So the land swap was stopped when the City Attorney admonished the Council it was their obligation to compel Parks to abide by the terms of the transfer and honor the restrictions. The Council voted unanimously to record a conservation easement which would preserve the Tot Lot in perpetuity. But suddenly, Councilman Val Tollefson moved to delay the recording of the Conservation Easement while an access road was worked out between Laughlin, Parks, and the adjacent, Madison Cottages community. It seems the Madison Cottages folk decided it best to accommodate the access road because if the Wyatt Cottages proposal is not granted, a more intrusive and aesthetically disagreeable development might replace the good work of Cutler/Anderson Architects. Point well taken, but too smacking of defeatist accommodation for me. Since the good folk of Madison Cottages represent a mere fraction of the Parks-going public, why should they have such disproportionate influence? We await the announcement of the Wyatt Cottages proposal to the Design Review Board with a mixture of dread and anticipation. Will the concerned parties present accurate information this time around regarding the Declarations of Covenants, Restrictions and Reciprocal Easements– remember those? This is but a sketch of a convoluted tale of intrigue. There remain such details as the “vanishing” restrictions, erroneous reports of the County Assessor, a land value increase of nearly 80% the very year the property was transferred to Parks, the “disappearance” of the studio from the assessor’s building report 2 years before it was demolished, the miraculous appearance of a ghostly pole frame building, and mysterious address changes.
It seems we are afflicted with a double denial regarding many troubling aspects of the concurrent Wyatt Cottages and Suzuki developments. On the one hand, the Madison Cottages community as well as the Friends of Suzuki sweep the shady history of land transfers to Parks under the rug. On the other, we have the present Council embarrassed by their part in obscuring Parks and the previous Council’s questionable deeds–to say nothing of the good old boys in the building department. All sides of this debate can be said to lack transparency and, personally, I find Friends of Suzuki accusations against the Council to be a case of calling the proverbial kettle black. We need a fresh perspective on the vital issues that shape the island’s future. We need transmute our high ideals of inclusiveness and economic equality into practical solutions while preserving the precious remnants of our natural environment.