Norris Dodd and I are old friends, so I was surprised at his letter to the editor about me instead of a phone call to me.

I will respond in the same forum. When I said that we need a legal foundation for our decisions, that is what we were instructed back when we trained for Planning and Zoning — if we deny a request, we need to give a reason, and that reason has to be able to withstand legal challenge.

I share Norris' appreciation for common sense. If a person is denied a zoning request, they have remedies under the law — ask for a variance, cure the problem that caused rejection, etc. Fundamentally, that is why they are entitled to a reason for the rejection and why if the town does not provide one, they can ask a Judge to get involved. Further, the reason for rejection can not be arbitrary, punitive or arise from a conflict of interest.

Norris' comments on traffic might be valid, but they are site plan issues, not zoning issues. A site plan is not required to determine zoning. That is why I asked that in this case, the site plan come back before the council including a public hearing.

Norris' comment that "some citizens" hoped that the town would proactively pursue a conceptual master plan for this property" would be a novel and interesting idea for government-directed real estate development, but we did not do that.

Coming up with a plan for a 344-acre property depends on finding willing developers and investors and developing a plan for each one. That could take many years. It is impractical to, as suggested, delay doing anything until everything is figured out, then apply for a major plan amendment. Nobody does that.

Importantly, the Maverick center has been identified as a Commercial Node as far back as 2007 in the famed Tejido study (an effort at community-wide master planning) and was incorporated in "Linking Our Landscape" — a landmark 2008 study that stressed the importance of developing our community in ways that preserved big trees and natural features.

I personally want to thank everyone who has gotten involved in this matter. Whether we agree is not important - the fact that we all care about our community is what matters.

Jim Snitzer

Pinetop/Lakeside

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