Friday, September 20, 2013

Nasworthy Development Like Twin Buttes Recreation Plan

The City of San Angelo and their hired guns are zero for two in listening to area windsurfers on keeping access to area lakes.  Lauren Shrum placed windsurfing in the worst possible place at Twin Buttes South Pool in the Twin Buttes Recreation Plan.  Scott Polokaw did likewise at Lake Nasworthy putting windsurfing into the Special Opportunity Zone, not our current sailing site at the Nature Center next to Mary Lee Park. 

The consultants' presentation to focus group participants showed one resort hotel going in Lake Nasworthy's Mary Lee Park area.  Their City Council presentation had a second hotel at the old WTU power plant, which has been purchased by a private developer.  The owner's name was not disclosed.

Scott closed his presentation with a conceptual description of public-private development, which could involve the city trading land, ponying up direct subsidies to developers and changing zoning.  This plan was commissioned by a development oriented city council and staff.  It remains to be seen if their replacements feel likewise.

As a frequent user of local lakes, and currently down to only Lake Nasworthy for windsurfing, I'm disappointed by staff and consultants not listening to local citizens' needs.  I participated in public meetings, even wrote to consultants on their error in draft documents.  Nary a one showed they listened.  Windsurfing got slapped on the map, wherever they needed it to look good.   

I shared my expectation to have the same or better lake access when all is said and done.  Both consultants proposed much worse. The next public meeting on Lake Nasworthy development will be set "sometime in October" and the issue will come back to Council on November 5.

Update 9-21-13:  The Standard Times ran a poll on the city aggressively developing Lake Nasworthy as an asset.  As of now the numbers of voters are low, but universally negative.  The paper also did a piece on the plan.

Update 10-21-13:  I shared my concerns with PARC consultant Anna Mackey.  She wrote back, ".. we don't have any intention of having designated access for one sport in certain areas. We would like to have better organized access and parking on all areas of the lake to serve the many types of recreational use in a safe and thought out manner."  That theme was borne out this evening in a final public meeting on the Lake Nasworthy plan.  Peter Ravella presented the plan and encouraged interested members of the public to read the plan online.  The public interchange was diverse and fruitful.  

Update 11-2-13:  In the October 21 public meeting I asked for the  development plan to consider that windsurfers currently launch from the Nature Center at Mary Lee Park because it has a broad expanse of water.  Our request would maintain that access and added we would appreciate launch access from other shorelines with broad expanse.  I said my windsurfing trailer is much like a boat trailer for parking purposes.  Peter Ravella said they would give that consideration.  It's not in the draft plan embedded in the City Council background packet.  I've spoken three times to consultants and don't see evidence of listening in the draft plan.  This is worrisome given San Angelo City Council's propensity to adopt plans created by consultants on a wholesale basis.

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