Since the existence of the Riverstone Crossing Development emerged from behind closed doors into the light of public scrutiny, getting accurate information has been difficult and at times impossible, due to the constant changes in development plans and the apparent reluctance of involved parties to advise the community as these changes took place.
While our Comprehensive Plan would lead one to believe there are many quality of life and esthetic provisions our community would like to maintain, in reality everything boils down to a simple question of zoning and whether a series of specific technical considerations are met which completely negate those quality of life provisions. The Council may want to consider whether hiring a trained City Planner and conferring some authority to integrate objectives of our Comprehensive Plan into the Planning Commission’s consideration as to whether or not a particular plat is recommended favorably, would more accurately reflect the desires of our citizens.
Most folks would be surprised to learn that Eagle Point Park is fair game for development as far as current zoning and Planning Commission authority is concerned.
In a perfect world, the location of the current Riverstone Development would never had been seriously considered for residential development for all the reasons we have previously illuminated ad nauseam; however, the latest significant change in plans dramatically shifts the financial risk of this questionable venture from a private developer to the tax-paying citizens of our city and county.
Anyone experienced in traditional residential development would have never considered this property, unless they had received assurances they would be relieved of the major costs and risks involved. It is absolutely not an appropriate conferrence of public trust to bequeath millions of dollars of taxpayer money to a development that should have never been taken seriously in the first place, let alone transferring the involved risks of this highly questionable venture onto the backs of your constituents.
Ladies and gentlemen, there is no such thing as a free lunch, don’t believe it for a minute. Don’t forget that we are creating an atmosphere where no developer will build unless we TIF it, and that we already have at least 100 existing development lots the developers are having trouble selling which will only exacerbate their difficulties and reduce housing values.
Riverstone has advised they have secured financing. We must presume it was acquired without assurances from our administrator or any council members, that we could guarantee TIF for the development. Simply using readily accepted risk/benefit analysis tells us any development agreement that provides Tax Increment Financing for this development must be rejected on its face.
Should you ignore my assessment, you must at least include a “claw back” provision in the development agreement stating the explicit description of what the city would consider a successful investment for out tax dollars. Only with this provision will all parties have serious skin in the game, know what is expected in return for TIF designation, the acceptance of which will attest to the developer’s confidence that my assessment is wrong.
Alan Thompson, Clinton