Comments on Welaunee Arch Master Plan – Pamela Hall

Finally – we’ve gotten to a version of the Welaunee Master Plan that KIR can support.  We thank both commissions for the Oct 13 workshop direction to incorporate our idea that will, hopefully, create the Welaunee Habitat Park.

This Habitat Park is a component of a Weluanee Park System that KIR proposed many months ago.  We are happy to say that much of our proposal is being incorporated into the MP – but that was always an easy thing to do.  Because, unlike how it was often characterized, the KIR proposal was NEVER a mandate or a takings.  It was just a way to better organize the Open Space requirement the City and landowner had agreed to when this CP amendment was FIRST submitted in November of LAST YEAR.  We are thankful that both the City and the landowner agreed early on that an OS requirement is a good thing for such a large development and could be easily parlayed into an asset!

KIR proposed park system was well informed by data, analysis and expertise.  I remind you – in my previous existence I was a professional forest ecologist and a conservation biologist.  KIR board members also have similar professional experience. We know something about using open space well.

The OS requirement of 40% means about 1900 acres of land will not be developed within the Arch.  About 1000 acres of this is already identified as Comp Plan protected features such as wetlands and floodplains.  This leaves about 900 acres upland habitat – woods, fields and pine plantations that will also have to be set aside.  Note – HAS TO BE SET ASIDE.  This is NOT KIR mandate, this was in the MP from day 1.

Our proposal was to start with the 1000 acres of identified environmental features and use the 900 remaining acres to add:

  1. Extend the buffers for the canopy roads so those tree populations could persist in perpetuity and provide a place for the Welaunee Greenway.  This is in the MP.
  2. Create buffers for existing residential development and a separation of the Urban Services Area from rural land that are NEVER intended to be suburbanized. This is in the MP.
  3. Identify a large “Habitat” area, uninterrupted by human development, that supports ecosystem functions, protects imperiled species and coincides with the Urban services boundary buffer. This will be in the MP if you vote right tonight!
  4. And to still have plenty of land left over in the Open Space set aside requirement to create smaller parks and corridors within the developed area that would connect all of these together as development proceeds.  This is in the MP.

There was ALWAYS PLENTY of REQUIRED open space to preserve habitats  AND create lots of places for humans to walk, bike, ride and play.  And none of this changed development rights one bit.

Well – this is what we proposed last spring. So, thank you for finally understanding.

Please vote for the option that adopts the amendments that fully support the KIR alternative development program.