Results of the Treasure Island Rezoning Application

The Twitter-like message is this:  We won at Huntsville Council: 8 out of 8 councilors voted to turn down the Treasure Island development proposal.  Completely. They -- the Huntsville Council -- are to be congratulated.  If you want more, then here it is:

As many of you have probably heard, this evening at the (full) Town of Huntsville Council meeting, the planning committee's report on Treasure Island was considered.  Without going into the history of this issue in too much detail, the recent history is that the Town planning staff came up with a compromise a few weeks ago which would have essentially allowed two houses on Treasure Island (one on each of the existing lots) but left the rest of the island zoned "conservation" so as to attempt to make it more difficult to have a bunch more lots created at some point in the future.

At some time immediately prior to the meeting when that compromise was to be discussed, the proposal was changed somewhat to favour, even more, the developers.   I wasn't able to be at that meeting but Doug Janes, who has been active in fighting to preserve Treasure Island since the development proposal first came to light, was able to speak.  Nevertheless, the planning committee of the Town of Huntsville, by a close vote (3 to 2), approved the proposal to allow two houses on Treasure Island but preserve Conservation zoning for most of the island.

That was the proposal that went to the Town of Huntsville council tonight.  Between then and tonight, a number of people -- most notably Doug Janes -- spoke to councilors.  They were good at not revealing what they were thinking.  But about a week ago, a decision was made to deal with the Treasure Island proposal separately from the rest of the planning committee's report.  We didn't know for sure what to make of this, and the town council members properly did not reveal their views.

So tonight (Monday 25 November) the proposal went to the full 8 member town council.

A number of the councilors said that they had been thinking about this in the past few weeks and had come to the conclusion that the proposal needed to be turned down.   Sitting there, I couldn't quite believe my ears.

I have had differences with the Town in the past.  Tonight not only did they do the right thing, but they did the right thing for the right reasons.  They realized how important Treasure Island is to us, the residents of a small lake. But they also knew (and I got this mainly from some discussions afterwards) that they were sending a signal that "the desire to develop land" doesn't necessarily justify a change in zoning.  They realized, as we have been saying for close to a year, that they had an opportunity to make a statement about Conservation, not just about Conservation zoning. It was wonderful to hear them, one after another, endorse the importance of doing the right thing.  We got a unanimous decision in our favour.

So, I will presumptuously (on behalf of the LWRA) thank Doug Janes for his tireless work on behalf of us all.  But also, I personally feel that the Town of Huntsville listened to us and understood what we were saying.  I am enormously pleased with their decision -- not only for us, but for what it says about their belief in the importance of the conservation in Huntsville.  So they deserve our thanks as well.

It was a good night.

-- Tony Doob,

Past President, LWRA