Public comments ignored

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The city of Auburn has sided with business, to the detriment of homeowners, again. On Sept. 11, Auburn City Councilors voted on adopting the Recreational Planned Unit Development Ordinance amendments. Sounds nice, but don’t let them fool you.

That change would allow recreational businesses to build hotels and other structures in rural residential, agriculture and resource protection districts, where they are not compatible with the district. The vote was made after a public hearing where many people spoke in opposition to the change and only one person for it.

The owners of four major recreational uses did not have to be there. They had already had a private meeting with Councilors Robert Stone and Leroy Walker “to discuss challenges faced by their facilities.” Eric Cousens, Deputy Director of Economic and Community Development, set up that meeting, in which “the councilors expressed support for bringing the ordinance and the businesses’ ideas/concerns to the full council during the public process.” (Source: letter Aug. 17 from Cousens to Mayor Labonte and the Auburn City Council). Where was that meeting held? And was it open to the public for input?

Auburn is certified as a business-friendly community. Does it have to do it at the expense of its non-business residences? Auburn should work at being a certified fair-to-all city.

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When the city reviews applications to build commercial structures in those districts, will it be reviewed in private and then ignore public comment, as the ordinance amendment was?

Roger Ducharme, Auburn

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