In the recent editorial ("(Stephen) Mason brings statesmanship to a feud that needs to end”, July 19), The State Journal opined that the Frankfort Plant Board "acted in good faith in identifying the most cost-effective option for ratepayers" while "Tanglewood residents (TNAi) have legitimate concerns about the effect of a replacement reservoir on neighborhood aesthetics and, in turn, property values.”
How’s that? FPB’s single large tank proposal is the most cost-effective option for the ratepayers and will meet our storage needs for at least 50 years. The SJ infers that there is an equivalence in the arguments between the FPB’s facts and TNAi’s unsubstantiated claims. That is demonstratively false. Where is the evidence?
Being statesmanlike is honorable, but not at the expense of forgoing common sense and good judgment.
One can barely see the edge of the top of the existing reservoir from a few residences on Reservoir Drive. They would be in serious jeopardy if the 140-year-old tank should fail catastrophically. Doesn't that have a much greater negative impact on neighborhood property values?
The SJ continued, “And we believe city elected officials, appointed planning commissioners and professional planning staff had sincere reasons for declaring FPB’s preferred solution incompatible with Frankfort’s master plan for zoning and development.”
Why? The legal authority of the Planning Commission was never addressed in Franklin County Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate’s decision. Where is the Planning Commission’s “records of evidence relied upon to make its decision against FPB’s plan"? Apparently, Wingate is not convinced, as he declined to dismiss a second count that alleges the Planning Commission’s findings were “arbitrary and capricious” or baseless.
Not surprisingly, ex-City Commissioner Robert Roach’s fingerprints are all over this controversy, as he served on the Planning Commission when it voted against the single tank at the same time that his city commissioners were voting to side with the TNAi. So, essentially he double dipped on this.
This is a manufactured controversy, based on emotion, politics and irrational fears. Those old commissioners have been replaced, but the damage that they did lingers on. The FPB is supposed to be insulated from political interference, but it’s not!
One reason is Commissioner Scott Tippett, who contends, “FPB's rejection of Mason’s motion was the wrong move. It was a courageous effort on the parts of Ms. (Dawn) Hale and Mr. Mason. It was the right thing to do."
FPB Director Mason believes that Frankfort Plant Board would not lose "anything but the paper we communicated on" if FPB requested the city commission to vote on a 6.5-million-gallon tank alternative.
But FPB Director Walt Baldwin countered their claims, saying that "redesigning the project ... could set (it) back by adding another year and $0.5 million to the cost of this emergency replacement."
Throwing a bone to the TNAi so that it can claim a hollow victory over the FPB is neither "courageous" nor prudent! As Tippett acknowledged, any delay puts us "at risk."
Besides, who can distinguish the difference by sight (only 7.7%) between the 7-million-gallon tank and one that’s 6.5 million gallons? From the sublime to the ridiculous!
Jim Daniel is a lifelong Frankfort resident and retired Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection enforcement agent. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.