concurrency or other forms of transportation credit.
According to the Amendment, “Right-of-way widths for each segment shall be based upon estimated traffic generation from the development and shall not be less than 100 feet nor greater than 150 feet.”
The Amendment states that the owners’ obligation to reserve land will expire on January 1, 2030 if construction hasn’t begun yet or if the agreement hasn’t been extended.
Additionally, according to the Amendment, the owners of the property will not be required to dedicate land before adopting a long-term land use plan or before any amendments become effective.
The Urban Services Development Agreement would expire 25 years from the execution date of the new amendment.