I was late, of course, to the I-35 Committee #1 meeting, held in the Forest Town Hall.


When I walked in, there was a discussion going of “whether they should analyze the no-build option.” Ummm… what’s the issue, the EQB guidelines for an Alternative Urban Areawide Review (AUAR) are clear, a “no-build” analysis must be done. MUST! They even use capital letters!

Remember how appalled I was that no one, NO ONE, on the Planning Commission had read the EQB’s summary of the requirements? The one that’s on the EQB home page? Free? Easy access? Color me stupid, but I expect decision makers to make the effort to understand what it is they’re approving… silly me!
Well, it gets worse. Here they are taking up at least half an hour of valuable meeting time talking about “whether” they should do the “no-build.” Here’s what the EQB says about that:

Important Note: Every AUAR document MUST review one or more development scenarios based on and consistent with the RGU?s Comprehensive Plan in effect when the AUAR is officially ordered. (This is equivalent to reviewing the ?no-build? alternative in an EIS.) If an RGU expects to amend its existing Comprehensive Plan, it has the options of deferring the start of the AUAR until after adopting the amended plan or reviewing developments based on both the existing and amended comprehensive plans; however, it cannot review only a development based on an expected amendment to the existing plan.

OK, let’s take a look. The AUAR must review one or more scenarios with the plan IN EFFECT at the time the AUAR was ordered. Let’s see, what plan was IN EFFECT at the time the A?UAR was ordered. DUH, the new plan is NOT in effect until DECEMBER 31, 2005. Remember? So if it’s not in effect, the equivalent of the “no-build” must be done. Now was that so hard?

It’s difficult for Rice County’s Committee #1 because those leading the meeting did not want the analysis of the “no-build” to occur. There is no innocent explanation.

When I heard the group talking about it, I’d gotten out my copy of the AUAR guidelines, and underlined that paragraph, and brought it up to the conslutant, plus enough copies for the entire group, yet the conslutant tried to dismiss me, as did Gordon Kelly. Let me see if I understand this, there is an agency guideline, issued by the same agency that writes the AUAR rules, and they are holding a “discussion” regarding that very issue, and they are not interested in it. OK, then we’ll have to assume that their obliviousness to the guideline is intentional. As the oblivious discussion moved on, it became apparent that they were actually going to vote on it, and that the result would be not to do a “no-build,” I jumped up and said “The EQB requires a no-build,” holding the EQB AUAR guideline in the air. Then the conslutant “wanted” to see it. Right… the conslutant then read it to the group and explained that since the county had voted on the change, the group is not required to do the “no-build.” He did not address the timing of the zoning change, that the review has to be done under the zoning in effect, IN EFFECT, not voted on, at the time the AUAR was ordered. They must do the review based on the zoning in effect now, and not on December 31, 2005. This really isn’t that difficult — unless there’s an intended result different from that required by the EQB.

Then the conslutants passed around their copies of that EQB document. BUT it wasn’t that document, it was one from 2004, and that document omits that section I just quoted about the “no-build.” What’s the difference between the two? Just two variations in language. There’s one insignificant difference, but notably the major difference in the versions is that the above paragraph from page 2 about the need for a “no-build” review is missing! It’s not there in the one they handed out. Nada. Here the county is paying big bucks to these conslutants, and they are handing out the WRONG guidelines.

Apparently it is very important that the “no-build” not be analyzed. What’s that about? What would make someone so dead-set against considering not enacting this plan that the “professionals” would use outdated documents — I had given them 15 copies of accurate up-to-date ones and they acted like they were coated with anthrax. When I pointed out that paragraph to them, they acted as if they would throw me out! Planned, intentional institutional deceit is what I’d call it.

Folks, we have really got a problem here. The conslutants are the actors, leading this group by the nose, but who are the directors? Who’s the producer? Who’s the financier?

Great, power just went out, back on, and I don’t want to blow up this computer. So much for Xcel’s SAIDI, CAIDI and SAIFI’s!

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