City holds parking hearing

Maddy Daum

The Parking, Safety and Athletic Improvement Project is waiting for the City Planning Commission’s approval to move forward after the Aug. 8 hearing, where attendees were able to voice their concerns.

The hearing addressed traffic, safety, the environment and the community, giving both Save Coldwater Canyon supporters and those in favor of the project an ope­­n forum for discussion.

“I think [the hearing] went well in the sense that people were respectful of giving time to each side of the issue,” Coldwater Canyon resident Karen Abrams said. “It’s unfortunate that there doesn’t seem to be any understanding of the concerns that we have as those living closest to the construction site.”

The two groups, the supporters of the construction and Save Coldwater Canyon, were able to speak in favor of the project or about their issues with the construction in front of the City Planning Commission.

“I think it was great that we had such a significant number of project supporter turnout and I think a lot of their voices were heard,” Chief Financial Officer David Weil said. “I felt that the hearing was a positive one and both sides gave the city a good chance to hear the concerns of the community.”

President Rick Commons said that although there were many supporters, there were also many neighbors who still had issues with the project. However, there were some misconceptions about the construction which need to be addressed.

“I understand [their] concerns. Obviously we believe and feel really strongly that we are going to solve problems in the neighborhood long-term and that there will be a short-term cost during construction,” Commons said. “But then there were things that neighbors were saying that were just untrue and those were hard to hear.”

Both committees will be able to further discuss these issues at the next hearing Sept. 28, and will present their last speeches against or in favor of the project in front of the of the City Planning Commission.

“The school has been unwilling to compromise from day one, lobbying for their original project and proceeding as if it is a ‘done deal,’ despite the massive opposition and the need for city approval,” President of Save Coldwater Canyon Sarah Boyd said in an email. “The school has not yet presented the community with any more modest project alternatives with lesser environmental impacts.”

Weil said that once the City Planning Commission makes their decision, if it is in favor of the project, they will make their recommendation to the City Council. The council will take its own position.

Advocates for the PSA Improvement Project will also be able to address misconceptions and show the benefits they think will come from the construction.

“We are looking forward to addressing a lot of misinformation that has been circling about the project and reinforce some of our technical studies that show the project can be built safely and is not going to result in health problems,” Weil said.